Review: The work of madmen and genius, this album is crafted from the simplest rock-derived rhythm-based death metal yet projects an impressive imagination in the creation of dark spaces and urgent yet doubtridden riffs. Dark enough to be black metal, with the cutting edge of aggression of speed metal, integrated into a speeding (although not overly technical) death metal format, populate a release whose songs cycle their own origins but thrust forth compelling rhythm in the median.
Vocals are the higher ranges of a death metal shriek and pace them impressions slightly behind tempo for an urgent, breathless effect when not nailing cadence with a rigorous guttural declaration. Conceptually this fits within the acerbic atheism and violent antisocial alienation spitting forth from shorter, impact-driven songs. Careful to use mostly a slippery tremelo speed texture, Hypocrisy also invent within slamming cross-sections of modal tension transfer to improve upon many of the techniques of technical Tampa bands.
1. Impotent God (3:49)
2. Suffering Souls (3:27)
3. Nightmare (4:29)
4. Jesus Fall (3:28)
5. God is a ... (2:59)
6. Left to rot (3:34)
7. Burn by the Cross (4:47)
8. To escape is to die (3:54)
9. Take the Throne (5:21)
10. Penetralia (6:34)
The result is dark, violent, brows-furrowed anger and doom music, showing very much the influences of Slayer and Death, but only as musical integrates, as the end work is a unique production. Tonally simple, riffs are the tension between two points and in thundering chromatic work balance their brief melodies with strident enunciation, balancing a chain reaction to its preceding complement. Riffs are strong for their surging, rippling, wavelike motion and fit precisely into songs of few elements and small achievements amplified by careful arrangement layering introductory material to make consistent transitions.
Percussion and bass follow guitars while shifting through internal variations to compress variants into linearity. For its culmination, this album detours into the dark melodic "Penetralia" in which ballad form is inverted and mutated to provide a sense of descent and grim discovery. While the musical knowledge behind this work is cut from a basic template and thus songs do not vary melody or pitch greatly, the inventive fingerwork and adept kneading of riff shape construct together a convergence upon clarity that for this form of nihilistic rhythm music is distinctive and intuitive to a range of metal listeners.
Review: Rougher cuts of tracks from "Osculum Obscenum," pre-released to tide over Amerikan fans, show the band retaining a member not present for the final LP and cutting the smoother more ambitious work of the album to come into the raw and stripped-down style of the first Hypocrisy album. More guttural vocals, an emphasis on victim-battering cadence and a strategic limitation of melody to areas of dynamic variation from the rushing and pummeling power chord streams this band unleash in order to provide formative material for change.
1. Pleasure of Molestation (4:38)
2. Exclamation of a Necrofag (5:10)
3. Necronomicon (4:14)
4. Attachment to the Ancestor (5:27)
While the compositional infrastructures remain essentially similar to these tracks as appearing on the second album, an emphasis on more rugged instrumentalism and the gruff immediacy of the rendering of practiced but still new works clears away some of the refinement and moderation in tempo that would distinguish the album as an aesthetic advance for death metal. Mostly of speeding verse riffs which slide into tempo change or drop into contrapuntal phrasing and texture, these songs give "Osculum Obscenum" context in past to match its own establishment of future.
Review: Stripping to an endurance trek minimum the searing riffing of the first album, "Osculum Obscenum" adds melodic structural variations to the standard heavy metal/death metal hybrid that Hypocrisy present within an inspired and revealing aesthetic of phrasing within nearly static harmonic motion. Making sharper metal and playing it faster with more content functions perfectly for the conceptual chaos this delivers, with songs commenting on random occult topics and the disturbing of the moment, including the dubious "Exclamation of a Necrofag."
1. Pleasure of Molestation (6:00)
2. Exclamations of a Necrofag (5:08)
3. Osculum Obscenum (5:06)
4. Necronomicon (4:14)
5. Black Metal Venom cover (2:54))
6. Inferior Devoties (4:42)
7. Infant Sacrifices (4:16)
8. Attachment to the Ancestor (5:35)
9. Althotas (8:11)
Songs roll forth underneath their own precepts established in staggered cutting strum of amply spaced intervals in power chords, moving texture from the rigid to the fluid and from the fluid to the self-harmonizing but ambiguous reference of melody. As new themes follow the old, so do familiar patterns reappear, making a cyclic journey through speeding changes and sudden impacts before colliding toward resolution. The sense of pop articulation, which is the art at hand considering the similarity of musical framework between this and most popular culture music throughout the centuries, allows the voice of the music to be more significant than its context.
With a feral timbre of splintering sound, the vocals of hoarse diatribe match grinding guitar and a tendency toward transitional structures of pure rhythm, which breaks sound itself into quanta of chronological placement. Undulating in its rapid descents of fifths and sublime in its transition from abrasive chromatism to minor key melodic strcutural support, the sound from this era of Hypocrisy seizes up aspiration, fear and desire into a trembling note of resonant symbolism through the collaboration of detail throughout each piece.
Review: Of the five songs on this EP four are Hypocrisy originals and the last is a much-celebrated Slayer cover, which, although admirably represented, is not reinvented in any substantial way.
1. Inferior Devoties (4:46)
2. Symbol of Baphomet (2:59)
3. Mental Emotions (3:16)
4. God is a Lie (3:00)
5. Black Magic Slayer cover (3:23)
The highlight of this album is the original "God is A Lie" which fades into parts of "Penetralia," enhancing the angry and rejective tone of the song with an aura of dark mystery and purpose hidden in human perception, underscoring the rationality of alienation. Each other song, much in the style of previous EPs from this band, is a raw and simplified version of its source work from the first or second album, undoing layers of refinement and exact placing of rhythm for a revealed and blatant assault on sonic convenience. While this would seem to be repeat material, for many these versions are more worthy for their lack of polish and aesthetic subterfuge.
Review: On this album Hypocrisy slow from their trademark style of fast and feral Slayer-influenced Swedish death metal, dropping into its place refinement and simple elegance in the embrace of the classic speed metal/heavy metal that is at the core of this band (undoubtedly from youthful influences). As if making peace with the past, the band are not attempted savage death metal but aiming for a more conventional audience through powerful pop song compositing and the enlightening inventiveness of melody that has been the trademark of previous albums.
1. Apocalypse (5:54)
2. Mind Corruption (3:50)
3. Reincarnation (3:50)
4. Reborn (3:07)
5. Black Forest (4:26)
6. Never to Return (4:06)
7. Path to Babylon (3:41)
8. Slaughtered (5:39)
9. Orgy in Blood (3:20)
10. The North Wind (3:44)
11. T.E.M.P.T. (3:18)
12. The Fourth Dimension (5:52)
13. The Arrival of the Demons (1:49)
Songs build toward a dominant rhythm, express it in a riff, issue a few structural points such as bridges or solos, and then recede quietly (relatively, for death metal). Speed thrills come out in anthemic tracks, and architected tempo and tone work to find unique hooks and phrase shapes for the pop music of this time. As part of an increasingly visible trend of Swedish musicians to drop extreme music for their influences, this album will not please those who rose with the spirit of earlier black metal-influenced releases but will be a favorite of those who appreciate the growth and refinement of heavy metal.
Review: Moving further away from extremity toward sonorous pop songs, Hypocrisy borrow the resonant minor key choruses of bands like the Cure or the Smashing Pumpkins and match them to acerbic but rigid riffing and convoluted conception of transitional phrase, creating an immersive environment of rock music that aesthetically promotes many of the ideas of death metal before lapsing into its own sentiment and becoming maudlin, stimulating resentment and the generation of some of the vapid commercial works that populate the second half of this album.
1. The gathering (1:10)
2. Roswell 47 (3:56)
3. Killing art (2:57)
4. The arrival of the demons (part 2) (3:21)
5. Buried (3:11)
6. Abducted (2:51)
7. Paradox (4:33)
8. Point of no return (3:56)
9. When the candle fades (5:32)
10. Carved up (3:30)
11. Reflections (2:38)
12. Slippin' away (5:13)
13. Drained (4:32)
Still within a framework of speed metal song structures and anthemic tendencies, Hypocrisy use briefly muffled chords or chords played open to fill song spaces with broad, absolutist proclamations which are complemented by melodic inclinations toward devolution of structure, balancing emotion against a primitive rationality in a conjectural impulse toward undirected and all-encompassing emotion; in this we see much of the heavy sentiment and morality of the stadium metal age returning, and with it removing much of the "death" from death metal in lyrics and concept. With this in mind, a summary of this album might be that the band who started small have now become fully in control of their artistry, and at that stage have reverted to their influences for the sake of making socially acceptable music.