Making their debut with Population: Declining, Canadian hard rock bruisers Hail the Villain are bursting onto the scene with a mix of chest-thumping aggression and melody. With powerful, driving guitars and the vocal talent of singer Bryan Crouch, the band easily holds their own with current rock titans like Godsmack and Disturbed with a sound that is able to stand up to those bands while also being influenced by them. There’s an interesting interplay in the songs between the vocals and the guitars, with both feeling like they’re competing to be the biggest dog in the pen, pushing the guitars to be thicker and heavier while the vocals get soar higher and higher while becoming increasingly aggressive. Fortunately, the duel ends up being a win/win situation for the listener thanks to the crisp production from Darryl Romphf, who manages to keep the sound big without letting it get muddy. With this debut, Hail the Villain have given themselves a solid foothold in the rock world, and if you’re a fan of the current crop of hard rock bands, Population: Declining will surely draw you in with its dark lyrics, anthemic choruses and big breakdowns.
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AllMusic Review by Gregory Heaney