10 Years Of Chaos and Confusion
In the beginning of the 90s the metal underground was on fire with a new and glorious trend: coming out of the humid swamps of Florida, death metal was taking the world by storm. One talented musician saw it where it happened, and on return to his home country Sweden decided to form a band of his own. His name: Peter Tägtgren, his band: HYPOCRISY. Someday the big trend was over, and while some of the names remained, most celebrations came with more than a hint of nostalgia. Many bands never made it to the venerable age of 10 years, and most of the survivors only dwelled in their past glory. Only a few still have an impact on today's extreme metal scene, and none more than HYPOCRISY.
Their first album, "Penetralia", was released in 1992 amongst myriads of other death metal CDs. Although it got good reviews, most of these can be attributed to the general enthusiasm about this style of music common in those days. A year later "Osculum Obscenum" hit the metal community like a sledgehammer: Probably the most intense and rawest album ever to come out of the Swedish death metal scene, it was also the first Hypocrisy effort that showed their interest in all forms of extreme metal, combining the sonic pureness of old school death metal and the hysterical frenzy of black metal - the then upcoming underground trend that in the end would dominate the whole scene, turning death metal into a thing of the past. It was after "Osculum Obscenum" that HYPOCRISY emerged in the line-up so familiar to all fans. Vocalist Masse Broberg left the band, leaving guitarist Peter Tägtgren in the position to take up vocal duties as well. On 1994's "The Fourth Dimension", Tägtgren together with drummer Lars Szöke and bass player Mikael Hedlund began to develop their magic formula: death metal at heart, but full of variation and open to all things happening in the ever changing extreme music circuit; a core of pure evil, surrounded by ethereal shrouds of psychological monstrosities, demons both mythical and personal, emotions ranging from fear and terror to elevation and power.
In 1996 it became obvious: the classic death metal scene was losing its momentum, old trend setters like ENTOMBED changed their style, while others quit altogether. Then came "Abducted". Back then hailed as possibly the last great album out of the Swedish scene, in fact it established HYPOCRISY as the leading force of what could be called post death metal. Including one of the greatest hits they ever wrote - 'Roswell 47' - this album shows all trademarks of HYPOCRISY's unique sound. Tägtgren displays his new talent for singing, displaying variations running from unearthly growls to his typical high-pitched pipes. Around this time he also became renowned as one of the best producers for extreme metal, owing to the unique and massive guitar sound of "Abducted" and the overall quality of its production. Over the years to come his Abyss Studio turned into the hottest address for aspiring bands, which on one hand broadened his experience in creating sounds, on the other proved to pose the only serious threat to Hypocrisy's ongoing quest for world domination.
1997 rumors started to spread that the "The Final Chapter" actually would be what the name implied. Fed up with all the work going into HYPOCRISY resting on his shoulders, with the financial success of his studio outshining everything he would ever be able to earn with HYPOCRISY albums and tours, Tägtgren had decided to call it a day after this album, which continued the path started with "Abducted" into darker realms, offering loads of atmosphere and a huge spectrum of tempi. I would not write this if Peter would have stuck with his decision. It was the affection of the fans, the growing success of the band and the immense fun he experienced when playing live that made him continue. The live album "Hypocrisy Destroys Wacken", also released on VHS and DVD, is a perfect documentary of what happens if band and fans come together for one of these magic moments in metal history.
With renewed vigor HYPOCRISY attacked the boundaries of extreme music. The two latest albums show how unrestrained and varied their approach is nowadays. 1999's "Hypocrisy" is probably the best production Tägtgren ever put together in his Abyss Studio, at the same time brutal and sophisticated - the perfect envelope for the most varied HYPOCRISY album so far. What once started as a pure death metal act, now appealed to death, black and gothic metal fans alike. A year later "Into The Abyss" was recorded in just a few weeks, an exercise in spontaneity by all three band members, the result a display of raw energy and the prove that although death metal in its original might have come to a standstill, its spirit could still drive music to exciting new dimensions.
Well, that's it: the history so far. HYPOCRISY have proven that if you combine talent and determination, there are no boundaries. Extreme music is all about challenging your audience, and this band has always been true to that goal. Their success has never been a sell-out, but a sign of growing appreciation for what they do. And continue to do, as this tale is far from over. With Peter Tägtgren exploring even stranger regions with his solo project PAIN and the other two members eager to display their own songwriting skills as on "Into The Abyss", the future looks bright. Robert Müller (HAMMER); May 2001
1 - Penetralia (re-recorded)