After initially listening to the first couple seconds of IMMORTAL‘s comeback album, Northern Chaos Gods, you realize that you owe the band a huge apology for doubting them. A raging storm of ice and snow blast forth in a way that only Bergen, Norway’s finest can produce.
Despite the departure of original vocalist and bassist/guitarist, Abbath, and him allegedly taking most of what was supposed to be the band’s next studio album for his solo album, IMMORTAL is intact and true to their legacy. Demonaz takes on vocal duties in masterful fashion and, most importantly, returns to his rightful place recording guitars for the band. Peter Tägtgren (HYPOCRISY, PAIN) pulls double duty as producer and session bassist.
While it is accurate to say that IMMORTAL finds much inspiration in their colder, faster sound from around the mid-90’s, Northern Chaos Gods is not a total throwback or a regression. The mastery and epic sound that the band honed so well in the 2000’s is still intact as evidenced by songs like “Gates to Blashyrkh” and “Mighty Ravendark.” The one characteristic that is not as strong as the hooks that were ever so present in their last couple of albums. However, Northern Chaos Gods is still a satisfying and enjoyable album.
With Northern Chaos Gods, IMMORTAL continue to build on their legacy and prove that break ups, line up changes, lawsuits, and severe injuries cannot stop one of the greatest bands on the planet. (Nuclear Blast Records)
Without a doubt Swedish death metal legends HYPOCRISY have written many excellent songs through out their career. However, one song stands alone as their absolute best. No, it’s not something from early days with Masse Broberg or the doomy period but from their more melodic era.
On their self-titled sixth album, released in 1999, HYPOCRISY dig from within with “Elastic Inverted Visions.” The song is simply epic in its feel and mainman Peter Tatgren puts out a great vocal performance. The melodic guitars and the balls out guitar solo in the middle are so damn good. Check out the song and let us know if you agree.
Despite producing an endless amount of albums, going on worldwide tours with HYPOCRISY and various other bands, workaholic Peter Tägtgren still finds time for his pet project, PAIN. As another creative outlet for the HYPOCRISY mastermind, PAIN serves as a fun project with a more mainstream output.
The first few seconds of Cynic Paradise starts off with a keyboard passage eerily similar to the beginning of the self-titled HYPOCRISY album, then continues in typical PAIN fashion with an industrial/metal feel. Aside from the ridiculous song title and lyrics, “Monkey Business” has an aggressive riff attack, and is very HYPOCRISY influenced, but still has enough to distinguish the difference between the two bands. The metal/electronic fusion yields varied results, and tracks like “Follow Me” and “No One Knows” are clunkers which are geared for the mainstream crowd. Cynic Paradise has a few fun party songs, like “Have A Drink on Me” and “Life Fast/Die Young,” and are light hearted songs with good hooks.
“Don’t Care” could be mistaken as a track from HYPOCRISY’s doomed Catch-22 album, but Cynic Paradise ends on a strong note. “Feed Us” is a fitting closer with a nicely added piano piece, and also features NIGHTWISH frontwoman Anette Olzon. Olzon’s voice adds another dimension to balance the harsh downtuned guitars and Tägtgren’s vocals, and thus completes another chapter in the PAIN series.
PAIN can be viewed as an extension of HYPOCRISY without the blast beats and testosterone. Cynic Paradise is still filled with keyboards and the classic “Abyss” guitar tone, while the lyrics are tongue-in-cheek and not to be taken seriously. Open minded HYPOCRISY fans will be open to this as a catchy electronic/metal album. (Nuclear Blast Records)
PAIN, the band featuring HYPOCRISY mainman Peter Tägtgren, will finally make their latest release Cynic Paradise available to North America on June 8th. This version will also feature an alternate cover and a bonus live CD recorded on March 23-24, 2009 at the Zenith in Paris, France during the band’s European tour with NIGHTWISH.
Cynic Paradise North American Track Listing:
1. “I’m Going In”
2. “Monkey Business”
3. “Follow Me”
4. “Have A Drink On Me”
5. “Don’t Care”
6. “Reach Out (And Regret)”
7. “Generation X”
8. “No One Knows”
9. “Live Fast / Die Young”
10. “Not Your Kind”
11. “Feed Us”
Disc 2 (Live In Paris)
1. “Intro / I’m Going In”
2. “End Of The Line”
3. “Zombie Slam”
4. “Just Hate Me”
5. “Same Old Song”
6. “Monkey Business”
7. “On And On”
8. “Shut Your Mouth”
In between touring, working on his other project, PAIN, and his producing duties, HYPOCRISY mainman Peter Tagtgren has introduced A Taste of Extreme Divinity to the world, and it is a throwback to the ole’ death metal days. Everything has some old school feel to it, from Peter’s old death metal style, to the old HYPOCRISY logo on the special edition disc, and the cover art by Kristian Wahlin (aka Necrolord).
“Valley of the Damned” starts the album exactly where Virus left off, and Peter executes more of his death metal vocals on the entire disc instead of the screeching eagle screams he has incorporated in the later HYPOCRISY albums. “Hang Him High” continues the journey of catchy songs with The Fourth Dimension-style solos thrown in. These songs allow the listener to appreciate the great songwriting the band has achieved, as “Solar Empire” delivers a catchy “grunt-a-long” chorus. Blastmaster Horgh finally gets to show off his machine gun-like precision on “Weed out the Weak” before the band goes into another catchy and melodic masterpiece. The album wanes a bit towards the middle but finishes strong as “The Quest” is reminiscent of songs from the self-titled album, with lush keyboards, melodic solos, and the mid-paced feel that HYPOCRISY was known for. “Sky is Falling Down” is a perfect closer to this album, filled with a brutal beginning, melodic main verse, and a decrescendo leaving the listener yearning for more.
HYPOCRISY experimented a little with the nü-metal sound on the dreaded Catch-22 album, but A Taste of Extreme Divinity fuses the old HYPOCRISY style with the newer, more melodic efforts; the result is a combination of enjoyable death metal without resorting to gimmicks or over-technical guitar wankery. This trio is stronger than ever and gives old death metal fans something to look forward to in the live setting. (Nuclear Blast Records)