Hypocrisy is a relatively well-known Swedish death metal band, singing in English. Their music is
a bit difficult to give a truly fitting label, as their various releases are very varied in
style. A recurring theme is however alien
s, of the big-eyed grey abducting-and-mutilating kind.
They describe their music as melodic. Because of its popularity, it's hard to call this band
, but it's hardly mainstream
, either. Disclaimer: This band is not for the
faint of heart, and there are disturbing things, including profanity, in the WU below. If this
bothers you, don't read it.
The band was founded in 1991, with Masse Bromberg
doing the vocal
s, Peter Tägtgren
playing lead guitar
, Michael Hedlund
on bass, and Lars Szöke
They signed up with the German Nuclear Blast label
. In 1992, after the release of their first
the band coninued without Österberg. This lineup released 3 CDs. In 1994,
Broberg left the band, and Tägtgren took over the vocals, while still doing the lead guitar. In
live shows,Mathias Kamijo
did the guitars. In 1997, Tägtgren decided to end
Hypocrisy, to give his other band Pain
more attention. However, their farewell-album, The
, was such a success, they decided to carry on. In 2004, Szöke left the band, to be
replaced by Horgh
on drums. Andreas Holma
also joined the band, playing the guitar. This
lineup has not yet released a CD, though.
Hypocrisy has released 13 CD
s until now. I'll try to described them, but note that his is
obviously subjective. I have consulted several metal review website
s to make sure I'm not
too far off the mark.
- 1992-PenetraliaTheir first album is pretty much a rather unoriginal standard piece of death
metal, if a very good one. Hard and agressive are the keywords. Perhaps a tad more melodic than
normal. Lyrics are also pretty standard, lots of Jesus-bashing. Good, but nothing really special.
Personally, I'm not too impressed with the vocals. Hypocrisy doesn't have its typical style here
- 1993-Pleasures of Molestation A short release, with 4 tracks. They were re-recorded for the
Osculum Obscenum CD, although the digipack version includes the original recordings.
- 1993-Osculum ObscenumThis album starts with a very long gentle, instrumental intro. Then, a
sudden explosion of metal violence crushes the gentleness. They do this on many of their albums.
This album is a lot like Penetralia. It's a bit faster, and a bit more rhythmic though. The
whole atmosphere is pretty colored by black metal influences. Peter Tägtgren appears to do
some vocals as well. The album contains one cover, Black Metal, originally by Venom.
- 1994-Inferior Devoties The first release in their three-man lineup: Peter Tägtgren,
Michael Hedlund and Lars Szöke. Peter starts showing off his remarkable singing talent here:
both high, piercing screams, and deep, guttural grunts. The generally, it's more melodic,
relaxed, and not so extremely agressive. Depending on your taste, this may or may not be a good
thing. If your preference is bad, bad, baaad underground death metal, then this band's later
work will not interest you as much as the earlier three albums.
- 1994-The Fourth Dimension This album is an exceptional blend between their earlier, death
metalish-style and their later, more melodic work. The first song starts slowly. I like this: a
sequence of songs on an album that's well thought-out makes it more than the sum of its parts.
The digipack version has the Kiss-cover Strange Ways added. Here, Peter demonstrates his ability
to sing clear vocals. I'm very fond of this album, if you want to buy one album to sample them, I
think this offers the richest variety of songs.
- 1996-Abducted On this album, Peter's abductions by aliens are the main theme. Roswell 47,
on this album, might be their most well-known song. Their individual, unique style is displayed
well here: very melodic, bombastic at times, alien abductions, fast, agressive songs and slow,
melodic ones, all on one album. Their guitars also have a very artifical sound, which really
conveys the atmosphere associated with high-tech aliens well. Cool, but definitely not
run-off-the-mill death metal. Personally, I like this: standard death metal tends to be an
unending stream of agressiveness, obscenities, and sheer hatred. Nothing wrong with that, but I
like it more dosed. Peter also uses his excellent clear vocals on the last two songs of this
album, which are dripping with sadness.
- 1996-Carved up A single. The title song is on the Abducted album, the other song is not.
I don't have this CD, so can't judge it.
- 1997-The Final Chapter Their supposed goodbye album became a huge success. A lot more
agressive than Abducted or even The Fourth Dimension, and pretty fast. Very good death metal.
My one complaint is that Peter's singing takes growling to the extreme here. This is very cool
for the fast agressive songs, but not as appropriate for the slower melodic songs, where vocals
that are a tad cleaner would fit better.
- 1998-Hypocrisy destroys Wacken Hypocrisy performing live at the huge German Wacken
festival. I don't have this CD, as I'm generally not that much into live recordings. Apparently,
the sound quality is very good, and the selection of songs looks promising.
- 1999-Hypocrisy Their self-titled album is roughly in the style of Abducted, but with an
even more electronic, sometimes almost technoish sound. The first track Fractured Millennium,
starts with a long, bombastic keyboard piece, to be ripped to shreds with a 13-second scream by
Peter. Best opening on a CD I've ever heard. Again that mix of slow, melodic pieces, with a
gothic/doom-like sound, and hard, fast agressive death metal. Much variation in the singing, some
vocals are clean, some screaming. I consider this a true masterpiece, not in the least because of
the excellent production-which Peter does himself. However, many purists consider the use of
keyboards in death metal a cardinal sin. The songs on this title have very odd titles which seem
to have nothing to do with their content.
- 2000-The Abyss Many bands try to reproduce the sound they had in their beginning, that raw
eagerness of youth. This usually results in an abysmal failure. Not so here. Almost all songs are
classic, fast, agressive, grunting, screaming death metal, at least as good as they made them
when they just started. Forget the clever keyboard gimmicks, and gloomy doomy tracks on
Abducted and Hypocrisy, this is pure rage. Fire in the Sky, after Peter's favorite movie,
and Deathrow are the exceptions, and really complete the album well.
- 2001-Ten Years of Chaos and Confusion A "Best off..." track, including some re-recordings
of their older work. I don't have this one.
- 2002-Catch-22 The album's title refers to the choice a band faces: Either make the same
music over and over, risking to bore the fans, or experiment, and risk alienating them. This
album chose the last approach-and with results many of the original fans really disliked. You
see, there are some mild nu-metal influences, and that is quite enough to be unceremonially
puked out by the underground scene. Still, people who look at their whole body of work
shouldn't be surprised by this move, as Hypocrisy is constantly altering its style. The nuish
stuff is concentrated at the beginning of the CD. I find it difficult to classify the music on
this CD, as it's a really very varied. It does have a certain pop-like sound to it, and this may
make this the best album for people who like their music a bit hard, but not extremely so. The
use of electronic music again isn't shunned, overall, it's pretty speedy. It does have little to
do with death metal.
- 2004-The Arrival This one had the metal community waiting in great anticipation: Will the
deathly taint of nu-metal be banished from Hypocrisy? The answer is a resounding yes. It's a neat
mix of Abducted, Hypocrisy and The Fourth Dimension, with as guest stars our friendly
gray-skinned aliens, which also are on the cover. The cover art of this CD is VERY cool, it's a
blue sphere, lighting up three aliens in bluish purple hue. Most fitting for the album. Very
warped vocals in much of the album, and very appropriate use of the keyboard. Much mid-tempo
stuff. I find it pretty easy to listen to, given the rather uniform tempo and general atmosphere,
which again is not so uniform it gets boring. Come think of it, it is a bit pop-like, like
Catch-22. I haven't seen a reviewer pick up on that. Once again a clear example of their unique
style of death metal.
So, having seen all those CDs, what is their style? There is no simple answer, and that is their
greatest strength and weakness. They are not quite agressive and hard enough to truly please the
underground crowd, but still too hard to appeal to most casual metal listeners. Their albums are
very varied, which also has a tendency of upsetting and alienating fans.
Having said that,
their style is rooted in death metal, with mainly melodic and gothic influences.
So, you want to know more about this band, and listen to some of their songs? Well, lucky you,
they offer a nice selection on their website www.hypocrisy.tv. I know, node for the ages
what if this is removed? Try their The Fourth Dimension
album, which is a nice bridge between
their earlier and later work. As for individual songs, Fractured Millennium
, Osculum Obscenum
, and Elastic Inverted Visions
give you an appropriate sampling of this band's work.
In the 13 years of their existence, Hypocrisy has had a massive evolution as a band, from a
small, typical death metal band to a fairly popular band with an unique sound, balancing between
underground and mainstream. With each release, the Swedes manage to give yet another odd twist to
their work, always fitting in with the whole and yet still different.