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Friday 26 November 2021

Reviews: Hypocrisy, Voices, Resolve, Secreum (Reviews By Matt Bladen & Rich P)

Hypocrisy - Worship (Nuclear Blast) [Matt Bladen]

Peter Tägtgren's death metal project Hypocrisy come back with a vengeance. Their fourteenth studio release is their first since 2013's End Of Disclosure. Though in that time Peter has been busy with his other project Pain as well as with Till in Lindemann, but finally he has returned to the sci-fi death metal mothership with yet more conspiracy fuelled music with lyrics around the New World Order, aliens, elders and science fiction. Their melodic death metal is rightly seen as being inspirational due to Tägtgren's usage of melodic lead guitars, swathes of keyboards and raging blastbeats. After this enforced break it's clear that Hypocrisy have returned more pissed off and violent than before. 

Blasting off with the blistering title track, that builds from classical guitars into a outright mayhem, the excellent Chemical Whore comes next upping the cinematic quality of this record, with a grinding mid-paced march Mikael Hedlund (bass) and Horgh (drums) providing the punchy backing for Peter's everything else. The arctic feeling of Dead World brings a new dimension as it leads into the albums centerpiece the epic We're The Walking Dead, a brooding ballad that so often is consumed in overwrought vocals and a slow doom riff. The renewed tenacity of this record comes through on every track from the blasting Another Day to the fist pumping Bug In The Net, Worship is not just a title but a command, they have come to reclaim their throne with the most visceral album of their career. 8/10

Voices - Breaking The Trauma Bond (Church Road Records) [Matt Bladen]

Following a three year break the band that perfectly exemplify avant-garde metal, Voices, return with their latest mind bending offering. Based in the extremity of black and death metal Voices, add many other layers to their sound as Beckoning Shadows where there's an electronic, thud that moves into the some raging hardcore before switching into black metal, though with clean vocals. Yeah it sounds confusing but across 16 songs and 68 minutes, these frequent genre shifts keep you not just entertained but in state of anticipation about what will happen next. Following Beckoning Shadows is My Sick Mind which is fully electronic, feeling a bit like a NIN song showcasing the clean angsty voice and piano of frontman Peter Benjamin. Peter also provides guitars along with Matthew Adnet and Sam Loynes who is the man behind the keys/synths as well. 

These loaded triple guitars mean that Voices can be intensely heavy but also atmospheric and deft as well. The gothic Whispers is fine example of this. The overall feel of the record is one of an imposing darkness, across the extensive run time the band brood and rage, throwing in just about everything they want to musically. It's David Gray (drums) and Dan Abela (bass) that keep the frenetic pace even on tracks such as Kaleidoscope Of Thorns which is almost a Gothic rock number, there is an underlying blast beat. It's a hell of a lot to take in, especially in one sitting, but multiple listens reveal more and more, whether you have the time to listen to a 68 minute album more than once is I guess based around your life but Breaking The Trauma Bond really needs your time. For those who have followed bands such as Akercocke and Mr Bungle, Voices are one act you need need to immerse yourself in, their bleak musical landscape is richly populated on this fourth album, their most ambitious effort to date. 7/10

Resolve – Between Me And The Machine (Arising Empire) [Rich P]

I generally feel like I have heard it all in the metalcore/post-hardcore space with what is out there today. At this point I usually gravitate away from the genre, but I like to also keep an open mind (and ear) to what’s new. Hence my taking on this review of Resolve’s new album Between Me And The Machine. Let’s see if we tread upon any new ground on their latest effort.

The album opens strong and heavy with Beautiful Hell which has a bit of a Fear Factory vibe with their use of synths and proceed to set up the heavy for the rest of the record. There is no doubt these guys can play and the production throughout is flawless. My issue is how this kind of sounds a lot like what I hear out there with some of the other bands in this genre. Theses guys do it very well, just not any different. My favorite track, D.G.G.R.S. brings the prog with some of the hardcore breakdowns I am a sucker for. 

Emerald Skies is another stand out track that combines the clean and scream vocals effectively and reminds me a bit of Killswitch Engage and Lamb Of God and hybrid really showcases the instrumental talent of the band. I also really dug the title track; a nine-minute epic that I can see them closing sets with on their upcoming tour.

Overall, I enjoyed the record, but I may be jaded when it comes to this genre. I want to hear something unique, but outside of the title track I am not scratching that itch. Resolve does what they do very well, but nothing that breaks any new ground. Fans of the genre should be pleased; I may just be asking for too much. 6/10

Secreum – Embrace EP (Self Released) [Rich P]

Secreum list several genres in their bio: extreme, death, progressive, groove, thrash. A little bit of everything. Sometimes this can lead to a band’s identity crisis, but sometimes it can create something exciting and new. Let’s see which way their debut EP leans.

The EP opens with a bit of a throw away instrumental track that leads into a very Slayer riff to kick off the ripper of a track Trapped From Within. I really dig the clean/scream vocal dynamic and I have a feeling this song would translate live very well. Secreum absolutely brings the heavy, especially on Contrarian Mind, which brings a full-on death metal assault with some guitar work that for some reason is remind me of Prong (which is a very good thing). The guitar work on the title track is excellent, especially the solo towards the end.

I like what I have heard so far from Secreum on this EP and I expect big things from their debut full length. The band incorporates the best of all those genres listed above without being too schizophrenic in their approach. I would love to be able to check them out live as I think these songs would translate well to the stage. These guys can certainly play and certainly bring the heavy. I am looking forward to hearing more but for now will crank this EP, loud. 7/10

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