Hypocrisy is a band that should need no introduction in the world of modern death metal. But, surprisingly to me, many in the American scene still are not aware of this amazing band, which is probably the best band to come from the myth-enshrouded Gothenburg scene in the early 1990s. Since the early days, this Peter Tägtgren-helmed death metal outfit has put out some pretty impressive records. It has been 4 years since the consistent and excellent Virus was released, and I have been anticipating this record more than probably any album this year.
Let’s start by saying that Hypocrisy hasn’t lost any steam. In fact, these 4 years may have even been good for the band as A Taste of Extreme Divinity feels remarkably fresh and heavy. It’s funny, really, that the other bands from this scene haven’t followed more in the footsteps of Hypocrisy. Somehow, amazingly enough, this band has managed to remain fresh and relevant while bands like In Flames and Dark Tranquillity have struggled to maintain their intensity and (in the case of the former) their style. Hypocrisy has remained remarkably consistent, blending good melodic melody structures and mid-paced death metal with more brutal parts, creating a sound that is absolutely Hypocrisy and is ultimately awesome every time.
A Taste of Extreme Divinity pretty much picks up where Virus left off. The production is very similar, but the album itself is more consistent than its predecessor, which I feel lagged towards the end. Instead, A Taste of Extreme Divinity scorches along through all 50 minutes of excellence, hooking the listener instantly and dragging him (or her) along for an extreme ride. Tracks like “Weed out the Weak” and “Taste the Extreme Divine” blow your head off with their intensity and yet somehow still manage to have great guitar melodies. And mid-paced tracks like “No Tomorrow” are never slow and boring, but instead burrow into your brain and make you nod your head emphatically (i.e., headbang) while being taught that death metal guys can still just rock it old school. Peter Tägtgren is probably one of the finest riff writers on this planet, and A Taste of Extreme Divinity is definitely a testament to this legacy.
To be honest, I have two big complaints about this album: first, the production is not very good. I mean, it’s good in the sense that it’s well-produced, but I don’t like the tone. The tone is terribly tinny, which is not something that stood out for me on the older material (specifically Virus). The drums are way over-triggered and the tone is just thin. It really took me by surprise and I think it draws away from the record a bit. I respect Tägtgren as a producer and I was very confused by this.
The second complaint that I had was that this album doesn’t have that “addictive” track for me. While every track on the album is great, and therefore this is a better album than some of the earlier stuff as a whole, this album doesn’t have a “Craving for Another Killing” or “Let the Knife Do the Talking” or “Path to Babylon.” That is, it doesn’t have tracks that keep pulling me back to them and therefore keep pulling me back to the album as a whole. I view this as partially strength and partially weakness, but in the end it sucks a bit because I think the record lacks those high points.
Of course, you can’t really rip into Hypocrisy very much, ’cause frankly they’re the best Swedish death metal band around today (at least to come out of that early 90s death metal scene).Â The tracks on here are solid, heavy as hell and the writing is good as always. The extremity, so-to-speak, is definitely there and readily available for all. This is definitely a record that every fan of death metal should check out.