Wednesday, 14 March 2012

HYPOCRISY - Obsculum Obscenum (1993)

01  Pleasure Of Molestation
02  Exclamation Of A Necrofag
03  Osculum Obscenum
04  Necronomicon
05  Black Metal
06  Inferior Devoties
07  Infant Sacrifices
08  Attachment To The Ancestor
09  Althotas

Hypocrisy's debut album Penetralia, while being a slightly immature release, showed good potential that this Swedish band could one day create some seriously good death metal. I had high hopes that Osculum Obscenum, released in 1993,  might be the point where they began to make that prediction a reality, but I have to say it hasn't quite done enough for me to call it an essential album. It is however an improvement over Penetralia in a few areas, particularly when it comes to the riffs and certainly worth checking out for anyone into straight forward death metal. One downside to the album is the annoying addition of the cover song placed directly in the middle of the album. This is a certain pet peeve of mine because I feel a cover has to be very well selected and executed to fit in with the themes and atmosphere of an album to make it work. The track present here is the hugely influential classic, "Black Metal" by Venom and it is covered only acceptably well.

This album is essentially an amalgamation of styles found in the early 90's underground without forgetting songwriting and coherency. More than ever these days it seems that in order to "progress" or "branch out" you have to add a ukulele solo or simply play in a time signature nobody actually wants to hear so you can be technical. However sometimes it is more important to adapt an idea and actually concentrate on making it work. Here we have an effort that is part American death metal, part Swedish death metal with a dash of black metal but most importantly intelligently written and still as dark and vicious as the aforementioned styles.

That being said, Hypocrisy would get much, much better than this. As enjoyable as it is, it's all a bit derivative and the genre was moving ahead in leaps and bounds during the period of time when this was released. I think I've always enjoy the band when they are more epic and melodic, rather than albums like this where creativity takes a back seat to pure brutality and darkness. There are bands that do that better! Highlights for me are Pleasure For Molestation, Osculum Obscenum and Inferior Devoties.

The cover artwork was created by Wes Benscoter. Osculum Obscenum was re-released in 1996 as a digipak with bonus tracks and a photo of the band lineup from that year with Mikael Hedlund, Peter Tägtgren, and Lars Szöke.

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