HYPOCRISY - The Arrival 2004 Nuclear Blast Records Reviewed by EC
1. Born Dead Buried Alive 2. Eraser 3. Stillborn 4. Slave To The Parasites 5. New World 6. The Abyss 7. Dead Sky Dawning 8. The Departure 9. War Within
Hypocrisy are a special band really. Few death metal bands can keep things interesting for this long, always keeping to the formula but straying so far from their immediate objective that the band's albums can be looked at individually, as opposed to a discography gaze that sums things up, for example a band like Cannibal Corpse, Morbid Angel, or Immolation. Hypocrisy aren't like those bands at all. Their works are creative masterpieces that delve deep into the mind, offering a wide array of subjects ranging from mind control, alien abduction, government conspiracy, and the ever popular, astral projection. This band creates the ultimate midnight dreary, almost creating their own soundtrack to TV's X-Files and movies like Aliens, Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, and hell, even E.T.
Hypocrisy started their careers with two mindless, aggressive death metal pieces, "Penetralia" and "Obsculum Obsenia". These albums were mostly high tempo, violent examples of the Swedish Death metal sensation. Then the band started the ultimate formula...taking doomy passages ala Candlemass and Sabbath and layering them over brutal death metal growls from the grave, all mixed in with a whirlwind of Lovecraft horror and Ray Bradbury sci-fi. The result..."The Fourth Dimension", one of the greatest death metal offerings of our time.
The group followed that with a complete science fiction nightmare, and a brilliant musical offering entitled "Abducted". This album took X-Files themes and crossed them with the ultimate extreme death metal machine Entombed. This album was their claim to fame and really established the act as the next big thing, with Tagtgren and Hypocrisy getting a long-term contract with Nuclear Blast and touring internationally for the first time. The wheels had been set.
The band followed "Abducted" with "The Final Chapter", an album that goes hand in hand with its predecessor, completing the routine with eerie melody, hellish screams, and gloomy passages. As if things couldn't get any better, the group unleashed their true gem, an album that has yet to be topped in my opinion, simply entitled "Hypocrisy". This effort combined the calculated formulas from the past but mixed in a bit of Gothenburg styled death metal ala In Flames and Dark Tranquility. The self titled album is the ultimate beautiful nightmare, completely brutal and ugly, but at the same time soothing and hypnotic in its vast array of sadistic melody and calming darkness.
After this release, the band took some time off and then released their most disappointing album to date, "Into The Abyss". Going back to the roots of the band, this record offered a combination of their first two records, completing straying from the band's last three albums, and discouraging most fans along the way. After this disappointing loss, the band tried their take on the Slipknot sound with "Catch 22", a brainless, almost effortless attempt at nu-metal that went completely wrong. I finally decided that the band had reached the point where disbanding could be an option. I felt the time had come for the group to just go away and do other things.
Now, its 2004 and the band have released yet another album, this one entitled "The Arrival". After completely dropping the ball on the last two tries, the band have finally hit another home-run. With "The Arrival", Hypocrisy have gone back to the formula that works for them, going back to the science fiction element and the midnight mass of all things sadistic and dark.
This is Hypocrisy, and this is a perfect example of what works for them. This new album is chock-full of all things gloomy and doomy, going back to albums like "Abducted", "The Final Chapter", and "Hypocrisy" for inspiration and clearly a reason to carry on. Tagtgren and company focus on the fire in the sky here, going all out to deliver a chilling, melodic moodpiece that fits perfectly for a rainy night.
The spooky and ever melodic intro "Born Dead, Buried Alive" makes for the perfect opener, with its crashing drumbeat and harmonized, building guitars that approach insanity at just the right place. The track builds into an aggressive ripper that would compare to the group's mid-era, with Tagtgren sticking to the black metal voices. "Erased" follows with a well made, atomospheric crunch that has a very catchy riff throughout, reminding me of Sabbath and Dio with the ultimate metal chorus, one that is very reminiscent of "Roswell '47", a instant classic from the group's past. "Stillborn" looks at the last album very briefly before breaking out of the mold and delivering some quality Swedish death that we have grown to love from bands like Dismember and Unleashed. This is good stuff!
"Slave To The Parasites" and "Dead By Dawning" are uncompromised, perfect melodic passages that Hypocrisy do so well. Nobody out there can play this type of stuff better than Tagtgren and his boys. This is prime evil metal played at full volume with a creative attempt to make "unearthly" music. The band even stops to cover one of their own, a retake on "The Abyss" which was released on a Nuclear Blast compilation only. This new version sticks to the old and only adds better production in my opinion. Still, the song is good enough to be heard and played again.
"The Arrival" is pure gold. This is the perfect Hypocrisy album and I'm really happy that the band decided to go back to their money shots, the creative killing machine that made them who they are. This is really good for the industry and great news for this band. Hypocrisy have proved that they definitely aren't out of the race, and by all means, they plan on keeping their crowns.
About this Writer: Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has served as senior editor for MaximumMetal.com for nearly 10 years and is the author of the heavy metal book series--Denim & Letters. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia.
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