I was a relative latecomer to the world of Hypocrisy, only discovering them on their 1996 breakthrough album ‘Abducted’ where upon I was sucked in by the huge melodies, married with frantic rhythms and topped off with some of the finest extreme metal vocals you’ll hear (in my opinion, Pete can growl and scream with the very best of them). I’m a huge fan of their Masse Broberg fronted, Malevolent Creation-worshipping debut and sophomore albums, as well as the majority of their more melodic efforts since. Love them or hate them, there really aren’t that many bands who sound like Hypocrisy – they’re instantly recognisable and are pretty much a stable in my metal diet.
So here we have the new Hypocrisy album, number 12 in their storied career no less. Where does it fit in? This had been an album I’d been excitedly waiting for since they dropped what I considered to be one of their finest albums in a good while with 2009’s ‘A Taste of Extreme Divinity’. Although they’ve generally been a reliable bunch in my eyes, I felt Peter Tägtgren and co. really tapped that fantastic vein of form which balanced perfectly between the melodic and angrier side of their sound with that release so was hoping for more of the same here. Well, whilst ‘End of Disclosure’ definitely has similarities to that album at times, it also has more of what makes Hypocrisy ‘Hypocrisy’, solidifying their sound even further with a more focussed effort. This is very much Hypocrisy 2013, but with many nods to the past to please fans of all eras of their work.
The album opener ‘End of Disclosure’ was a surprise to start the album for me at first, and although its opening strains of synth are very much the bands trademark, it did seem like a bit of a slow burner to really kick off an album upon first listen. However, given time, it really is a monster track, and a perfect opening for what is to come. ‘Tales of thy Spineless’ is where the album takes its first foray into extreme speed with full on blast beats and tremolo riffs, backed by Pete really exercising (or, should that be exorcising?) his vocal chords to the most piercing shrieks and deep growls. ‘The Eye’ has a really chugging, thrash inspired main riff, with a galloping rhythmic chorus which would be a dream for those experiencing it in the live environment, whilst ‘United We Fall’ is another slice of prime Tägtgren, a more uptempo song again with the tactical speedy riffage compounded around swelling melodies and transcendent harmonies.
’44 Double Zero’ has a simplistic, yet effective main riff which again relies on the melodic mid-section to rain down the greatness in a song that Arch Enemy would have killed to have written themselves. ‘Hell Is Where I Stay’ opens with a dark riff which churns uneasily, before expanding into a crushingly slow beast of a song, downtuned and chugging with some great deep growling. ‘Soldier of Fortune’ has the soaring melodies all climbing over each other from the very off, this reminds me of a lot of the material from their ‘Virus’ era of work. Closing out the album are the double punch of ‘When Death Calls’ and ‘The Return’, both showing off perfectly the different sides of the band in themselves, the former with a speedy to mid-tempo crunch, with the closer being a slower dramatic shimmering finisher to bookend the album almost as strongly as it started (it’s also the longest track on the album, at just over 6 minutes).
All of this is of course wrapped in a crystal clear Abyss studios production job, which allows all the instruments plenty of room to do their jobs, as well as a magnificent spacey atmosphere which suits Hypocrisy down to the ground. Powerful, melodic, memorable and recognisable – these guys have delivered another monstrous slab of melodic death metal with all the trappings and flourishes you’ve come to expect over the years, whilst also further hardening their core sound into something which has now become almost tangible from years of honing. For all the bands’ issues over the years, splitting up, re-forming, delays, core members leaving, hell – even forays into near Slipknot territory with the likes of parts of ‘Catch 22’; This is 100% Hypocrisy – simple, but far from plain.
(7.5/10 Lars Christiansen)