Hypocrisy - _Into the Abyss_
(Nuclear Blast, 2000)
by: David Rocher (
Talk about insomniac workaholics in metal, and the names Dan Swano and Peter Tagtgren immediately spring to mind. With their eponymous and very atmospheric-toned sixth effort released just over a year ago, Tagtgren's melodious bunch have certainly wasted no time in readying its sequel, _Into the Abyss_. And surprisingly, a first cursory listen to _ItA_ actually proved to be mildly disappointing; Hypocrisy indeed simply seemed to have reached a crucial point where they have apparently become that bit too proficient and professional for their own good. _ItA_ showcases simply brilliant tracks, that fully live up to Hypocrisy's celestial standards; distinctly hateful and aggressive back-to-the-roots material, such as the searing opener "Legions Descend", or the very brutal "Total Eclipse", thrashes alongside majestic mid- and slow-tempo hymns such as "Resurrected", "Fire in the Sky" or the fantastic closer "Deathrow (No Regrets)". Now where is the problem, then? Well, quite bluntly, _ItA_ lacks rawness and rage; whereas the customary Abyss sound fits _ItA_'s slower anthems like a heavy metal gauntlet, on faster, tentatively "old-school" tracks where Hypocrisy lash out in full speed and fury, this same fantastically smooth and perfect sound in fact actually blunts their rage's cutting edge, and makes potentially violent material sound tame and somehow subdued. I am very likely being overtly pointillious and demanding, and complaining about musical perfection is maybe wasted energy, but as Hypocrisy's seventh chapter closes, its sleekness and utter perfection will leave many a listener craving for a lashing of growling rawness and unbound savagery.
(article published 8/12/2000)
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