Welcome back to Throwback Thursday! This is the place where we get to indulge in nostalgia and wax poetic about excellent metal of years past. Inspired by last week's TBT on Bloodbath, Hypocrisy and their 9th studio album The Arrival are a perfect subject for today's column. Titans of the metal scene, Hypocrisy have proven themselves as ever-evolving sonic juggernauts since their inception in the early 90's. For TBT number 48, we visit yet another band that reminds us how the Gothenbrug scene and Sweden as a whole have shaped the world of metal .
HYPOCRISY'S THE ARRIVAL
Release Date: February 2004
Record Label: Nuclear Blast
The Arrival is an album that comes to us from an interesting chronological point in Hypocrisy's career, as of now marking approximately the halfway point of their journey thus far. The album is not a death metal comeback – a return to their earlier 90's-era form that many fans were hoping for and expecting from the group. Rather The Arrival reminds me of early Dimmu Borgir and In Flames, mixed with Hypocrisy's signature death-kissed thrashiness and the iconic melodic style popularized by the Gothenburg scene. Incidentally, The Arrival was recorded after Hypocrisy toured with Dimmu, Children of Bodom and Nevermore – so it is no mystery where the parallels in sound came from.
Often poo-pahed by their early fan base, The Arrival solidified Hypocrisy's vision to evolve and experiment, blending their established death/thrash roots with the kinds of effects and timbres which were, at the time, taking the metal word by storm. While the record does not deliver on the atonal, uglier of earlier efforts that established Hypocrisy as cutting and brutal, The Arrival is a great album that perhaps got a shade lost in the swath of melodic offerings available at the same time (around the year 2004). The early 00's was, without question, a golden-age of metal invention. Globally, bands were working brilliantly and diligently to create some of the best music that the metal scene has ever been graced with. I feel that Hypocrisy captured that tornado of energy and reflected it well in The Arrival, thus making the album an important piece of work as it echos that exciting time in the revolution of music.
The Arrival is strange – a word I would use without hesitation to help describe much of Hypocrisy's discography. Hypocrisy's reoccurring use of elements such as garbled voice effects and unexpected fade ins and outs pop up again in this album, only this time marked with clips of laughter that would make Dave Mustaine proud. Check out the track "Born Dead Buried Alive":
The theme of this album, as if you couldn't tell from the cover, pertains to the other worldly grey creatures we know as aliens. Extraterrestrials have been a inexhaustible subject for the band's releases since their 1996 record Abducted. Themes like the mystery of space and UFO folklore are yet another way that Hypocrisy stamp any music style that they preform as their own. While no song on the album is a direct reference like their fan fave song"Roswell 47", constant illusions are made to the grander perspectives in life. Check out track "Departure":
It is evident throughout Hypocrisy's body of work that atmosphere is important to them – and The Arrival is no different. Each track on The Arrival unfolds with intention and energy captured in the careful production of searing vocals, layered guitar work, and changes in mood delivered by devices such as fretless bass. Check out the official video for the track "Eraser":
Here in an interview from us from back in 2005 with Peter Tägtgren, the driving creative force behind Hypocrisy:
While The Arrival is not my favorite album by Hypocrisy, it's still a fantastic collection of songs and a great album. Hypocrisy are so insanely talented and prolific, that they've set the bar for themselves quite high. In fact, Tägtgren cited that he was hoping to finish enough material for a new Hypocrisy album by the close of this summer which would mark their forthcoming album at their 14th studio effort. For that reason, I could listen to Hypocrisy take on any nuance of metal and make it their own – and I am confidant that the result would be great fucking music. It just so happens that The Arrival has been one of their lesser-examined works, but I feel that is only because there was so much stunning music being created at the time. If you love that smooth melodeth sound and you want to try something a little different, The Arrival is for you.