Belgian progressive post-hardcore quintet Hippotraktor have announced their second full-length album, ‘Stasis’, set for release on June 7th via Berlin’s Pelagic Records.

Originally a three-piece instrumental outfit consisting of Mechelen-based producer, songwriter and guitarist Chiaran Verheyden, bassist Jakob Fiszer and Lander De Nyn on drums, Hippotraktor finally found its stride with the permanent introduction of guitarist/vocalist Sander Rom (L’Itch) and percussionist/vocalist Stefan De Graef (Psychonaut) in 2021. The combination of Chiaran’s impressionistic songwriting ambitions and Stefan’s powerful, narrative-charged lyrics proved to be a golden combination on the band’s debut album, ‘Meridian’, which masterfully transformed the band’s disparate instrumental compositions into a singular, driving work of sonic fiction.

‘Stasis’ consists of seven compositions that were written with the full creative force of the five-piece in mind. The result of this is a lavish, dynamically complex sound and a multilayered structure that is much greater than the sum of its parts. Operating at the intersection of Meshuggah’s relentless, polyrhythmic pounding and Gojira’s colossal atmospheric weight, Hippotraktor have expanded upon their already distinctive sound by introducing De Graef’s vocals that bring with them an intriguing new dedication to musical storytelling.

Lead single ‘Silver Tongue’ is a melodically rich composition that marries soaring close harmonies and shimmering guitar work with grinding, post-metal dirge and guttural howls as the nameless protagonist of the album is shown the naive duplicity of the life he lived and how easily he was led astray by the Silver Tongues, those who propagate a selfish, amoral vision of the world. The captivating, one-take performance video that accompanies the single serves as a visceral reminder of the band’s formidable physicality that, coupled with their newfound compositional prowess, renders Hippotraktor and ‘Stasis’ as a force to be reckoned with.

“Stasis tells a story of human nature,” explains lead vocalist Stefan De Graef about the album’s narrative. “As the protagonist enters a new world in which he is confronted with other humans for the first time, he acquaints himself with their customs and ethics, discovering generosity and empathy, but also greed, jealousy and hatred.” Rather than chronologically, the story unfolds in retrospection as our protagonist looks back upon his life among his kin, his struggle with good and evil, and his fight against the stasis of living a life purely based on self-interest.

Taken from the Greek for ‘stoppage’, ‘Stasis’ sees Hippotraktor doing anything but stagnating. These five, firm friends chart intricate melodies and sprawling riffs as a map showing how humanity has come of age in a chaotic world of its own making. Deftly unveiling tender truths whilst tenderly shrouding the violent majesty at its core, ‘Stasis’ is a fitting soundtrack to life in a world that’s hurtling towards a stand still.

‘Stasis’ is released on June 7th.

‘Silver Tongue’ is out now.

Chiaran Verheyden on ‘Silver Tongue’:

“With ‘Silver Tongue’ I wanted to create a sonic resemblance of decay. The opening of the song has a near perfect, Instagram-filter quality to it, but things quickly take a rather disconcerting turn...”

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