Hypocrisy – Worship
Released: November 26, 2021
Peter Tägtgren // Lead Guitar & Vocals
Mikael Hedlund // Bass Guitar
Reidar “Horgh” Horghagen // Drums
It has been a while between releases for Hypocrisy, Swedish death metal veterans of the scene who have gone 8 years between albums 12 and 13. Time has not blunt their sword though, and they remain committed to razor sharp riffs and exploring both ancient and modern conspiracies as well as the plagues that cause society’s illness. The album is brutal with thoughtful and paranoid lyrics, separating it from the usual death metal themes. Worship isn’t an anti-religious statement, it speaks to the misguided belief in people to do right by each other. It isn’t specifically about the Coronavirus pandemic, though government control and isolation are favourite themes of Peter Tägtgren, but rather about mass manipulation. It’s classic Hypocrisy all the way through, and another great case in the ‘death metal is art’ debate.
One of the things that stands out about Worship is the brutal use of death metal riffs to add to the claustrophobic and paranoid lyrics. There is a wide range of variation too. ‘Worship’ is a classic 90s sounding opener that borders on thrash, as Tägtgren barks about the existence of exterrestrial masters. Tracks like ‘Chemical Whore’, which explores the pharmaceutical industry’s role in addiction, are deliberately mid-paced tracks designed to elicit a primal response from listeners. The guitar playing is outstanding with some excellent melodic leads complimenting the chord progression. ‘Greedy Bastards’ is another track that keeps it at the perfect headbanging tempo, and is actually quite catchy too. The target here is the government and their abuse of their population who “live in constant fear”. It’s brutal with some great vocal work that will see the audience screaming along with the chorus.
Whilst this is all very much classic Hypocrisy, there is some progression and lots of different ways they can take a song. ‘Dead World’ goes after the illuminati and black ops governments, with blast beats and serious aggression. Written by Tägtgren’s son, Sebastian, it is a brutal take down that crosses into other subgenres, such as the mosh happy bridge, and the black metal style kicks in the latter half. ‘Bug in the Net’ on the other hand is a dark song about oppression that is totally bleak and sombre. ‘We’re the Walking Dead’ has a gorgeous, cinematic intro that leads into a thunderous, zombie stomp of impending doom. I mean fuck, it’ll wake the undead if you play it loud enough. It’s epic and again has a hook you can scream to the sky. Seriously, this is savage in a way that will force you into a bunker if you’re not careful. Steel yourself for the onslaught by downing a bourbon or two and prepare to face the apocalypse.
That apocalypse comes with the epic ‘Children of the Gray’, a song with so much menace that I spent the next hour with a grimace on my face. You know the one – the eyebrows down, upper lip stiffened, eyes narrowed. Taking breaks with some clean riffing, before resuming hostilities. It’s a desolate song about losing yourself to the next generation. It’s followed by the fast tempo ‘Another Day’ and ‘They Will Arrive’, are both great thrashers that (sort of) cleanse the aural palette with some flat out ferocious riffing after the ‘… Walking Dead’/’Children…’ combo. Reidar “Horgh” Horghagen’s drumming is particularly potent here. ‘Gods of the Underground’ keeps the tempo up and is a riotous track to end on, with a ton of groove and brutality. If you’ve paid attention to the lyrics so far, you already know how the “Gods” are and how Hypocrisy feels about them. Some of the themes might be a turn off I imagine, but it’s so damn heavy and well crafted that it’s easy to ignore the implications of the lyrics and focus on the music. There is nothing overtly problematic per se, but conspiracy theories might not be everyone’s preferred topic.
Worship is another bold statement from Hypocrisy. If you don’t like death metal, it’s not going to change your mind but it is a great example of what the genre can do when it is played to a high level without betraying death metal ideals. It’s ferocious but also layers the songs with melody that conveys their substantial musical ability.
Hypocrisy – Worship tracklisting:
2. Chemical Whore
3. Greedy Bastards
4. Dead World
5. We’re The Walking Dead
6. Brotherhood Of The Serpent
7. Children Of The Gray
8. Another Day
9. They Will Arrive
10. Bug In The Net
11. Gods Of The Underground