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Hypocrisy: Virus

Damn, Hypocrisy is sure back with a vengeance on their latest release Virus. Not since 1999's self titled album has Hypocrisy released music this heavy, this in your face brutal, or this technical, while still retaining their trademark melodic death metal sound. Let's face it, Hypocrisy albums are not just a casual listen, they can be a demanding and punishing experience depending on your musical preference, but Peter Tagtgren & Co. always seem to add in just enough accessibility amidst the pummeling and rampaging death metal mania. Virus is no exception, and while it is their heaviest album in years, there are still moments of pure melodic bliss, like on "Fearless", where the right amount of keyboards and atmospherics work well with Tagtgren's mellower vocals for a great effect. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you have the maniacal "Craving for Another Killing", a song that will instantly appeal to fans of Strapping Young Lad thanks to plenty of rapid fire drum work from new mate Horgh (ex-Immortal), crazed lead vocals, and insane guitar work.

Elsewhere, there's plenty of meat to pick off the bones, like the groove-laden metallic stomp of "Let the Knife Do the Talking", the raging & technical death metal of "Warpath", and the keyboard drenched symphonic prog-metal of "Thousand Lies". I like that Tagtgren throws in some slower, riff-based tunes here, like "Incised Before I've Ceased" and "Living to Die", the latter featuring some clean vocals and plenty of keyboards, giving it a doomy, Pink Floyd feel. Otherwise though, expect a plethora of intricate thrashy death metal, high on technical precision, melody, and atmosphere.

Swedish death metal doesn't get much better than this folks. Hypocrisy has had a few ups and downs in their career, but Virus definitely gets two thumbs up, and is their best release in years. If you are able, pick up the limited edition which has a bonus DVD of a full concert taped in 2004, which is a great view. Add another to a long list of excellent metal CD's here in 2005.

Track Listing
1. Intro
2. Warpath
3. Scrutinized
4. Fearless
5. Craving for Another Killing
6. Let the Knife Do the Talking
7. A Thousand Lies
8. Incised Before I've Ceased
9. Blooddrenched
10. Compulsive Psychosis
11. Living to Die

Added: January 23rd 2006
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Hypocrisy Website
Hits: 7756
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Hypocrisy: Virus
Posted by Ken Pierce, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-01-23 18:23:32
My Score:

Swedish Death Metal masters Hypocrisy return once again with the highly infectious release Virus. It is a smart follow up to 2004's The Arrival and there are a few different reasons that this album will strike you harder than a steel toed boot. The band is led by Metal Mastermind Peter Tagtgren who is considered by some to be a Renaissance Man as far as the genre is concerned. Not only has he produced some of the heaviest artists around (Dimmu Borgir, Marduk and Immortal) but also with other projects like his Gothic/Industrial band "Pain". All of these elements combined with his love of the extraterrestrial theme and his skills in Extreme Metal give you an excellent display of power that is not easily recovered from. The lineup of Hypocrisy is Tagtgren (vocals, guitar, keys), Mikael Hedlund (bass), Andreas Holma (guitar), and Horgh (drums). This foursome is brutal on album and especially live, which is the true way to enjoy Hypocrisy's powerful brand of Metal. While it is labeled Death, I am hard pressed to agree with that or the Extreme title as there are subtle moments and softer growls mixed between the crushing impact that is often the case in many of their songs. Given this, I felt the group leans more to the Progressive Death side which is where we find Dark Tranquility falling. This development without an ounce of sacrifice in the delivery guarantees Hypocrisy will be around for a long time. The band has already existed for 10 years but it has only been in the last couple that the US Fan base has been able to witness their brand of onslaught.

Just as its title suggest, the album Virus will infect you and cause repeat listens and with each one the disease hits you harder. Immortal's former drummer Horgh delivering blast beats that defy description while Tagtgren growls like thunder. There is also a better level of understanding to him than some of his peers and I enjoyed the chance to follow along better as a result. "Warpath" is a stellar opening track with a rousing riff that begs for the mosh pit to start very early in the listen. "Fearless" is a little slower for a Death band and that's what I feel makes Hypocrisy raise the bar on normal expectations. "Let The Knife Do the Talking" is also on the mid-tempo side until chorus time. Speedsters will love the intensity of "Blooddrenched" and I liked it so much I had to stop writing to play it a couple of times. The droning and moody "Living To Die" finds a cleaner vocal from Tagtgren as well as his growl closing the album in a sad statement to our very existence. This album is a strong recommendation but readers be warned that there is no cure for this Virus. It has already spread and its too late to stop it, some head banging is a great way to spend the remaining time you have.

Hypocrisy: Virus
Posted by Murat Batmaz, SoT Staff Writer on 2005-11-13 08:48:19
My Score:

Whether Virus is the best album of Hypocrisy will always be debatable, but there's no arguing that it is certainly an excellent disc that easily surpasses their last three albums. Into the Abyss was a good release actually, but it just seemed weak compared to their tremendous back catalog despite killer tracks in the form of "Blinded" and "Fire in the Sky". As for Catch 22, while still courageously defended by Tagtgren himself, it was a disappointing release in more than one way. With The Arrival, Hypocrisy tried to put themselves back on the right track, but the album also contained some mediocre moments. However, Virus sees them really functioning as a solid band with a great lineup, as new drummer Horgh (ex-Immortal) is aboard now together with Andreas Holma on second guitar. Horgh is a killer drummer. His speed-of-light beats are both intricate and dangerously brutal, while Holma on guitars brings the band a much-welcome dual guitar attack approach, and his solos are perfect as well. This album has plenty of solos that older Hypocrisy fans might have been looking for, and if that's the case, they're going to love it.

A short intro segues into "Warpath", a song that is right up there with the best songs Peter Tagtgren and his friends have penned in their 15-year career. It is filled with ultra-heavy guitar rhythms that continuously change and reinvent themselves, and with the addition of Horgh's inhuman drum workout, this song should become a must for any live show in the future. Tagtgren sounds as aggressive and brutal as ever, certainly more pissed off than the last couple of discs, and he showcases a broad range of vocal styles from typical Tagtgren growls to terrifying blackened shrieks and even Opethian low growls. "Blooddrenched" is one of the more concise numbers, but Tagtgren's low voice is pulverizing and the fast, intricate guitar work on it is going to gain the band many a new fan. This Holma guy on guitars is a great addition to the mold. "Scrutinized" also features an infectious lead solo with lots of guitar and bass riffs surrounding it. On "Fearless" we have plenty of synth work, as things slow down for a moment, and melodic guitars take the lead while Tagtgren still sticks to his guns and spews out toxic high-pitched screams. Traces of blackened thrash are heard on "Let the Knife Do the Talking" and the multiple vocals on this track are really awesome. "A Thousand Lies" gives the listener some time to catch their breath; it's an acoustic song with both clean and death vocals and punishing guitar harmonies.

The anthemic intro of "Incised Before I've Ceased" is one of the finest parts of Virus because of its maniacal drumming and Tagtgren's crazed screams. However, what really makes the song is the beautifully arranged classical intermezzo that slices through the whole track. It's great to see Hypocrisy still exploring new territory and managing to effortlessly blend them with their otherwise in-your-face type of aggression. "Compulsive Psychosis", a track littered with very complex instrumentation and longer guitar lines, breaks into the final song "Living to Die", sung entirely in clean vocals and punctuated by a definite Pink Floyd influence thanks to its heavy synth and somewhat psychedelic underpinning. Virus is a great piece of work, hinting at a successful return-to-form feel and blending all the necessary elements of Hypocrisy: their knack for aggressive riffs, melodic signature, and tight instrumentation.

» Reader Comments:

Hypocrisy: Virus
Posted by Hugh Dark on 2007-05-14 15:16:02
My Score:

Ths is one cd that I can come back to many moons later. This one is under appreciated and a classic to the genre. Forget about all the hype that is imposed on Enemy of God because this is the real deal. Just great songwriting and memorable hooks without sounding like a melo-death sell out. Peter is an original.

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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