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Somewhere Out In Space - 94%

OzzyApu, September 1st, 2012

Instead of breaking up, the band came back full-force in a way unheard of for them. This self-titled gem is the band's most introspective, tunefully dissonant album. It's ripe with melancholic, spacey atmosphere and straightforward melody. The reliance on this atmosphere creates a more serene, smoother album than before. It's a comforting melodic death album that still has the Hypocrisy bite and shows Tägtgren rewriting the rules of viciousness.

Bar none, this is some of the band's best writing. The blend of melodic death-level brutality, power metal-dimensional harmonies, and enigmatic atmosphere has this album leagues ahead of its peers. The production is properly balanced, clear, and clean to accompany the airy tenor of the instruments. Hypocrisy isn't a light album, but it doesn't have as crisp of a sharpness like the earlier or later albums that are more bass-heavy. The songwriting leans more toward melodic and clean riffs to enunciate (along with the keys) and build upon the bleak, spacey atmosphere. It's an unmatched feeling of total isolation and the fear of distant unknowns. "Elastic Inverted Visions," "Until The End," "Paled Empty Sphere," and especially "Disconnected Magnetic Corridors" are the backbone of this paranormal voyage.

The other batch of songs provoke less atmosphere and are the harder-hitting tracks. They are the same of what Hypocrisy would relish in: coarse riffs, parched screams, clamorous drumming, and fervent intensity. These songs prove the band's continued excellence in stampeding tempos and pummeling edge. Tägtgren's screams are mutilated and sonically frightening, Hedlund's bass grumbles vigorously, and Szoke's drumming is thunderous and perfectly executed to comply with the compositions. It's a tight performance all around that almost extends over the entire album.

At the peak of this (at the time) legacy-comeback is "Reversed Reflections". This song is a textbook example of transcending the genre. Its steady tempo, galloping main riff, and Tägtgren's towering, ghostly rough-cleans mixes with the virtuous atmosphere to create an exceedingly epic song. The climax is a fierce, harmonic solo pushing the bounds of the band's melodic fervor. It's such a high-point that it can only be matched by a high-point of the opposite spectrum - "Time Warp". As much as this is close to being one of my favorite albums, "Time Warp" had to screw it all up. It's Hypocrisy's attempt at being too cool from the wrong perspective. It just ends up sounding like a bad attempt at nu-metal angst with (substandard) thrash-styled riffing, improperly emulated brutality, and some of the worst shout-styled vocals Tägtgren's ever laid for this band.

Aside from that one glaring bomb, this is the album that defines Hypocrisy for me. It's the sci-fi themed jewel of their career that doesn't get too bloated and maintains a constant supremacy at what it tries to accomplish. Tägtgren makes full use of his ethereal cleans alongside his ghoulish screams, marking his dominance vocally. Hypocrisy is a dreary, lurid experience for listeners that should not be missed.