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Hypocrisy - "Virus" (CD)

Hypocrisy - "Virus" CD cover image

"Virus" 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

Reviewed by on June 15, 2006

"Virus resurrects the band as an immense power in contemporary metal"

Hypocrisy definitely have had ups and downs in their career, but "Virus" resurrects the band as an immense power in contemporary metal. It is definitely their heaviest album in years (since '99, I would say) and for those of ye who have lost faith - Tagtgren is still an undeniably strong source of brutality and ingenuity. This release features some major lineup changes, with the addition of HM Reidar "Horgh" Horghagen on drums (ex-Immortal) and second guitarist Andreas Holma. Previous drummer Lars Szoke wasn't bad but Horgh is of a different caliber. His speed and technicality help define the punishing sound of the album.

Following a 16-second intro, "Virus" opens with the viciously fast-paced "Warpath." Offering a formidable blackened riff and Horgh's pummeling double-bass blasts, the opener eviscerates the doubts that Peter has lost his writing potential. Tracks like "Scrutinized," "Craving For Another Killing" and "Blooddrenched" follow the same line of intensity and neck-punishing tempo shifts (which some might argue are reminiscent of days of past glory for melodic death metal but I dismiss these allegations as mere bashing).

Another thing that this album offers is variety - "Fearless," "Let the Knife Do The Talking" and "Compulsive Psychosis" are mid-paced and "A Thousand Lies" and "Living To Die" are slow and doomy. The die-hard fans may be taken aback by the clean vocals and slumbering/torpid/lingering(?) guitars, but there are other ways to convey oppression and frustration. After all, it wouldn't be a true Hypocrisy album if they didn't include inward reflections on life amidst all this rage. I love Hypocrisy dearly and I may be biased, but for me "Living To Die" is the perfect closing track for this album.

Being the perfectionist Peter is, it goes without saying that the production is top-notch and the artwork is marked by the recurring aliens theme. Overall, "Virus" is everything you would expect from Hypocrisy of old - intricate song structures and permeating intensity in both fast and slow passages.

Highs: Changes in lineup are discernable in the sound; Peter lets the new members contribute more to the song-writing process, which results in a more varied album

Lows: "Let The Knife Do The Talking" sounds a bit too commercial

Bottom line: A very strong album, one of the best releases of Hypocrisy's career

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)