Hypocrisy - THE ARRIVAL

Peter Tagtren is everywhere. The Swedish merchant of death has fronted Hypocrisy for close to twenty years on top of singing for other projects (Pain, Bloodbath) and producing a casketload of music. He knows death metal inside and out, but ironically, he isn't a purist. He doesn't see anything wrong with altering the parameters of what is perceived as "death metal," and neither do I (on a sidenote, go listen to Bloodbath's Nightmares Made Flesh).

Hypocrisy has long infused their brand of eardrum butchery with melody. At first, the metal community didn't seem to mind, but eventually, there were cries of specious commercialism. 2004's The Arrival is somewhere in between expansive melody and furious, head-down death metal. Remember how cool the Gothenberg scene was in the mid-90's? The Arrival cadges ingredients from that sound without dabbling in sorcery or In Flames-style folk phrasings.

This is kind of a concept album that mucks around with UFO's and alien abduction. Say what you will about Mr. Tagtgren's beliefs, but they give way to unique lyrics. "Born Dead, Buried Alive" starts things off with a familiar thump, attacking the listener like any Swedish death metal should. "Eraser" is a tuneful, mid-tempo song that brings Insomnium to mind. It's catchy, so I won't begrudge the band for heading down the middle of the road as far as tempo is concerned.

"Slave to the Parasites" is another accessible ditty, relatively speaking. "Abyss" features deep, liturgical clean vocals that accent the riffs beautifully. There aren't many fast songs, but again, I can't say that I care. Every track is hummable, especially the harmony-laden "Departure." Faint keyboards here and there fill the album out nicely. The Arrival is in line with the just-released A Taste of Extreme Divinity, but if you ask me, this is the better Hypocrisy opus. They are both catchy and melodic, but The Arrival is instantly gratifying.

I wonder what Charlie Sheen thinks.

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