Review Summary: Hypocrisy succumbs to the trappings of sounding lost in the genre they helped create..
Hypocrisy brings forth a new album four years since the release of their previous album ‘A Taste of Extreme Divinity’. With Hypocrisy’s mastermind, Peter Tagtgren, and his full attention being spent on his once side project, now full-time act, Pain, one could wonder what to expect from a new Hypocrisy album. Tagtgren has made it abundantly clear in previous interviews that Pain is his main focus and is driving his creative force. So fans of Hypocrisy could be left to wonder how ill-intentioned this album could possibly be. Once an extreme metal giant, whose reputation is still intact, it is easy to ponder whether he is simply putting out something to cash in on the band’s esteemed standing in the metal community or whether this would be another sincere release.
Without much deliberation the music speaks for itself. The album has a whole could fall on either side of the coin. There is undoubtedly the familiar Hypocrisy sound permeating throughout the entire album. However, there is obviously no attempt to rock the boat. If you are familiar with Hypocrisy’s entire catalog, this album offers nothing new. If you are hearing the sound of the band for the first time, it is a solid album to introduce to new fans. However, with the sporadic output and lack of touring over the last decade, the people checking out this album ARE the Hypocrisy fans.
The opening title track is truly the band doing what the band does best, mid-tempo, melodic death metal. There are the omni-present keys used for effect and Tagtgren’s higher pitched growling over a back drop of melancholy guitars and plodding drumming. This a pattern the band has used often, perhaps to greatest effect on the semi-ballad, ‘Until the End’. The 2nd track ‘Tales of Thy Spineless’ is a much more brutal affair. The song hits on all cylinders, giving way to blast beats, vicious guitars, and Tagtgren’s deeper growl. It is one of the stronger showings on the album.
The 3rd track ‘The Eye’ is another mid-tempo song with an almost thrash approach on the verse. However, the galloping drums, melodic guitars, and half-sung/half-barked chorus would not be far from a maneuver Soilwork and In Flames have used with even greater success. It would be pointless to continue the album on a track by track basis. The album pretty much flows in almost the exact same pattern, a mid-tempo track, followed by a faster track. There are a few surprises thrown in intermittently, the unexpected blast beat, a barn-storming guitar solo.
Anyone familiar with their previous output will most likely not be blown away nor disappointed. Any new fans this album brings to the table will not recognize ‘WHY’ this band is important to extreme metal because it is not that different than what is being served up by what seems like hundreds of other bands. I regret to say, however ground-breaking and inventive Hypocrisy were in the 90’s, they have fallen trap to now sounding like the music they helped create. It is solid, balls to the wall death metal, but offers no new insights into the genius behind the music.