Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Hypocrisy - End Of Disclosure

End Of Disclosure
Nuclear Blast Records/Riot! Entertainment

Barring a couple of somewhat experimental releases around the turn of the new millennium, Swedish outfit Hypocrisy has maintained a reputation as one of the leading melodic death metal exports from Sweden for the better part of the last two decades. Following on from their critically acclaimed ‘A Taste Of Extreme Divinity’ release from 2009, and their follow-up live D.V.D. release ‘Hell Over Sofia - 20 Years Of Chaos And Confusion’ in 2011, the legendary outfit (Who comprise of vocalist/guitarist/keyboardist Peter Tägtgren, bassist Mikael Hedlund and Immortal drummer Reidar ‘Horgh’ Horghagen) has returned once again with a new studio release in ‘End Of Disclosure’.
With some eleven studio releases to date under their collective belts (Excluding 2008’s ‘Catch 22 V2.0.08’ of course), it’s pretty clear what fans can expect on the band’s twelfth studio outing ‘End Of Disclosure’. Hypocrisy aren’t the kind of band to experiment too much with their well established take on the melodic death metal sound these days, and when you couple that with Tägtgren’s unique production sound, it’s safe to say that ‘End Of Disclosure’ isn’t the kind of album that’s going to offer the listener too many surprises. No, these days it’s more of a case of whether or not a new Hypocrisy album is strong enough to stand alongside their impressive back catalogue. And to be fair, while there’s virtually nothing new being brought to the table on ‘End Of Disclosure’, it is at worst, a solid Hypocrisy album.
The trio open up the album with the title track ‘End Of Disclosure’, which is fairly indicative of the band’s trademark sound these days with its ever-present keyboards, blanketing guitar sound, Tägtgren’s higher end growling shrieks and mid-paced tempo. Although the song itself is a solid enough track, it’s probably not one of the album’s crowning moments, and gets the album off to a fairly mediocre start.
The fast paced blitz of the follow-up track ‘Tales Of Thy Spineless’ is a far more appealing direction for the band, with the song brimming with energy and intensity. It’s also a good example of where the band can slow things down (During the choruses), with weakening the band’s well established death metal roots. The guest appearance of Jonas Kjellgren (Ex-Scar Symmetry/Centinex/Carnal Forge) on lead guitar certainly doesn’t hurt either.
‘The Eye’ is one of the more interesting cuts on the album, with the band adding a slightly thrashier edge to their melodic death metal sound, while the use of spoken word samples and keyboards around the middle of the song gives it an overall epic feel that’s been a key feature of Hypocrisy albums of late. Not surprisingly, it’s one of the album’s standout tracks.
Despite it’s slow build up, ‘United We Fall’ turns out to be another of the album’s truly crushing tracks with its thrashing riffs and its relentless blast beat drumming (But remaining catchy enough to hook the listener in), while ‘When Death Calls’ continues the carnage, albeit with a slightly slower pace and a touch more groove.
While the earlier half of the album had some mid-paced tracks that seemed to miss the mark a little, the same can’t be said for the same style of tracks stacked towards the tail end of the album. ‘Hell Is Where I Stay’, ‘44 Double Zero’ (Which takes its name from the fictional T.V. show ‘The 4400’, which chronicled the experiences of the alleged 4400 people who have had direct contact with alien life) and ‘Soldier Of Fortune’ are all really strong tracks that boast some memorable choruses, tight knit and calculated riffing and thick grooves – all delivered in Hypocrisy’s now trademark melodic death metal manner. It’s just a shame that the tracks are a little lost towards the tail end of the album rather than taking pride of place at the start of the album.
Finishing up the album is ‘The Return’, which is a haunting and intense slower paced tune that returns to the tempo and feel of the opener. Although a good song, the track (Which was penned on the music side of things by former Hypocrisy drummer Lars Szöke) relies heavy on its keyboard contributions, and doesn’t really seem to deviate much on the choruses. In other words, ‘End Of Disclosure’ starts and ends on a weak note, which is a real shame.
Overall, ‘End Of Disclosure’ is a typical Hypocrisy album, and one that fans will no doubt enjoy. I personally don’t feel that the album has the same consistency as some of their more recent efforts, but it does have some really strong tracks around the middle. In the end, it’s another solid album from the veteran act, and one that shows that while there are some issues with inconsistencies, they still have more strengths than weakness to maintain their place within the melodic death metal scene.

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© Justin Donnelly

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