Review

HYPOCRISY Penetralia / Osculum Obscenum

Boxset / Compilation · 2013 · Death Metal
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5/5 ·
Kev Rowland
It is sometimes hard to go back to classic albums, and wonder what on earth can be said about them that hasn’t already been said a million times before? In 1990 Peter Tägtgren returned to his native Sweden from Florida determined to create a death metal band based on what he has been exposed to in the States. After securing a record deal based on a demo he had recorded by himself, he put together a five-piece band who went into the studio to record ‘Penetralia’ in 1992. Losing second guitarist Jonas Österberg after the release of that album didn’t slow them up at all and the following year they were back in the studio to record the follow-up, after which singer Masse Broberg also departed (he is probably better known these days as Emperor Magus Caligula from Dark Funeral) and they settled down to the trio we all know and love.

In many ways it is strange to realise that here is music that is now some twenty years old, as it is wonderfully diverse and hard hitting and the remastering has allowed the nuances and subtleties to come through without losing any of the power. Although this was a band, some of these songs are just Peter, such as on the title track of the debut where he performs everything himself, no mean feat. There is more than 100 minutes of music here, with a CD for each album plus some additional relevant live numbers. Although Peter had obviously been influenced by what he had been exposed to in America, he was already making the sound just a little darker and a little colder, setting a blueprint for Swedish death metal that bands still follow today. The second album does show a progression as Peter started to stretch his musical wings, working down a path that would ultimately lead to the incredible ‘End of Disclosure’ which was released earlier this year and is essential listening.

But so is this, these two albums were incredibly important to the new scene, and listening to them again today I am amazed that they don’t sound dated at all. They are fresh, vibrant, powerful and massively over the top. Death metal really doesn’t get much better than this.
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