HYPOCRISY
"Virus"

(Nuclear Blast)

01. Intro
02. Warpath
03. Scrutinized
04. Fearless
05. Craving For Another Killing
06. Let the Knife Do the Talking
07. A Thousand Lies
08. Incised Before I've Ceased
09. Blooddrenched
10. Compulsive Psychosis
11. Living To Die

RATING: 6/10

The product coming off Peter Tägtgren's death metal assembly line may sometimes be a bit, ya know, workmanlike. But it's rarely low-grade stuff. Whether delving into more pop structures, creating martial anthems like "Roswell 47", or revisiting his speedy, thrashed-out death metal roots, HYPOCRISY stick to a few tried and true formulas. Usually, it's still pretty enjoyable, but "Virus" comes off as a little bit stale.

"Warpath" starts things off with a ferocious assault straight from the band's early years, with a touch of black metal riffing and keyboards in the chorus. Tägtgren is in raw voice here, rarely busting out his heavily-processed clean vocals (used to best effect here on anthemic closer "Living To Die"). "Scrutinized" seems to have the most gut-level energy and power on the record, and it does satisfy in a basic way. There seems to be almost a conscious effort to "get heavy again" here, lots of simplistic grinding riffs and grimacing Swede-death atmosphere, and a banishment of the catchier elements that made "Catch 22" and "The Fourth Dimension" so memorable.

The thing is, whether it's a lumbering oaf of a song like "Let the Knife Do the Talking", or the "slow brooding 'Roswell 47' song" (see "Living To Die", "A Thousand Lies"), or even the fast stuff like "Blooddrench" and "Scrutinized", it all just sounds like pale imitations of the band's past glories. I'm not sure if the band has just gone to the well too many times, or what. It's not like "Virus" is bad — I don't think this band could let anything that genuinely bit the big one escape their studio, because their ear for quality control is too good. It's just that this whole album kinda blurs by without anything sticking out as compelling, or even that interesting. Only "Compulsive Psychosis", way down at track ten, sounds remotely engaging, and even a large chunk of it is pretty much on autopilot.

Let's put it this way — when the band's 20-year mark arrives and another best-of is due, I can't imagine too many of these songs making the cut. It happens — KREATOR has "Outcast", SLAYER has "Diabolus In Musica", ANTHRAX has "Stomp 442", MOTÖRHEAD has "Rock and Roll". Everyone gets a little blasé sometimes — even Swedish death metal superstars.

COMMENTS

To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends). To report any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, please send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@)gmail.com with pertinent details.