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Darkness is my Art! - 90%

SoulCancer, November 25th, 2009

A year after the release of Penetralia, I saw another album with an equally evil album cover, depicting a demonic mutant Siamese figure hung on a cross, with an demonic, tortured look on both of his faces. This, of course, is the second Hypocrisy album.

When I placed the record on my stereo, nothing could really prepare me for what I was about to bear witness to: something darker and far more sinister came from my speakers: an ambient, evil-sounding introduction with choral vocals and a very dark organ intro… and then the metal kicked in and hit me like a ton of bricks.

There are two words to describe this: “heavy” and “dark”. A well-done riff leads into Masse screaming “Conquest is my ART!” There is a definite heavier and more brutal vibe going on here, with some interesting high / low vocal layering, adding to the overall progression of Osculum Obscenum from their previous outing.

Things continue in this manner, mixing up odd, uncomforting sounds along with pure death metal, occasionally adding what would seem to be foreign elements that should really not work along with the Swedish brutality here. Instead, these elements add a more bizarre and surprisingly functional change of scenery before you’re kicked in the head and left to wonder “WHY?!” It’s that good.

A couple of things that you’ll notice, especially after repeated listening, are that Masse Borberg’s vocals have evolved. He now has that low end death vocals down to perfection, but has also started to exhibit a new style, and one that wasn’t heard too often in the early years – that being the flawless mixing of high pitch vomit-like vocals into the mix with his standard vocals. This is truly stunning to hear in practice, especially on this album.

Peter’s leads and riffs have evolved as well, giving an overall feeling to the songs, as opposed to sometimes using them to fill empty song space. While Penetralia’s leads are definitely not in the weak or generic department, there is an undeniable marked improvement on Osculum Obscenum, where context of the song and feeling play into the leads on this outing.

I really can’t leave this review alone without mentioning their cover of Black Metal – the original classic done by Venom. If you can imagine a death metal band getting this song right, your imagination would lead you to this version of the song. It starts with a drill which, one would imagine, drilling into an unknown part of a human, complete with screaming. And then that song kicks in… if Venom were a tighter band, with brutal vocals and a bit faster, this would be what it would sound like. Can the cover replace the original? Not a chance. Is it a good cover? By all means!

Things also take a turn for the different during Exclamation of a Necrofag, which nearly has a death metal / punk crossover style going for it. And as odd as this might sound, it’s worth its weight in the power of its assault on the senses.

The rest of the album is laid out following the same pattern of the non-experimental songs, with Inferior Devoties and Infant Sacrifices keeping the album going with great leads, good song structures, and levels of brutality that would make some bands take notes. The additional atmospheric keyboards, choirs, extra effects, hints of doom and leads keep things interesting.

Attachment to the Ancestors tends to have Peter all over it again, but this time, the whole band has contributed to the overall song. The first minute and fifteen seconds seem to be akin to a funeral dirge, with whispers instead of vocals adding to a creepy vibe that is an introduction to what you are about to witness. After that 1:15 mark, we go into something a tad bit different for Hypocrisy: a slow, doom-like slab, almost like a slow beating at the hands of the masters. They have mastered this art, as evidenced here. The song doesn’t pick up until the 3 minute, 50 second mark, and it doesn’t go into your usual blasting, blistering break-neck speed death metal, but settles into a mid-paced bludgeoning, before slowing down again until the end.

Which leads us to the end song, Althotas, and this song sums up perfectly what your ears have heard in the past thirty-seven minutes and thirty-two seconds. The song dies out in an amazing way that has to be heard for yourself, but I can tell you that it leaves the song to sound like it dies a slow, meaningless death.


I recommend this one whole-heartedly, and if you are into old-school death metal and looking for something a bit unconventional, wrap your head around this aural assault and enjoy the ride!