Hypocrisy

Picture of Hypocrisy

Penetralia

Hypocrisy - Penetralia ©1992 Nuclear Blast
1. Impotent God
2. Suffering Souls
3. Nightmare
4. Jesus Fall
5. God Is A...
6. Left To Rot
7. Burn By The Cross
8. To Escape Is To Die
9. Take The Throne
10. Penetralia
11. Life Of Filth (reissue Bonus Track)
12. Lead By Satanism (reissue Bonus Track)

Hypocrisy has been one of my favorite bands for years, but I have noticed that I am in the minority with this opinion. Most seem to have a lukewarm response to them at best. I believe that part of the blame for the indifference of critics to Hypocrisy is because of this, their debut album.

Penetralia is technically good and (guess what!) has excellent production. Simply put, it is an early 90s Swedish death metal album: enjoyable, but very typical of the genre at the time. Original vocalist Masse Bromberg has the required low, sick vocals but they are one dimensional, even by death metal standards. As for the music, think early Dismember and Entombed. There is a slight use of keyboards for atmosphere, but nothing really noteworthy.

There are some bright spots in the second half of the album. "Left to Rot" finally breaks away from the blastbeat pace and goes in to a short groove section. "Take the Throne" is a slower, doomy track which hints at later directions for the band. The title track that closes the album is without a doubt the highlight. It features more expressive vocals (I believe Peter Tagtgren is actually singing most of the song), more feeling and a terrifying atmosphere, perfectly straddling the line between death and black metal. This song hardly sounds like it was done by the same band. The two bonus tracks on the reissue are better than anything on the first half of the actual album. "Lead by Satanism" is a real treat with its eerie main riff.

Penetralia is not a classic by anyone's judgment. I can see how reviewers barraged with albums like this heard the first few songs and tuned out. Unfortunately, the glimpses of greatness are at the end. I can't really recommend this on the basis of a few good tracks. Anyone curious about Hypocrisy should start no earlier than The Fourth Dimension.

Reissue note: This is a standard, cheap-o Nuclear Blast reissue. They did include bonus tracks, but there are no liner notes. I don't just mean any new liner notes, but the originals aren't there either: no thank yous, production credits, etc. Nice job, dicks.

Review by Scott Wilcox

Review 11/2002

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Osculum Obscenum

Hypocrisy - Osculum Obscenum ©1993 Nuclear Blast
1. Pleasure Of Molestation
2. Exclamation Of A Necrofag
3. Osculum Obscenum
4. Necronomicon
5. Black Metal
6. Inferior Devoties
7. Infant Sacrificies
8. Attachment To The Ancestors
9. Althotas
10. Symbol Of Baphomet
11. Mental Emotions
12. Lead By Satanism (reissue Bonus Track)
13. Black Magic
14. Pleasure Of Molestation (demo)
15. Exclamation Of A Necrofag (demo)
16. Necronomicon (demo)
17. Attachment To The Ancestor

It is fairly common for a debut album to blatantly wear its influences on its sleeve. The test comes on the sophomore effort, when the artisthas to break away and develop their own style or continue to recycle the music of their favorite groups.

Such a development is apparent on Osculum Obscenum. The bright spots that are peppered through the latter half of the debut come to fruition here. Tempo variances help to avoid the monotony that infects so much extreme metal. The vocals are spiced up by some black metal shrieks and a nice layering effect that surrounds the listener with horrifying utterances. Once again, it sounds like Peter Tagtgren is doing some of these (at this point in the band he is officially just the lead guitarist) in preparation for taking over the vocals permanently after this album. The production also takes a step up, providing a richer bass that fills out Hypocrisy's sound nicely.

This is a darker album, musically and lyrically. The air of fear and menace it creates has more in common with black metal than death metal. There are no obvious standout tracks like the title track on Penetralia, but the material as a whole is more solid. The title track is an all time favorite, still making appearances in the band's live sets, as well as the slow, crushing power of "Attachment to the Ancestor". Recommended to genre devotees who may have missed it the first time around.

Reissue note: This time, Nuclear Blast included the two '94 EPs as bonus tracks. They also eliminated all liner notes, printed an incorrect lineup for the band, and botched the transfer of the album cover. Sometimes I wonder if these record company idiots even like music.

Review by Scott Wilcox

Review date:

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Inferior Devoties

Hypocrisy - Inferior Devoties ©1994 Nuclear Blast
1. Inferior Devoties
2. Symbol Of Baphomet
3. Mental Emotions
4. God Is A Lie
5. Black Magic

I'm not sure why I keep buying Hypocrisy records. It's not as if I like them. Sure, they have some occasional good individual tunes here and there, but generally I find them to be a tedious and arduous listen waiting for that brief moment of brilliancy. There are, of course, good things to say about them. Peter Tägtgren is a fine producer whose studio ability is almost unparalleled in metal. And...and...I'm stretching here. Oh, and "Mental Emotions" and "Symbol of Baphomet" have a couple killer riffs. Maybe you have to be a death metal enthusiast to truly enjoy them, but I find it difficult to sit through a full listen without wanting to get away.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 10/1998

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Review #2:

This little EP is notable in that it introduces the new lineup of Hypocrisy. The band now becomes a three piece with Peter Tagtgren now handling all guitars, vocals, and keyboards, as well as the production. The most notable difference is in the vocal department. Peter is a huge improvement over the departing Masse Bromberg (who went on to join Dark Funeral under the name Ahriman.)

Other than the historical significance, is this EP worth purchasing? Not really. The two new songs ("Symbol of Baphomet" and "Mental Emotions") are enjoyable enough, but compared to the forthcoming full length (The Fourth Dimension) they are forgettable little blasters. The re-recording of "God Is a Lie" from Penetralia shows more fire than the original but only completists will care. Finally, the cover of Slayer's "Black Magic" is good but is also available on many of the numerous Slayer tribute albums. Pick it up in a bargain bin, but don't spend any effort hunting it down.

Review by Scott Wilcox

Review date: 11/2002

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The Fourth Dimension

Hypocrisy - The Fourth Dimension ©1994 Nuclear Blast
1. Apocalypse
2. Mind Corruption
3. Reincarnation
4. Reborn
5. Black Forest
6. Never To Return
7. Path To Babylon
8. Slaughtered
9. Orgy In Blood
10. The North Wind
11. T.E.M.P.T.
12. The Fourth Dimension
13. The Arrival Of The Demons
14. The Abyss (limited Edition Bonus Track)

The Fourth Dimension, the third full length album from Sweden's Hypocrisy, is a turning point in many ways. This is the first full length with the three piece lineup that exists today. The cover art has moved away from traditional death metal horror and grossout scenes in favor of more atmospheric terror. The band name is simply printed on the cover and the required logo bristling with pentagrams and inverted crosses has been relegated to the back cover. Most importantly, The Fourth Dimension is a musical turning point.

With this album, Hypocrisy proved to me that death metal could be more than mindless brutality without losing its edge. Opener "Apocalypse" is one of my favorite songs of all time. It is a song of crushing doom with melody, keyboards, extreme low death growls and some spare clean vocals. I realize that the combination of these traits scream "wimp-out" but I consider this one of the heaviest songs ever. Tagtgren, in his first full-length vocal performance, is able to express an amazing amount of emotion with the usually limiting death metal vocals. This is especially true on "Apocalypse" but continues throughout the album.

Those against progression have plenty of faster tracks to keep them happy, such as "Mind Corruption", "Reborn" and "Orgy In Blood." These songs make better use of the skills of drummer Lars Szoke than in the past where constant blastbeats were the norm. The album is arranged an alternating fashion, with a melodic song usually followed by a more brutal fast one, keeping away that "all the same" feeling that plagues so much death metal.

As a whole the songs are simpler and better crafted. Instead of cramming in riffs and blastbeats Tagtgren (who writes the majority of the music) has made sure everything in each song counts for something. This is evident in the soloing style. Previously, Hypocrisy solos had the frantic, chaotic quality of Slayer; now they are shorter and simpler but more memorable and effective.

The closing title track is another classic, second only to "Apocalypse" on the album. It features limited keyboards, an acoustic intro, and choir style vocals, and again captures the feeling of doom and sorrow. It is important to begin and end an album strong, and Hypocrisy has certainly accomplished this. Outro "The Arrival of the Demons" provides a good exit, as well as previewing one of the tracks on the next album. Bonus track "The Abyss" continues in the vein of melody established on the album with a Gregorian chant style chorus. Of course, Tagtgren produced this so you know the sound quality is top notch.

What more can be said? This album has been criminally overlooked for long enough! Any fan of heavy music should own this.

Review by Scott Wilcox

Review date: 12/2002

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Maximum Abduction EP

Hypocrisy - Maximum Abduction EP ©1995 Nuclear Blast
1. Roswell 47
2. Carved Up
3. Request Denied
4. Strange Ways

Hypocrisy strikes again with that most "metal" of releases, the stop-gap EP. This time it is in the form of a shaped CD depicting a turkey skewered with nails! Points have to be given for originality on this concept.

Maximum Abduction is basically a trailer for the full length Abducted, which would follow in '96. The EP has two tracks from that album: "Roswell 47" and "Carved Up". Without getting in to a review of those songs outside of their album, they both show the midpaced and more accessible sound that would be prevalent on Abducted. "Request Denied" is a real gem of a B-side, using a ballad structure and both death and clean vocals, coming off as, dare I say, sensitive? Mr. Tagtgren must have thought better of letting this song stay in obscurity, as the band re-recorded it in 1997 for The Final Chapter. "Strange Ways" is a Kiss cover, faithfully covered with clean vocals. As with most Kiss songs, it is unremarkable.

The problem with a release like this is that when the album it is hyping comes out, the EP usually becomes worthless. That is the case here. Spend your money on one of the full lengths instead.

Review by Scott Wilcox

Review date: 12/2002

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Abducted

Hypocrisy - Abducted ©1996 Nuclear Blast
1. The Gathering
2. Roswell 47
3. Killing Art
4. The Arrival Of The Demons (Part 2)
5. Buried
6. Abducted
7. Paradox
8. Point Of No Return
9. When The Candle Fades
10. Carved Up
11. Reflections
12. Slippin' Away
13. Drained

The evolution of Hypocrisy continues on their fourth album, Abducted. Conceptually the band starts to move away from the traditional death/black metal topics and in to the realm of science fiction. Musically, many of the songs have a traditional (accessible?) arrangement, using more melody than before. The production this time provides a harsh, dirty sound on the majority of the album, reminding me a bit of punk. This new abrasive flavor provides a nice contrast to the increased melodicism of most of the music. Adding to the contrast are the vocals, which this time are almost exclusively black metal howls and shrieks.

If Hypocrisy were ever to have a Top 40 hit, "Roswell 47" would have been it. This midpaced rocker should be appreciated by any fan of heavy music. (If the vocal style gets in the way, Hypocrisy recorded a version with mostly clean vocals that appears on the Death Is Just the Beginning Vol. 4 compilation.) "The Arrival of the Demons (Part 2)" is a continuation of the outro from The Fourth Dimension, using a choir for the chorus. "Paradox" and "Carved Up" are two more excellent tracks that highlight this new approach.

As is usually the case, Hypocrisy mix this new style with more brutal songs that should please the fans of their older work, such as "Killing Art", "Point of No Return" and the title track. An album composed of just these songs would quickly become boring, but interspersing them throughout the album gives an extra shot of aggression that keeps the whole project flowing nicely.

The final three songs, frankly, come out of nowhere. They seem like they were meant to be a separate EP and were tacked on the end. "Reflections" serves as an overture, starting out with ambient sound and bringing in the melody with the keyboards. "Slippin' Away" is a Pink Floydish ballad with clean vocals, beautiful and depressive, very similar to what Anathema was doing at this time. "Drained" continues in this vein, with Peter Tagtgren doing a fine David Gilmour impersonation with his guitar work. These three songs would seem to point to a much more commercial direction for the next album, but this was not the case. Perhaps Tagtgren changed his mind during the whole "breakup" mess.

Abducted is not as cohesive as The Fourth Dimension, mainly due to the huge shift at the end. However, it does what the follow up to a great album should do: show progression without betrayal of the past. Plus, lots of killer songs! Highly recommended.

Review by Scott Wilcox

Review date: 12/2002

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The Final Chapter

Hypocrisy - The Final Chapter ©1997 Nuclear Blast
1. Inseminated Adoption
2. A Coming Race
3. Dominion
4. Inquire Within
5. Last Vanguard
6. Request Denied
7. Through The Window Of Time
8. Shamateur
9. Adjusting The Sun
10. Lies
11. Evil Invaders
12. The Final Chapter

A few months before the release of this, Hypocrisy's fifth album, vocalist/guitarist/songwriter/producer Peter Tagtgren declared that it would be the band's last offering. Tagtgren was increasingly busy with his studio, The Abyss, and all the production work he had taken on. He said that in addition to this, he was also doing all of the work in Hypocrisy by writing the vast majority of the songs and, basically, he was tired of carrying the band.

Those expecting that this album would follow the direction of the more mainstream tracks that closed Abducted were in for a surprise. Perhaps because this was planned to be the end of Hypocrisy, the seemingly inevitable shift to a clean vocaled hard rock band was halted. Musically The Final Chapter is an amalgamation of The Fourth Dimension and Abducted, using both the screaming black and low death vocals, slow doom and blasting thrash. Despite the lack of real progression there is no shortage of catchy melodies, as displayed in "A Coming Race," "Inquire Within", "Lies" and the re-recorded rare track "Request Denied." The only real disappointment on the album is the title track, which sounds like an overlong outro. The abrasion in the production of the last album is gone, replaced by Tagtgren's trademarked glossy, crystal clear sound.

Overall, this album is entertaining but extremely generic. After improving and changing their sound for four albums, this one seems to just be treading water. This got great reviews at the time, probably due to the fact that it was supposedly the end of the band. Taken that way, it is an excellent final album; it encapsulates what Hypocrisy was and doesn't stray too far from the formula. Of course, anyone who cares knows that the breakup was so short that it never really happened. On the "farewell tour", Tagtgren decided that interest was too high in the band to let it die and they immediately started on another album.

I loved this album at the time of its release. Again, I'm sure this opinion was colored by the fact that I thought one of my favorite bands was breaking up. Looking back on it now, it seems very safe and unremarkable. New listeners will probably enjoy it, but Hypocrisy devotees (or is that "devoties") have heard it all before.

Review by Scott Wilcox

Review date: 01/2003

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Hypocrisy Destroys Wacken

Hypocrisy - Hypocrisy Destroys Wacken ©1998 Nuclear Blast
1. Roswell 47
2. Inseminated Adoption
3. A Coming Race
4. Apocalypse
5. Osculum Obscenum
6. Buried
7. Left To Rot
8. The Fourth Dimension
9. Pleasure Of Molestation
10. Killing Art
11. The Final Chapter
12. Time Warp
13. Til The End
14. Fuck U
15. Beginning Of The End

Just because a musical entity dissolves doesn't mean that there can't be any new releases. There are greatest hits collections, B-side albums, studio outtakes, and, of course, live albums. This first album after the Hypocrisy "breakup" (that never quite happened) falls in the latter category, recorded at the 1998 Wacken festival on their farewell tour. There are also a few leftover studio tracks thrown in.

Obviously those who don't enjoy live albums should stay away, but for everyone else, this is a real treat. Hypocrisy deliver a tight, exciting live performance, translating their excellent studio output into a show that any band would be proud of. The songs are not altered very much from their original form but the live environment gives them an extra edge that makes them even more crushing. The addition of live second guitarist Mattias Kamijo ensures that none of Hypocrisy's full sound is sacrificed without having to resort to a backup tape. Songs from all five albums are represented, with a bit more emphasis placed on the last two, Abducted and The Final Chapter.

The studio songs are a mixed bag, as is to be expected from remnants of past recording sessions. "Time Warp" and "Til the End" eventually appeared on the new studio album, making them redundant at this point. "Fuck U" sounds like it belongs in a punk side project; it is fun, but I'm glad it never made it to an official album. "Beginning of the End" is a pretty standard black/thrash affair that would have fit right in on either of the previous two albums.

If you are considering getting this for the studio tracks, I would advise against it. Two demos for the new album, one fairly good song and a novelty aren't worth the price. However, if you enjoy great live albums you can't go wrong here. Highly recommended on the strength of the live portion.

Review by Scott Wilcox

Review date: 01/2003

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Hypocrisy

Hypocrisy - Hypocrisy ©1999 Nuclear Blast
1. Fractured Millennium
2. Apocalyptic Hybrid
3. Fusion Programmed Minds
4. Elastic Inverted Visions
5. Reversed Reflections
6. Until The End
7. Paranormal Mysteria
8. Time Warp
9. Disconnected Magnetic Corridors
10. Paled Empty Sphere
11. Selfinflicted Overload

I have to report this album as a first. The self-titled Hypocrisy is actually the first album I've heard from this band that I like all the way through from beginning to end. Most of their previous albums were good for maybe one or two excellent songs and were chock full of filler material otherwise, reducing it to a death metal equivalent of country music. Maybe the supposed break-up and subsequent reformation of the band actually got their collective Swedish buttocks in gear to write some meaningful music that moved beyond being technically good.

With tastefully implemented keyboards, the first track "Fractured Millenium" opens the album into a huge sounding atmospheric arena, thus setting the stage for the album as a whole. While "Apocalyptic Hybrid" is a fluid, velocity laden piece, songs like "Elastic Inverted Vision" are melancholy, moody and most importantly, good. Hypocrisy also is smart enough to make sure there is variance within the album so that a feeling of stagnation never appears. Older Hypocrisy albums felt like they weren't taking me on a journey; Hypocrisy changes all that. So finally, after many attempts at finding something about this band that was worth the praise, here is the reason to lavish the band with kind words other than "nice production, Pete".

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 10/1999

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Review #2:

Disbanding seemed to have no effect on the productiveness of Hypocrisy. In two years they released their last album, did a farewell tour, released a live album, decided to give it another go, and produced this new self-titled effort. This strange turn of events ended up being to the benefit of metal fans. Hypocrisy is a powerful statement from a re-energized band. As its name suggests, it is a reintroduction that has potential appeal for non-fans but should still blow away the faithful. Speaking for this faithful one, consider me destroyed.

While The Final Chapter was a slight step back, this album sounds like it should been the follow-up to Abducted. Yes, that means that some of the material is more "accessible." Those who wish bands would never change are free to join the AC/DC fanclub and leave the rest of us to music that occasionally challenges expectations.

"Fractured Millennium" joins the ranks of "Apocalypse" and "Roswell 47" as classic openers. It uses a choir and keyboards integrally to build an operatic sound, both powerful and melodic and instantly memorable. Of course, the expectation for track two is a typical Hypocrisy blaster and "Apocalyptic Hybrid" doesn't disappoint. But this is where the traditional formula of alternating speeds and styles ends. Instead of injecting a bit of old school death at regular intervals to keep everyone on board, Hypocrisy are fully committing to their new direction. Great tracks keep coming: "Elastic Inverted Visions", "Reversed Reflections" and "Until the End."

One of the complaints of mainman Peter Tagtgren that led to the breakup talk was that he carried the band. Apparently Michael Hedlund and Lars Szoke took him seriously and don't want to really lose their gig this time, because they do contribute more to the writing on this album. The biggest songwriting surprise comes from Szoke: the burly drummer's "Disconnected Magnetic Corridors" is, dare I say, sensitive? It is a moody doom piece with clean vocals that, again, logically follows in the direction that Abducted pointed. Closer "Paled Empty Sphere" follows in the same vein, but with a more grandiose production and soaring chorus. Bonus track "Selfinflicted Overload" is a nice rocker, but doesn't fit on the album proper. It's good to see an artist that understands the concept of an album, as opposed to just throwing a bunch of songs together.

Next to The Fourth Dimension, this is Hypocrisy's finest hour. Considering their recent output, maybe this should have been the final album. Highly recommended, especially to non-death metal fans.

Review by Scott Wilcox

Review date: 02/2003

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Into The Abyss

Hypocrisy - Into The Abyss ©2000 Nuclear Blast
1. Legions Descend
2. Blinded
3. Resurrected
4. Unleash The Beast
5. Digital Prophecy
6. Fire In The Sky
7. Total Eclipse
8. Unfold The Sorrow
9. Sodomized
10. Deathrow (No Regrets)

What is the next step after a redefining album that was well received by fans and critics alike? If the example of Hypocrisy is to be believed, the process involves ridding the band of its new focus and hurriedly recording and releasing a mish-mash of utterly average music.

Into The Abyss was marketed as a "back to roots" release, recorded in a few weeks to give it a spontaneous feel. If by "roots" they mean the period when most of their music was mediocre and forgettable, then they have certainly succeeded. I hesitate to even call this an album; it seems more like a collection of odds-n-sods from different eras of the band. An explanation (purely speculation on my part) for the quick release of this is that the songs were completed leftovers from other sessions.

Most of the album is taken up with compact death/thrash tunes, but among the clutter is "Resurrected" which sounds like it was a b-side from The Fourth Dimension. It is a decent song, but lives up to nothing from that album. Particularly curious are "Fire In the Sky" and "Deathrow (No Regrets)." These slower melodic tracks sound like outtakes from the eponymous album. (Considering the reported one hundred minutes of music that were recorded during those sessions, that may be true.) It is worth noting that these two songs are the ones that represent this album on 10 Years Of Chaos And Confusion, the career retrospective collection. It is as if Peter Tagtgren also recognizes the sub-par nature of this album.

As usual, the music is flawlessly played and produced, but I am forced to say who cares? There are no true highlights on this album; most of the songs are like the bastard offspring of another earlier song that was much better. With the career Hypocrisy had up to this point and coming off of a modern classic I expected more than this half-assed regression. Totally unnecessary.

Review by Scott Wilcox

Review date: 03/2003

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10 Years Of Chaos And Confusion

Hypocrisy - 10 Years Of Chaos And Confusion ©2001 Nuclear Blast
1. Penetralia
2. The Fourth Dimension
3. Osculum Obscenum
4. Apocalypse
5. Killing Art
6. Deathrow (no Regrets)
7. Left To Rot
8. Until The End
9. Pleasures Of Molestation
10. A Coming Race
11. Fractured Millennium
12. Roswell 47
13. Fire In The Sky
14. The Final Chapter

After a lengthy tenure where the band tried at least once to disband, Hypocrisy finds themselves at the cusp of a decade of existence. In celebration of surviving the death metal world for so long, the band saw fit to issue a collection of tracks from all their albums, re-recording anything originally written before 1996 and calling it 10 Years of Chaos and Confusion. As a result, this neo-compilation acts as a fairly cohesive overview of the band's career from beginning to present, with the emphasis placed on current sound and production values. If anything, band leader Peter Tägtren has come a long ways in the past decade in perfecting his remarkable studio skills.

Having never really been the most fanatical of Hypocrisy fans, this compilation may do just fine in covering all my Hypocrisy listening needs. The updated versions of older tracks is an improvement over the originals, as they give the songs a dose of power and depth as well as a more fluid quality. There is a tendency for the re-recorded versions to sound more like the output of the band over the past couple of years (particularly Hypocrisy). The band's sound has improved greatly over the years as the members honed their songwriting and skills.

At the very least, 10 Years of Chaos and Confusion should act as the one Hypocrisy album casual fans will need and a bonus for longtime and more hardcoare fans. There will also be a limited edition bonus CD for those who rush immediately to the record store. This disc will include a new song and eight bonus tracks. No matter which version you own, this compilation will effeciently serve all your Hypocrisy needs.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 08/2001

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10 Years Of Chaos And Confusion (Limited Edition)

Hypocrisy - 10 Years Of Chaos And Confusion (Limited Edition) ©2001 Nuclear Blast
CD one:
1. Penetralia (re-recorded 2001)
2. The Fourth Dimension (re-recorded 2001)
3. Osculum Obscenum (re-recorded 2001)
4. Apocalypse (re-recorded 2001)
5. Killing Art
6. Deathrow (No Regrets)
7. Left To Rot (re-recorded 2001)
8. Until The End
9. Pleasure Of Molestation (re-recorded 2001)
10. A Coming Race
11. Fractured Millennium
12. Roswell 47
13. Fire In The Sky
14. The Final Chapter
CD two:
15. God Is A Lie
16. Suffering Souls
17. To Escape Is To Die
18. Nightmare
19. Left To Rot
20. Suffering Souls
21. God Is A Lie
22. To Escape Is To Die
23. Turn The Page (from Upcoming Studio Album)

It had been a turbulent couple of years for Hypocrisy. They had gone from the staggering heights of their self-titled release in 1999 to the depths of disappointing mediocrity in 2000 with Into The Abyss. 2001 was probably a good time to take a break and reflect, though it would end up being just a pit stop on Hypocrisy's continuing downward spiral.

10 Years Of Chaos And Confusion is a retrospective of all seven studio albums, democratically including two songs from each. The obvious choices are here: "Roswell 47", "A Coming Race" and "Fractured Millennium." The main point of interest is that the six songs from the first three albums have all been newly recorded in 2001. Songs like "Penetralia" and "Osculum Obscenum" were originally recorded with the five piece lineup and Masse Bromberg on vocals. The newer versions positively smoke compared to the older ones, of course benefiting from Peter Tagtgren's increased production skills and the whole band's improved musicianship. "The Fourth Dimension" and "Apocalypse" are altered more, adding a much heavier keyboard presence that borders on the symphonic. "Apocalypse" holds closest to the original mood, but "The Fourth Dimension"'s busy keyboards totally alter the mood that was present in the original version. I'm not saying that this is bad, but it also is not representative of their past work, which is usually the whole point of a retrospective.

Regardless of my fanboy nitpicking about re-recordings, anyone who is remotely in to extreme music and doesn't have any Hypocrisy music should at least get this. Fans may want to give a listen to the new recordings, but there are no actual new songs.

The bonus disc Rest In Pain contains the first two demos. The '91 three song demo was recorded in a rehearsal space entirely by Peter Tagtgren after his inspiration by a trip to Florida and witnessing the death metal scene there. The sound quality is pretty rough, and the songs are embryonic versions of the ones that would appear on Penetralia. The '92 demo was recorded professionally, this time with future vocalist Masse Bromberg contributing vocals. The same three songs are re-recorded, plus two more. With the exception of "Left To Rot", these songs are the ones that blew by without making much of an impression on Penetralia. Bonus track "Turn the Page" unfortunately kills the mood by showing the odd and ill-advised direction that the next album was heading in. Rest In Pain is a great bonus for the faithful and the historically curious, making this limited box set hard to pass up.

Review by Scott Wilcox

Review date: 03/2003

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Catch 22

Hypocrisy - Catch 22 ©2002 Nuclear Blast
1. Don't Judge Me
2. Destroyed
3. Edge Of Madness
4. A Public Puppet
5. Uncontrolled
6. Turn The Page
7. Hatred
8. Another Dead End (for Another Dead Man)
9. Seeds Of The Chosen One
10. All Turnes Black
11. Nowhere To Run (Japanese Bonus Track)

For Catch 22, frontman Peter Tagtren informed the press that the band was trying to get far away from being Hypocrisy for this release. Moreover, other reports claimed Hypocrisy was going for a sound influenced by Slipknot, which surely caused many a conservative death metal fan to scream out in agony and despair. However, upon listening to Catch 22, it very evident that Hypocrisy still sounds like Hypocrisy and the orange jumpsuits are still in their closets.

If anything else, Catch 22 is a bit more stauntly rhythmic rather than the fluid, speedy style of the past couple of albums. Tagtren's vocals sound like he's run them through a few effects. The production sounds as though Hypocrisy wishes to get involved in Chunky Soup commercials (for being so darned thick and meaty). So it's definitely a very strong sounding release that harnesses the best abilities of the band. However, the biggest problem Catch 22 faces is that in trying to be Hypocrisy by not being Hypocrisy, the band sounds more faceless than ever. With the exception of a couple songs that remind me of the spacious, "haunting-the-catacombs" feel of the self-titled release in 1999, a lot of these songs flutter by without asking for much listener attention. Of course, that has always been a flaw with Hypocrisy to these ears.

At the very least, those fearing Hypocrisy has gone "nu-metal" can rest a bit easier and relax your death grip on your precious values of what true metal is allowed to sound like. Catch 22 is still a decent album that is an okay follow up to the past two studio albums. I rather suspect in the scheme of things it is one of the band's most bland efforts, but that's simply how life goes for some artists.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 02/2002

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Review #2:

Hypocrisy continue to lower their own stock by releasing substandard music, making a stronger argument than anyone else could that they really should have ended it years ago. Perhaps they took that noted mail-order course offered by Quorthon: Pissing On Your Legacy For Fun And Profit.

Much like former legends Bathory, Hypocrisy crank out a quicky, clanky-sounding aggro-thrash album that sounds like it had about ten minutes solid effort behind it. Advance interviews hinted that Tagtgren was influenced by nu-metal, and I would agree. I had to doublecheck the album to make sure they hadn't jumped to Roadrunner. There is definitely a Slipknot feel happening, such as the use of "brutal" midpaced verses and melodic choruses (ala "Destroyed.") This only results in making some of the songs sound like Downthesun, the Slipknot proteges who would have been well served to cut WAY back on the hero worship. It is true: Slipknot is better at being Slipknot than Hypocrisy is.

The majority of Catch 22 blurs by, providing few points of interest in its race to be over and run to the bank with your money. "On The Edge Of Madness" is an enjoyable poppy metal song with a keyboard driven melody, but it sounds like it belongs on Tagtgren's Pain project. If there was a single it would be "Seeds Of The Chosen One", one of those midpaced grooves that made Hypocrisy (the album) such a classic. In a truly shocking development, bonus track "Nowhere To Run" revealed itself to be just as pointless as the remaining eight songs on the album.

I am left confused and disappointed. If Tagtgren wanted to "get away from being Hypocrisy", why not change the name? The same lineup released black metal albums under The Abyss moniker; why not use another name for this? I suggest Slapdash or Effortless off the top of my head. Stay away from this album unless you are attracted to such Plan 9 From Outer Space disasters as Celtic Frost's Cold Lake or Megadeth's Risk.

Review by Scott Wilcox

Review date: 04/2003

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