Hypocrisy - Virus
There is no doubt about the fact that Hypocrisy main-man Peter Tägtgren is a highly productive human being. It is only a year and a half since the release of the last Hypocrisy album The Arrival and in between he has released and toured with his other band Pain, and it wouldn't surprise me if he has found the time to produce some other bands in that period at his studio The Abyss as well. As the Hypocrisy bulldozer marches on, Virus is the tenth studio album during the bands fourteen years of existence and you can sense a band that is looking back more than forward with this contagious release.
The album offer a good mix with the variety in the songs with straight forward hard hitting old-school death metal anthems and some other more catchier tunes. The track Warpath is a perfect example of the harder kind of songs with its pure aggression and furious speed all wrapped up in the Hypocrisy suit. Blooddrenched is another one of those evil outlets of aggression and it is with those tracks the band are at their best, when they combine speed and aggression without losing the sense of melodies and harmonies. But all is not speed and fury as it is as mentioned a balanced and varied album. Let The Knife Do The Talking is a mid-tempo track that could have fitted in on The Arrival. It is heavy and angry and yet with a catchy refrain that sticks in your head and it is backed by a nice guitar line reminiscent of Arch Enemy which gives the song some good depth. With the closing song Living To Die the variation continues as the growls are held back for clean vocals choruses and spoken verses in this slower paced death metal ballad (?) that to me sounds more Pain than Hypocrisy and perhaps more In Flames than Pain.
Since last time, the trio has developed into a quartet and the addition of a second guitarist in Andreas Holma has turned out to be a very good move. The harmonies come out stronger and it also adds a great deal of more depth to the sound of Hypocrisy as can be heard in the more detailed harmonies in tracks like Fearless and A Thousand Lies. Drummer Horgh is the second newcomer in the band and his furious and determined, to say the least, drumming gives Hypocrisy a more aggressive touch.
Although, despite the positive changes in the line-up it feels a little like they are stuck on repeat. Even if there is more detailed work with the guitars, I can't help but feeling like they are recycling riffs. It feels like you have heard it before with Hypocrisy, although the energy level is higher and it is a more intense album than their latest releases. Virus is a more even effort if you compare it with The Arrival as it lacks the lows but it also lacks the real ups. It is a good album but the virus doesn't seem to be strong enough to infect me with anything serious.