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Do you remember when melodic death metal was awesome (this obviously applies to fans of melodic death metal so if you’re saying “no” then why are you reading a review of a newer Hypocrisy album?) back in the mid and late 1990’s? When bands like In Flames were still relevant, Dark Tranquillity hadn’t yet become a formulaic band, when At The Gates were breaking new ground? A time when even second tier bands like Sacrilege (SWE) and Gates Of Ishtar were awesome? Well I do, and that sub-genre got over saturated really fast and the quality suffered tremendously as a result. By the time 2002 or 2003 rolled around, I was sick to death of it aside from my all-time favorites. Between then and now, I have heard few melodic death metal albums that have not only held my interest but blew me away or at least surprised me with quality. A Taste Of Extreme Divinity can now be added to the list and can stand right alongside a slew of killer 90’s melodic death metal albums.
There’s plenty of blazing on this album and it starts right away with the opening track, 'Valley Of The Damned', which sets the tone nicely for what is to follow. It kicked me on my ass from the first riff and left me excited for what the rest of the album had in store. That is exactly what I expect out of an opening song. As with past Hypocrisy albums (at least for me), where the band truly shines is in their mid-paced songs and this record has some fantastic ones. 'No Tomorrow', 'Alive', 'Global Domination' and 'Tamed “Filled With Fear”' are true highlights on this album. They’re catchy, they’re heavy and they serve well to remind one of Hypocrisy classics like 'Roswell 47', 'Fire In The Sky', 'Deathrow (No Regrets)' and to some extent, the fantastic 'Elastic Inverted Visions'. The great thing about that is that these songs don’t just remind you of the glory days—they stand up to them. The blazers like 'Valley Of The Damned' and 'Hang Him High' will remind you of faster, bludgeoning tunes like 'Warpath' or maybe 'Killing Art' and are every bit as good, if not better. That said, there’s plenty to like on this record if you liked Virus and there’s plenty to like on this record if you liked Abducted, The Final Chapter and/or Into The Abyss. Lyrically, this album retains Tagtgren’s favorite themes that we’ve all come to know and love since the great days of Abducted.
As for the production, it’s what we’ve come to expect from Peter Tagtgren. It’s not anything that will really wow you or turn you off of the album so don’t expect to be blown away in that department. It’s a good production job, on par with past releases like Virus, The Arrival, Abducted and Hypocrisy. Like those albums, the production of A Taste Of Extreme Divinity is crisp without compromising heaviness or atmosphere—it’s a signature Tagtgren production job. No complaints there.
For those of you still hoping that Hypocrisy will churn out something like Osculum Obscenum again, don’t bother with this because those days are long gone. For those of you that were hoping for perhaps a blend of Virus and their work in the late 1990’s, this is definitely for you. I can confidently say that this is Hypocrisy’s best record since their Hypocrisy offering. Into The Abyss was a pretty good album but I’m liking this one a lot more already. It rolls over Virus with ease in my opinion, though that was a good and welcome Hypocrisy record. This is the record I’ve been wanting from Hypocrisy for a long time. This is what should have come after Into The Abyss. Not the abomination that was Catch 22 nor the (although decent) we’re-trying-to-regain-our-footing album The Arrival. No, no…definitely this. This is an easy contender for album-of-the-year. Buy or die!
*Originally written by me for www.metallusmaximus.com