Nuclear Blast

Many said it wouldn’t happen, but it did: not only did Hypocrisy stick around amidst the much ballyhooed breakup rumors following the release of The Final Chapter , but the band even topped the grandly scorching proportions of that album on its newest, eponymous opus.

Hypocrisy’s death metal races down a quintessentially Swedish path, the band picking up remnants of doom and black metal along the way. This time around, however, Hypocrisy is intent on flying in the face of convention, churning out just good music regardless of labels or styles. Nonetheless, it’s a purely whiplashing outcome, as the trio fries synapses with a brutal brand of metal that’s the catchiest the death netherworld is going to get, thus as powerful, as well. But this brutality ensues at any speed, a sterling quality quite unique to Hypocrisy, and one that certainly explains why the band is the genre’s ambassadors of distinction. Likewise, the intermittent keyboards are unobtrusive and never lessen Hypocrisy’s brutal power — if anything, they bolster it.

Guitarist Peter Tagtgren’s blackened screech is as wicked as they come, but he’s not beyond a commanding clean voice either, perfectly accenting the Amorphis waters the band so often and epicly treads. Further compounding his vocal dynamics, Tagtgren even dredges up a hardcore-style bark on “Time Warp.” Per usual, Tagtgren’s production approaches meltdown, a grinding but pristine brand of sonic warfare that’s so unique to him that he should trademark it; be well aware that Hypocrisy would still send sparks flying without it.

Unforgettable to say the least, Hypocrisy was an album that never should have happened but, thankfully, it did — a fortunate occurrence for the critically pockmarked world of metal. But as LL Cool J once quipped, “don’t call it a comeback.”

Nuclear Blast America, P.O. Box 43618, Philadelphia, PA 19106; http://www.nuclearblast-usa.com

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