Hypocrisy – Worship – Album Review

Artist: Hypocrisy

Album Title: Worship

Label: Nuclear Blast

Date of Release: 26 November 2021

I have known about Hypocrisy ever since I clapped my ears on their ’10 Years Of Chaos And Confusion’ ‘best of’ release back in 2001. At the time, I was entranced by the slower, more melodic and atmospheric tracks that appeared, like the sublime ‘Death Row (No Regrets)’ or ‘Until The End’. They remain favourites but also acted as a steppingstone into their more caustic, brutal death metal fare that was always arguably a bigger part of the Hypocrisy approach.

Fast forward 20 years and here I am reviewing my first ever Hypocrisy album. You see, despite enjoying much of their output over the years, something held me back from really falling under their spell. I have listened to each record since then, but they never truly ignited my fire. I am a big fan of Peter Tägtgren the person, the producer, and the musician – to have such longevity and high standing in the metal community means that he must be great at what he does – but Hypocrisy, the band, have never achieved what I guess I hoped or expected they would. On the 30th anniversary of their formation, they remain stalwarts of the underground. Yes, they command a loyal following the world over, but they’ve never broken through to be the headline band on a big bill. Maybe that’s the point, maybe the band never wanted that. But it still seems like a lost opportunity that they are not more highly regarded overall.

And now we have ‘Worship’, the Swede’s fourteenth album and you know what? This might be my favourite album they’ve ever recorded. At least for a very long time in any case. I shouldn’t be surprised, but I am. I checked this out, out of a sense of duty more than anything. But it’s really very good indeed. It doesn’t push the Hypocrisy sound too far out of their normal zone of comfort especially, so you will know exactly what to expect. But there’s something about ‘Worship’ that’s pulling me back for repeated listens more often than I thought might be the case.

If I’m being totally honest, my favourite tracks on ‘Worship’ tend to be those that are slower, more melodic, and more atmospheric; there’s something about these compositions that makes them stand out, just like they did two decades ago when I discovered them. The first of these on ‘Worship’ is entitled ‘Chemical Whore’ and, in keeping with the Hypocrisy way, it is a giant monster of a track that features some delightful melodies in and around a stomping slow-mid tempo. And it’s all wrapped up in a dense, dark atmospheric cloak. It’s also nice to hear that the distrust of the establishment remains within the lyrics, as well as the healthy interest in conspiracy theories, the occult and the paranormal. In the case of ‘Chemical Whore’, it’s a song focused upon the giant pharmaceutical industry for example, from a less than positive perspective.

‘We’re The Walking Dead’ is another instantly catchy track, thick with that familiar dry but chunky, resonant guitar tone that Hypocrisy do so well. Quasi-choral synths, at the hands of Tägtgren, bathe the track from head to toe is more of that dark atmosphere, but it’s the melodic work that catches my ear the most. Tägtgren has lost none of his vocal powers either, as he growls menacingly for the most part throughout this track, occasionally letting go with a maniacal scream in places.

I love ‘Children Of The Gray’ as well, from its gentle yet foreboding intro, to the ensuing resonating notes, to the groove-laden chug of the central riffs, and then finally to the melodically-charged chorus, one that grows stronger with each passing listen. When Hypocrisy sounds like this, what’s not to like? I’d have liked a little bit more of Tägtgren’s cleaner tones, but I’m perhaps just being a pedant.

Alongside the slower, more melodic tracks, it’s also fair to say that there is a decent amount of variety on offer here, most of a high quality, not to mention with a fair bit of heaviness and aggression too. ‘Brotherhood Of The Serpent’ is verging on all-out brutal death metal not dissimilar to Morbid Angel in places, thanks to an incessant double-pedal drum barrage from Reidar “Horgh” Horghagen, a gurgling bass from Mikael Hedlund that rocks the foundations, and bruising riffs that churn mercilessly. As is the Hypocrisy way, there’s a hint of accessibility through well-placed subtle melody, but this does not detract at all from the overall heaviness.

Then there’s the more furious-paced ‘Another Day’ that provides more of a short, sharp thrash-infused offering, laced with a powerful central groove. That same furious pace continues at the outset of ‘They Will Arrive’, ensuring that the album ends in robust fashion, rather than limping to a conclusion. It is, in fact, one of the strongest songs, benefitting from some ear-catching lead guitar lines and a rather imperious, almost majestic air.

It is fair to say that ‘Worship’ won’t suddenly propel Hypocrisy to stratospheric heights – if that was to be the case, it would’ve likely happened by now. What ‘Worship’ does do, however, is make me reconsider exactly what I think about the band in a positive manner. If it does that for me, hopefully it’ll have the same effect on others too, thus breathing new life into the veteran extreme metal band. If you’re hoping for a good Hypocrisy album, ‘Worship’ delivers. If you’re looking for a great slice of melodically tinged death metal, ‘Worship’ delivers. If you want to be entertained, ‘Worship’ delivers.

The Score of Much Metal: 90%

Further reviews from 2021:

Cynic – Ascension Codes

TDW – Fountains

Hypocrisy – Worship

W.E.B. – Colosseum

Navian – Cosmos

NorthTale – Eternal Flame

Obscura – A Valediction

Nightland – The Great Nothing

MØL – Diorama

Be’lakor – Coherence

Hollow – Tower

Doedsvangr – Serpents Ov Old

Athemon – Athemon

Eclipse – Wired

Swallow The Sun – Moonflowers

Dream Theater – A View From The Top Of The World

Nestor – Kids In A Ghost Town

Beast In Black – Dark Connection

Thulcandra – A Dying Wish

Omnium Gatherum – Origin

Insomnium – Argent Moon EP

Kryptan – Kryptan EP

Archspire – Bleed The Future

Awake By Design – Unfaded EP

Cradle Of Filth – Existence Is Futile

Seven Spires – Gods Of Debauchery

Sleep Token – This Place Will Become Your Tomb

Necrofier – Prophecies Of Eternal Darkness

Ex Deo – The Thirteen Years Of Nero

Carcass – Torn Arteries

Aeon Zen – Transversal

Enslaved – Caravans To The Outer Worlds

A Dying Planet – When The Skies Are Grey

Leprous – Aphelion

Night Crowned – Hädanfärd

Brainstorm – Wall Of Skulls

At The Gates – The Nightmare Of Being

Rivers Of Nihil – The Work

Fractal Universe – The Impassable Horizon

Darkthrone – Eternal Hails

Thy Catafalque – Vadak

Terra Odium – Ne Plus Ultra

Hiraes – Solitary

Eye Of Purgatory – The Lighthouse

Crowne – Kings In The North

Desaster – Churches Without Saints

Helloween – Helloween

Fear Factory – Aggression Continuum

Wooden Veins – In Finitude

Plaguestorm – Purifying Fire

Drift Into Black – Patterns Of Light

Alluvial – Sarcoma

White Moth Black Butterfly – The Cost Of Dreaming – Album Review

Silver Lake by Esa Holopainen

Bloodbound – Creatures From The Dark Realm

Nahaya – Vital Alchemy

Frost* – Day And Age

Obsolete Theory – Downfall

Vola – Witness

Acolyte – Entropy

Dordeduh – Har

Subterranean Masquerade – Mountain Fever

Seth – La Morsure Du Christ

The Circle – Metamorphosis

Nordjevel – Fenriir

Vreid – Wild North West

Temtris – Ritual Warfare

Astrakhan – A Slow Ride Towards Death

Akiavel – Vae Victis

Gojira – Fortitude

Hideous Divinity – LV-426

Benthos – II

Evile – Hell Unleashed

Ninkharsag – The Dread March Of Solemn Gods

Bodom After Midnight – Paint The Sky With Blood

Morrigu – In Turbulence

Mother Of All – Age Of The Solipsist

Throne – Pestilent Dawn

Sweet Oblivion (Geoff Tate) – Relentless

Exanimis – Marionnettiste

Dvne – Etemen Ænka

Cannibal Corpse – Violence Unimagined

Arion – Vultures Die Alone

Maestitium – Tale Of The Endless

Wode – Burn In Many Mirrors

Everdawn – Cleopatra

Unflesh – Inhumation

Mourning Dawn – Dead End Euphoria

Wheel – Resident Human

Wythersake – Antiquity

Odd Dimension – The Blue Dawn

Metalite – A Virtual World

Cryptosis – Bionic Swarm

Ghosts Of Atlantis – 3.6.2.4

Memoriam – To The End

Aversed – Impermanent

Secret Sphere – Lifeblood

Enforced – Kill Grid

Liquid Tension Experiment – LTE3

Turbulence – Frontal

Iotunn – Access All Worlds

Warrior Path – The Mad King

Stortregn – Impermanence

Mariana’s Rest – Fata Morgana

Orden Ogan – Final Days

Witherfall – Curse Of Autumn

Plague Weaver – Ascendant Blasphemy

Ephemerald – Between The Glimpses Of Hope

Paranorm – Empyrean

Einherjer – North Star

Epica – Omega

Humanity’s Last Breath – Välde

Simulacrum – Genesis

Forhist – Forhist

Evergrey – Escape Of The Phoenix

Empyrium – Über den Sternen

Moonspell – Hermitage

Infernalizer – The Ugly Truth

Temperance – Melodies Of Green And Blue EP

Malice Divine – Malice Divine

Revulsion – Revulsion

Demon King – The Final Tyranny EP

Dragony – Viribus Unitis

Soen – Imperial

Angelus Apatrida – Angelus Apatrida

Oceana – The Pattern

Therion – Leviathan

Tribulation – Where The Gloom Becomes Sound

Asphyx – Necroceros

W.E.T. – Retransmission

Labyrinth – Welcome To The Absurd Circus

TDW – The Days The Clock Stopped

Need – Norchestrion: A Song For The End

You can also check out my other reviews from previous years right here:

2020 reviews

2019 reviews
2018 reviews
2017 reviews
2016 reviews
2015 reviews

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