Like the previous Hail of Bullets, Pestilence and Seance albums, the new Hypocrisy is an attempt to retain old-school death metal cred while putting out an “updated” and “contemporary” style. If you cut through all the marketing and bloviation by inexperienced fans, you’ll see this for what it is: Behemoth-style metalcore.
A Taste of Extreme Divinity, like most things that rank appearance over content, uses a formula which is designed to wow you with its slick style so that you fail to notice it’s a collection of random riffs that sound good if you’re not paying attention to the rest of the song. Fast melodic riff, then a doubletime stomp, then a breakdown with a Gothenburg riff, than nu-hardcore style rant and blast; repeat in random order.
Add rattletrap triggered drumming that overplays its technique every time, and wrap the whole thing in semi-synthesized “digital whisper” vocals. If you look at how this music is composed, you’ll see that it is “embellished” verse/chorus constructions where the band designs two riffs of radically different types to serve as verse and chorus, then adds in slight rhythmic variations and purely random diversions. This style of composition is the basis of rock and punk, but not death metal. In fact, it’s the opposite of death metal, which tries to make a series of riffs express an expanding similarity even though they appear radically disparate.
The oldest con in the world is mixing some even older stuff into the old, repackaging it and calling it new. With this album, Hypocrisy are trying stuff that was old even in the days of extreme death metal, but people figured the audience was too savvy for tricks that didn’t even work with the hardcore kids. But now, few remember that old spirit, and those that do get shouted down by a new audience that’s delighted with anything new and easily digestible.
This CD is easily digestible. It is easily listened to. Nothing requires more commitment than putting your brain on hold, and paying attention to only one riff at a time. That way, each riff sounds kind of interesting. It’s only when you try to put them together into songs you realize this CD is like computer-generated text: it makes sense grammatically, but says nothing.
They finally found a way to assimilate metal into rock music. Get rid of the structure, dress up the production and really hammer out the violent riffs that just scream “metal!” even if they’re more closely related to Destruction and Exodus than death metal. Then convince everyone this carnival music is extreme because it’s random, fast and loud.
But we the discerning listeners — who value our time, and know that we get only one life so we take our music like every other aspect of our lives quite seriously — find ourselves nodding off. This is like Britney Spears on meth, repeating the same few lines over and over again until we all rush to escape the room from sheer existential boredom.
In other words, it’s metalcore.