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Maintaining the standard is a sure way to appease and to displease. Hypocrisy's coarse, professional melodic death brand benefited from experimentation and evocative atmosphere during the mid / late '90s. Into The Abyss is here to end that streak. It opts for potent-yet-unimposing songs that stick to Hypocrisy's standard of well-played, catchy, and sonically-produced melodeath.
Peter's growls are mostly gone now. His spiteful, acidic screams are the common style. The bite of these screams are matched by the digitized production job. Everything's super crisp, particularly with that recognizable Abyss Studio guitar tone blaring riffs designed to crush or emit the band's distinctive, ambitious leads. Songs like "Fire In The Sky," "Unfold The Sorrow," and the closer are the ones that could fit the most on the brooding self-titled album preceding this. The use of measured, Asphyx-like doom makes the aforementioned songs melancholic and a step above the rest of the album's gunning pace. Until now, Hypocrisy's melodic death albums have been quite varied between the riff frenzied tracks and the sorrowful ones. Into The Abyss continues this, but it tends to lose focus on what it wants to be when it flows from hard-hitters to Tägtgren's wistful songs.
Despite this issue of concentration and flow, what Hypocrisy doesn't fail to nail are good songs. Either type they go for, Hypocrisy doesn't forget to entertain. These melodic death stampedes like "Blinded" and "Digital Prophecy" take the lost, arcane Gothenburg passion and resurrect it. Others like "Unleash The Beast" retain cryptic tones with its grimy, catchy riffing. All of them are coated with Hedlund's solid, blubbery bass lines. That thickness is buttery, and the loudness it furnished further thanks to the clanking pounds and blasts of the drums.
Hypocrisy pursued an identity that's not easily replicated, and Into The Abyss does little to uphold that. It meets the standard by marking its territory with competent songs despite not exactly going anywhere with them. Ultimately, there are better Hypocrisy albums to hear the band's spacey soundscapes and disciplined intensity.
Again, I would like to thank Metal Archives and the good people that review albums here. After reading quite a bit about Hypocrisy (and getting the incredible Bloodbath album), I picked up two discs that were recommended on here, OBSCULUM OBSCENUM and INTO THE ABYSS. While I enjoyed OBSCENUM for its undeniable old-school attitude, INTO THE ABYSS is a far more memorable album.
RIght from the get-go, Hypocrisy puts you in a stranglehold of brutality with hints of melody. Not that there's much melody in "Legions Descend," but you don't need it to headbang. Definitely a highlight, nothing like putting something relentless up front on a disc. The chorus for "Blinded" stands out, but that's about it. "Resurrected" is goddamn awesome, I semi-heard some sweet lyrics about being the devil and controlling people's minds. Yesssssssssss. This is the first one with a real hint of a melodic, dare I say "clean" sound, but it is fused so well with the EVIL that any serious metalhead shall rejoice. I don't really want to do a track by track listing, but I will point out the highlights. "Fire in the Sky" has a great chorus with cleaner vocals meshing with a harsh, rasping tone to burrow this track into the brain. "Sodomized" has a great breakdown early on in that makes me think SWEDEN. All in all there really are no exceptionally weak tracks, just some that aren't completely awesome.
The drums, while not technical or relentless, do their job, but some more double bass would have been preferred. Still, faster songs are done very well. The guitars are not exactly busting out any wizardry or originality, but again work very well. Their tone is very warm, low, and heavy - and most certainly the riffs will stick with you. I think that the vocals are the highlight though - Tatagren can sing like a regular human being (though thankfully these clean vox are distorted, or else it may sound a little nu), or bust out screeching and cookie monster death like it was his job (which it is).
So buy this - you can certainly find it cheap on Ebay. This is probably the most perfect balance of melody and viciousness I've heard in metal, and I'm sure it will grow on you too.
This is one good album! The almost perfect mix between the band’s first two studio albums (“Penetralia” and “Osculum Obscenum”) and the more melodic approach they took with “The Final Chapter” and their self-titled “comeback” album. This is mostly raw, fast, and mean Death Metal, but with a couple of melodic, epic songs in between.
The production is very competent and kicks some serious ass, as you can expect when Mr. Tägtgren himself pushes the buttons. The only downside is that there happens to be too much echo on the vocals, which can get annoying at times, but it’s really only a problem when you deliberately force yourself to pay minute attention to this little detail. And that’s almost impossible, because the songs on this album slay!
The first song on here, “Legions descend”, is a good indication where this record’s headed. Fast, punishing Death Metal with occasional blast beats and badass vocals.
“Blinded” is a little slower, but still pretty fast, and has arguably the best chorus on the entire album. Almost every time I hear this, it sends shivers down my spine!
“Resurrected” is the first of the epic tunes, and there’s really nothing wrong with it. Great guitar melodies with a certain Gothenburg twist. Now, I know it has become quite fashionable these days to write lengthy tirades about how sucky Gothenburg Death Metal is and stuff. I really can’t relate to that point of view. Just because certain bands have chosen to go all Metallica and sell out (newer In Flames really do blow!) doesn’t mean the whole genre should be damned to hell. When it’s done properly, i.e. with the right amount of heaviness and an absence of mallcore influences and obtrusive keyboards, Gothenburg Death Metal is really a good thing, because the basic idea behind the concept is brilliant: you take one third raw and fast Death Metal, one third catchy, melancholic, yet never cheesy melodies, and one third of ye goode olde Maiden guitar harmonies. Oh, and by the way: anyone who claims that melodies are commercial per se can’t really be taken seriously. It’s time for some of you geeks – you know who you are – to stop showing off with how extremely old school and anti-commercial you are. Get a life!! And I really shouldn’t have to mention explicitly that anyone who doesn’t like Maiden or trademark Maiden twin guitar leads is a very, VERY dubious metalhead!
Anyway, now that I’ve got this off my chest I can safely say that “Unleash the Beast” is the weakest spot of the album, which speaks books for how good this record is, because there’s really nothing wrong with that particular song. It’s just that it doesn’t stand out in any way and seems a bit overly simplistic to me, especially with the slightly repetitive chorus. Has a certain Thrash Metal flavor to it.
“Digital Prophecy” is more old-schoolish Death Metal. Well done.
“Fire in the Sky” is another epic track, and though it’s a really good one, I have never quite understood why people seem to like that particular song so much and why it has become one of the band’s concert staples. It’s a good song, but I think “Resurrected” is by all means the better of the two!
“Total Eclipse” sounds much like “Digital Prophecy”. Very solid, no-questions-asked Death Metal.
“Unfold the Sorrow” is very interesting and one of my favorite tracks on here. Mid-paced, with excellent lead guitar passages (oops, here we go again…) that somehow always remind me of Scandinavian folk music. I’ve heard some people say that this song is in a way reminiscent of Depeche Mode. Hmm, I don’t really know much about that particular band, but if this is what it sounds like when Hypocrisy incorporate 80s pop music into their sound, I have no problem with it.
Track 9, “Sodomized”, is another vicious and fast song, only this time around it sounds very much like Thrash Metal. And it comes in the perfect spot before the last song on the album, which is another epic one.
“Deathrow (No Regrets)” is a closing track to feast upon. Slow, brooding, melancholic, yet at the same time very angry, rhythmic, and heavy, and with great vocals by Mr. Tägtgren. This song is guaranteed to make wannabe melodic Black Metal bands go green with envy.
In conclusion: Anyone who thinks the later Hypocrisy are too accessible and the earlier Hypocrisy were too bland should get this album, as it is the perfect synthesis between the old and the new. Killer album!
Choicest cuts: “Legions Descend”, “Blinded”, “Unfold the Sorrow”, “Deathrow (No Regrets)”
This is not a back to the roots like some people were announcing it would be. But who cares?, it's a great fucking album!!
After the self-titled album, which was very much experimental and atmospheric. People should be asking how this one would sound. And they impress once again. But this time they don't impress with the experimental stuff, but with an album much more raw but still sounding modern.
The opening track "Legions Descend" is a blow into your face, there's no intro, no keyboards, just the usual Hypocrisy style, straight to the point. This track will surely make the the old fans smile. But the album is not just about it, songs like "Ressurected" and "Fire in the Sky" shows the new Hypocrisy, with all the experimentalism, and atmospheric stuff. And they are great when they do songs like that.
I would describe this album like a pefect mix between the old Hypocrisy and the new. There's fast and heavy songs with Peter screaming insane like always, but there's still songs in the new style with the clean vocals and all the variations and experimentalism common nowadays in their music, and this is very good cause it makes a perfect balance and the album never gets old. You'll want to hear it again and again.
This album is a great surprise for the ones who was waiting something "lighter". And it must make both the new fans and the old fans happy.
The year was 1999, and after a false split, Hypocrisy released one of the most experimental, varied and well done albums of their lenghty career, "Hypocrisy". When time came to start working on the successor of this immesne album, the band, true to their "you never know what to expect from us" style, decided to went into the opposite direction, and when the new record, "Into The Abyss", was released in 2000, many were left shocked and even disappointed by its primitive nature. Fans were expecting the band to go further down the path of "The Final Chapter" and "Hypocrisy", while the new record was forged by a back to the roots feeling, with little or no room for weird guitar effects, keyboards and vocal experiments which had become trademark Hypocrisy gimmicks over the years since "The Fourth Dimension" in 1994. Instead, Peter and his faithful mates stripped the whole sound down back to its good old Death Metal core, revealing a more dynamic and aggressive side of the band that many seemed to have quite forgotten.
Written, recorded and produced in just 4 weeks of Metal frenzy, "Into The Abyss" basically brings the forumla of "Osculum Obscenum" back into the creative spotlight and updates it with years of experience in terms of musical partnership and production skills. It aalso features, much like his predecessor, Mikael Hedlund and Lars Szöke contributing a lot more to the sogwriting than in the past, adding a new dimenson of variety to the band's sound. The bludgeoning album opener, "Legions Descend", is theperfect mood setter for the album: a crushing Death Metal assault performed by three extremely talented and experienced musicians, made even more intense by the renowned Abyss Studio production and featuring tricks such as very subtle keyboards paired to frantic tremolo riffs, proving that Hypocrisy didn't forget all the barriers they broke with their own activity. The following song, "Blinded", continues the thought in an even more furious and uncomprosing manner, with the melody being carried by simple yet effective gyuitar harmonies over a relentless assault of thrashy beats and Peter's inhuman screams. So does "Digital Prophecy", carried forth by incredibly fast guitar and bass tappings and pull-offs, and "Sodomized", a blistering feast of pounding drums and razor-sharp tremolo pickings. Even better results are achieved through "Total Eclipse" (written by Lars and Mikael), which combines the classic fast pattern to some really unusual chord progressions and harmoniesm sounding spontaneus and experimental at the same time. Songs like these describe the nature of "Into The Abyss" best: even by going back to their original sound, Hypocrisy can still show improvements.
However, "Into The Abyss" isn't as monotonous and predicable as most disappointed fans cried out. Although the fast and furious Death Metal side dominates, Hypocrisy didn't forget how to spice things up with their renowned variety. Enter "Resurrected", a slow menacing sledgehammer of bizarrely filtered clean vocals, distant keyboards and viciously catchy riffs, almost reminding of "The Fourth Dimension" in their nature. Then we have "Unleash the Beast", a classic pit mover in the vein of "Buried", featuring some clean vocals paired to growls and screams in the chorus.
"Fire in the Sky" is arguably the most popular track off this album, a classic Hypocrisy mid-tempo descending from "Roswell '47" and "Fractured Millennium", the only track on this album to feature alien related lyrics and heavily predominant keyboards, especially in the very cool orchestral middle section. "Unfold the Sorrow" is more speedy and sports a collection of great riffs made more organic by the interaction of guitars, bass and quiet keyboards. The closing track, "Deathrow (No Regrets)", is the only real slow song on the album, with its sorrowful keyboard passages and the only "pure" clean vocal moment of "Into The Abyss" in its chorus.
All in all what we have here is an extremely good album whose greatest misfortune was to have to withstand the overwhelming status of the likes of "Abducted" and "Hypocrisy". It's not as groundbreaking or experimental, bur very far from bad or forgettable. Recommended for those who think Hypocrisy have strayed too far with their post-"The Fourth Dimension" releases.