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A Tight Transition - 91%

OzzyApu, July 18th, 2009

The paranormal atmosphere, psychotic personality, and melodic approach all work wonders as Hypocrisy transition themselves into melodic death metal. They luckily didn’t clump themselves up with the typical Gothenburg bands, but the hostility can definitely be seen as toned down. Regardless, take a look at the cover art – can you feel the twisted disposition? An unfortunate dumbass that got caught by aliens cause he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Now look at him, having his brains juiced and his mind read, with the galaxy too far to hear his cries. Well, let that be an indicator to the sweet disarray found within.

The biggest change off the bat comes from just the overall sound. Any fan of the first few albums could have easily been thrown off because there wasn’t a huge onslaught of instruments to get hit with. This is much quieter compared to Penetralia, since the playing focuses more on a driving melody backed by more strict drumming and a very grumpy bass. Jumping right in, the first few tracks sound artificial (but not in a bad way), like they’re surging through electrical currents. Immediately I noticed Hedlund’s massive bass lines, much like on The Fourth Dimension where he lurks in the back trying to increase the menacing tone.

A fortunate bonus is that the album is pretty varied; Penetralia in itself was a kickass debut, but nearly every song was a slab of chaotic, fast-paced death metal. “The Gathering” sets the incredibly eerie mood, “Arrival Of The Demons (Part II)” feels like your being sucked up by a tractor beam, “Buried” just sounds like a catchy concert song, and there are plenty others to fill the gaps. The replayability factor jumps through the roof, considering how many different songs are on here.

Tagtgren has many effects at this disposal and employs paranormal shrieks, raspy growls, and even woeful clean vocals skillfully. He balanced everything perfectly between the instruments, but the vocals really are the key player in the more mystical tracks like “Drained” and “Slippin’ Away.” However, he also doesn’t reduce the riffs, either, with “Carved Up,” “Point Of No Return,” and “Killing Art” being prime examples. Keyboards are used on almost every track, but most of the time they just add to the epic tenor in the back. Otherwise, the last three tracks are the only ones that exploit them. Lars does a fine job with the slower tracks, but he really shines on the more powerful ones as he assaults with beefy double bass and encircling cymbals.

I must admit that Tagtgren always had a way with solos, but their shining moments aren’t really here. No, you’d be better off with the later albums, since this one focuses mainly on the extraterrestrial themes and ominous tone. Abducted is still a great mix of melodic death metal and unorthodox ideas that doesn’t boil down to sappy melodies or a dull style.