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Hypocrisy do not need an introduction, for they have been in the Swedish metal scene for quite a while now. Peter Tägtgren, the mastermind behind the band is well-known for being both a producer, as well as a brilliant musician himself. Back in the 90s he drew his inspiration from the Swedish metal scene and while being in America, from the boys of "Malevolent Creation". It seems that the polarity, which Hypocrisy have created within their own fanbase and discography is a quite odd one. Starting from the very anti-religious orientation of their first works and in respect of such discrepancy which their newer, more science-fiction oriented themes represent, Hypocrisy have managed to induce the splitting of their fanbase. In other words: Peter Tägtgren has been a grey alien geek for over 8 years, this being the pinnacle of his... let's call it obsession, but I'll leave that one for other critics.
The direction he has taken is not necessarily bad, it's actually quite refreshing for the most part, as is this album. Now the first thing that jumps in the eye is the strange fuzzy and blurry production. This is becoming a reoccurring aspect in most albums Peter produces. The sound patterns seem to flow into each other, creating a very strange sound pattern, which is better known under the term "Swedish sound" to some. The only thing that differs is the modern and futuristic approach Peter infuses the guitar and keyboard sound with. In his eyes, and I agree for the most part, the trauma and angst the scenario in the concept is supposed to cause is reflected beauteously. Blasting moments followed by very impressive tapping melodies on guitar are underlined with very typical and heavy Swedish death metal riffing. All aspects seem to elevate the listener.
Now, the whole point of this album is to abduct (Peter would kiss me for using this word) the listener into the entire dream-like concept spawned from an infectious, yet appealing and creative mind. So aliens are attacking/taking over, whatever... Peter has lost his mind, but this is nothing new. One can imagine being in the middle of the whole alien thing, but to be serious, the music on the LP actually conveys a bit more than a simple science fiction trauma. The deep emotion emitting from this album is almost mesmerizing. Transcendental perception of whatever can lie beyond and inside the human mind is presented in an almost trivial manner. Be it fast, pounding and discharging songs with a overviewable structure or slow and laggard "ballads", every track is as heavy and without compromise as you would expect it. We even have deep built in chanting to further nail down the whole conception. This puts Hypocrisy in a point where they have reached mystical status amongst the modern metal scene. The existence of this album is the perfect example for how modern science fiction can coexist with amazingly authentic sentiments and of course, heavy metal without compromise. Despite the fact that the main theme for "War Within" shares the same melody as "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star", there is absolutely nothing wrong with this record.
Very,... no, HIGHLY recommended.
While certainly not the death metal comeback we expected, at least this is better than Catch 22. Hypocrisy have certainly travelled some odd terrain in the past few years, and The Arrival is no different. Musically, there is some return to form to some fairly lethal death/thrash, but it's always done in moderation. ("Born Dead, Buried Alive" is a good example.) Otherwise, Hypocrisy tried out a more experimental Gothenburg sound here, with moderate success. Many of the songs are more or less calculated off of basic rock formulas and structures; this certainly does give this album a somewhat commercial slant, along with the oft-melodic lead lines and larger-than-life choruses in songs like "Eraser." For the most part, it works quite well if you're a newbie to the band and are into melodic death metal with an epic feel to it. But, most old fans shook their head in disblief and disappointment... or just flamed the hell out of the album.
The thing that sets this apart from most Hypocrisy albums is the fact that this is definitely an accessible album. Since everything is very calculated and predictable in the music, and the distinct Swedish flavor to the riffs seems to be the order of the day, most people who are into newer In Flames or Dark Tranquillity will dig this album to no end. (Especially the latter, since there are HUGE resemblances in sound here.) It's safe to say that the majority of the songs here could have been singles, because they all have the same powerful choruses and genral "catchiness." This is persistent through the album's course, even on the heavier numbers like "New World." This does work in small doses, but things will blend together about halfway through the album.
On an instrumental level, Hypocrisy are on the safe side here. The guitars revolve around either simple melodic leads, spaced-out barre/power chords, or the occasional hearkening back to semi-brutal tremolo picking. Sadly, the latter is only a teaser and doesn't really do anything special for the songs; these parts seem to only make us wish for more of the old Hypocrisy. Everything in the guitar department is dead simple; some call it powerful, I call it a lack of ideas and laziness. Some ear-candy solos and harmonies pop up every now and then, but never really break the barrier of typical Gothenburg metal. Lars' drums plod along at mid-tempo rock beats, with some occasional thrash beats or double bass battery. But, like the rest of the instrumentation, it shows no ambition or energy. The only thing that even somewhat interesting is the synth work, and even that is limited to background ambience.
As a composer and lyricist, Peter went off the deep end. Catch 22 delved into the sci-fi side of things, but The Arrival is a concept album based entirely on aliens and alien abduction. Crazy shit... I can't say too much about lyrics, because they're not printed; fortunately, most of them can be perfectly understood without having anything to look, thanks to the slightly different vocal style used. Things here are more along the lines of the early Swedish death vocals; more of a gritty, raspy scream than a normal death growl. There are some very subtle clean vocals on "The Abyss" and several other tracks, but are obscured by the screams, thankfully.
If there is one thing I had to name that really boosts The Arrival, it's the production. Abyss never fails in delivering a huge, massive, and thick sound with fabulous sparkling guitar tone, reverbed vocals, and deep, pounding drums. Otherwise, this album is just a half-baked experimentation with what has already been acheived in Gothenburg. Aside from a few keeper tracks for the sake of catchiness, skip this one. After all, Virus would prove to be a truly triumphant return for the band.
Favorite tracks: "Eraser," "Slave to the Parasites," "The Abyss," "Dead Sky Dawning."
For this release Peter changed his vocal style. We have been listening to the same kind of screams for years in Hypocrisy, and we were getting bored, so there is a new kind of vocals, more insane, more despaired. The previous style is still there, but mixed with the new one. The guiter lines have also changed. Peter uses more silences here and there, which makes the music even heavier. He seems to be not concerned anymore in extremely fast hammering, but in using different composition techniques in order to achieve the most intense effect in the listener. They keep using minor and major chords which, as they have already proved us, produces a dramatical effect. They, it must be said, recovered some of their early musical recourses and mixed them with the style they had been working on. I mean that Hypocrisy remembered Penetralia and Obsculum Obscenum albums and mixed their rough brutality with the virtuousness of the following releases, as it may be The Final Chapter of Hypocrisy. After more than 12 years of existence as a band, Hypocrisy achieved what many bands will never achieve: they got their own unique style: a mix of their early works with their new style created a completely new and unique style. I believe that The Arrival is by far Hypocrisy's best album. The highlights: Born Dead Buried Alive, Eraser, New World, War Within.
With the arrival of….uh….The Arrival we are given what is considered a return to Hypocrisy’s old form of true death metal. This was actually the first Hypocrisy album I bought so I don’t claim to be an expert on the band but I can tell you that while this sound is back to a more death metal sound it’s not quite the same sound Hypocrisy used on earlier albums. The most notable difference is that this album has more of a melodic side. But putting that aside I still wouldn’t consider this to be a melodic death album at all it just employs some of the elements at times.
Ok now that we’ve got that little history lesson and current events issue out of the way we can get to what actually matters and that’s the music itself. This is a very solid release by Hypocrisy. There really isn’t a bad song on the entire album but there are some very stand out tracks.
“Born Dead Buried Alive” isn’t really what I would call one of the stand out tracks but it’s close. It’s a very good song but I wish they would have used the faster part in the middle more or at least sped up the song in some way because I find myself only listening the first 2 minutes of the song to get to the good part in the middle. I really don’t think this should have been the opening track.
“Eraser” is the second song and was also the single. Hypocrisy also shot a video for this song which is really cool. You should check it out. The song itself is probably the best on the album in my opinion, but it is also a prime example of melodic death influences that this album has. The opening bass riff grabs you instantly and the chorus has a sing-a-long quality to it. This may turn off some older fans but I have always lived by the rule that ‘catchy is not bad’.
The third song, “Stillborn,” is another one of the better tracks on the album. The opening riff is very cool and gets you hooked immediately. This is another one of the songs where you can hear a huge melodic influence as the chorus and really the entire song is pretty catchy. I would have liked it better if this was the opening track.
“Slave to the Parasites” is a slower song that also has a very catchy chorus. This would have also been a good opening track as it is one of my favorites on the album. Just an overall good song.
My second favorite track, and not that far behind “Eraser”, would definitely have to “New World”. No hints of melodic death on this song. It’s easily the heaviest on the entire album. The double bass use in this song is great, the vocals are much heavier than the rest of the album and the breakdown is top notch. The solo is also pretty good.
This is where the album starts to falter. “Dead Sky Dawning” is on the track out of the last four that really stand out. It’s not that the other songs are bad it’s just that they don’t reach out and grab you as well as the others do. At least that’s the way I see it. This is one of those albums though that has something for all metal fans because Hypocrisy go in a lot of different directions with each song. It’s that diversity that really makes me enjoy this album. There’s simply something for everybody and that tracks that don’t stand out for your are still good songs. Overall this is a very solid release.