Wednesday, 11 April 2012

HYPOCRISY - Penetralia (1992)

01  Impotent God
02  Suffering Souls
03  Nightmare
04  Jesus Fall
05  God Is A Lie
06  Left To Rot
07  Burn By The Cross
08  To Escape Is To Die
09  Take The Throne
10  Penetralia
11  Life Of Filth *bonus
12  Lead By Satanism *bonus

'Penetralia' is the debut album by Hypocrisy released on October 5th 1992 by Nuclear Blast. Before Peter Tägtgren became underground metal's production guru, his band played relentless old school death metal. Hypocrisy themselves downplay the significance of 'Penetralia' and follow-up album 'Obsculum Obscenum', writing both records off as shameless Florida death worship (Tägtgren had spent three years living in Fort Lauderdale). Actually, 'Penetralia' carries a rather unique sound, possibly due to Tägtgren's trademark production (then in it's infancy). A healthy dose of 80s thrash and black metal influence seperates early Hypocrisy from their swedish contemporaries.

The lyrics here - written by original vocalist Masse Broberg, dealt with anti-Christian themes and Satanism. However, the band later chose to focus on themes such as the paranormal and extraterrestrials, which prompted Broberg to leave the band. Bromberg's vocals are stock standard "cookie monster" death growls and are mostly decipherable. The rhythm team of bassist Mikael Hedlund and drummer Lars Szoke work overtime through ten tracks of pure death metal fury to keep up with Peter Tägtgren's sledgehammer riffage and blinding solos. The overwhelming anger is unleashed in stand-out cuts such as; "Impotent God", "God Is A Lie" and "Left To Rot" and the stunning title track, in which Peter handles lead vocals himself for the first time. The general sound is very similar to a lot of US releases of the time and there seems to be quite an obvious Deicide influence, so you won't find any Sunlight Studios "chainsaw" sounds here.

Given it's context, it's an enjoyable album on occasion, and proved to be a decent starting point for this incredible band. Fortunately, they would improve their overall sound and lyrical themes on 'Osculum Obscenum', and they would really come into their own with 'The Fourth Dimension'. I must also say that the two new bonus tracks added by Metal Mind Productions for the re-release are simply awesome. They fit extremely well with the rest of the original album's material, especially "Life Of Filth", which may possibly be my favourite Hypocrisy track of them all.

*Cover art was provided by Dan Seagrave and a promotional video was shot for the track "Left To Rot".

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