Inspired by Scintilla, a new sci-fi flick about genetic experiments in a desolate post-Soviet state, The Hybrid could’ve been a half-arsed side-project for Saxon’s Biff Byford.
In reality, these songs thrum with all the vivid grandeur and Herculean bombast that its thematically cinematic conceit demands. Pitched somewhere between traditional metal trademarks and the epic, goth-tinged opulence of cutting-edge symphonic heaviness, the likes of intricate opener Scintilla (One Black Heart) and the proggy Some Nightmare enable Biff to reaffirm the power and versatility of his voice in a refreshingly unfamiliar context. The motoring muscle and menace of Angels and a gleaming reworking of Saxon’s No Rest For The Wicked ensure the album’s extravagance is tempered by some honest grit and groove. The formidable presence of Andy Sneap, on mixing duties and occasional guitar, doesn’t hurt either. The Hybrid may be a one-off, but it has enough of its own personality and charm to more than justify a second outing for Biff’s boys.