Peter Tägtgren‘s Hypocrisy have returned! The stalwart extreme metal band’s twelfth studio release, titled End Of Disclosure, has been released through Nuclear Blast. This album brings fiery new songs to listeners and fans across the globe. Similar to many top-tier rock releases, this melodic extreme metal record has a variety of tempos or textures which make it much more engaging than if it simply blasted away at 300 beats per minute.
For the most part, each song contains elements that listeners will be very familiar with: a simple melodic structure, an aggressive, higher-pitched ‘howling wind’ banshee vocal, and rock solid guitar and drum work. Tägtgren seems to grasp that each instrument has a separate voice, and he’s written the songs to showcase their legion: bass, guitar, drums, vocals. Tempos range from more laid-back, to ‘blastbeat’. Bass guitar is more prominent in this recording than many. Tägtgren is careful to enunciate most of his verses, so the lyrics are fairly intelligible. It seems there are at least three or four layers in the guitar, and some delay on selected vocals. End Of Disclosure is full of little nuances and hooks in the melodic guitar department. It’s not virtuosic or shreddy by any stretch, but it’s very listenable and enjoyable because the band brings so much variety in to their songs. It’s not just straight up speed (remember those baneful typewriter drums?) and not all break downs. They’ve put a cogent effort in to quality songwriting.
Many songs feature a wonderful European flair or overtone. For fans of “Swedish death metal”, this is icing on the cake. There are distinct nods to At The Gates (“‘Blinded by fear, we are…” – “The Eye”), Entombed, Immortal, and Dark Funeral at various points during the 44-odd minutes of deadly playthrough. Moods range from somber (during acoustic or clean electric guitar passages) to eerie to ‘I’m going to rip your guts out and skin you alive’.
Let’s play favorites with one song: “The Eye”. If the entire album sounded like the third tune, it would be rated an ‘eleven’. It begins, sounding similar to other songs on the record. Then it unleashes it’s surprise: a very classic ‘early Death, Exodus’ type thrash riff. It’s a stripped-down, menacing lick of pure unbridled fury. What a fantastically heavy, mid-tempo, decapitatingly good tune it becomes. The vocals are perfect in their aggression. Unfortunately, this song also suffers the biggest derailment in momentum: a fairly lengthy sample from a TV or radio program ends up intertwined. Nothing can stay perfect for very long, can it. This is the most ‘different’ song on the album. The rest of them have more similarity to eachother. ‘Spoken’ sample interlude aside, this is a guaranteed neckbreaker.
Criticism: The spoken-word samples can be a bit of a chore to listen through. While it could be a welcome addition of someone else’s perspective to the songs, this sampling has been done many, many times before, by bands far inferior to Hypocrisy. In at least one song, the samples break the mood and momentum the song had for itself. Other then this ‘sampling’, it’s a genre-upholding masterwork.
The record brings Hypocrisy, pillars within the death metal genre, again to listeners, in nine or ten varied tunes. The well-sequenced album boasts a vivid production which allows a full acoustic space for each instrument or layer. The listener can appreciate the music in all of it’s ominous, angry intensity. Songs are slightly longer then rock and roll’s standard three and a half minute fare, but no tunes are excessively long. Each song contains shifts in tempo, instrumentation, or structure, sufficient to create much more interest then if the tunes were simple straight-ahead blasting fare. Idea shift or flow seems natural. The sequencing of the songs is subtly excellent – you can hear how the guitar idea from the second tune gives birth to the third, and so on. Artwork and packaging is top-notch for the genre: what’s not to like about skinny horned demons with fanged skulls and bat wings, cast against a bleak gray sky? While End Of Disclosure does not reinvent the genre, it does cement Hypocrisy’s place within the top echelon of extreme metal.
Track List with Run times:
End Of Disclosure — 4:46
Tales of Thy Spineless — 4:36
The Eye — 5:41
United We Fall — 4:50
44 Double Zero — 4:27
Hell Is Where I Stay — 4:34
Soldier Of Fortune — 4:51
When Death Calls — 3:53
The Return — 6:06