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Review: Hypocrisy - Virus

Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Year released: 2005
Duration: 48:07
Tracks: 11
Genre: Melodic Death Metal

Rating: 4.75/5

Review online: July 2, 2010
Reviewed by: Iconoclast
Readers Rating

Rated 4.27/5 (85.45%) (11 Votes)

Put simply, this is a great album. At the very least, is certainly one of Hypocrisy's finest offerings since the band was formed in 1990. Virus is atmospheric, aggressive, and gloomy throughout; sometimes all at once. The album is very conceptual; comparing humanity to a scourge or 'virus' which is to be wiped out by demonic beings or possibly aliens (given singer Peter Tägtgren's interest in the subject, this would not be surprising in the least). While certain slower and more atmospheric songs may not appeal to fans of straight death metal, there is plenty of aggression to be found on this CD. To name two such tracks, both "Blooddrenched" and "Compulsive Psychosis" are quite fast and brutal. The interesting aspect of Virus is that a great deal of atmosphere remains, even in the more aggressive spots such as these. This effect can be best described as a 'wall of sound' that sometimes comes to greater prominence while never completely subsiding throughout the album.

As a frequent atmospheric metal listener, I enjoyed this album immensely. This is partly because very few death metal albums seem to have this atmospheric quality (which is primarily found in sludge). The atmosphere also adds a fitting 'sinister' or even 'alien' feel to the album, consequently making Virus feel vastly more immersive. In addition, the songs are not drawn out too long, which keeps the listener interested for the album's entire length. In fact, I personally felt as if one or two songs on this album were likely too short, as longer rather than shorter song lengths tend to be more fitting for 'atmosphere'. The track "A Thousand Lies" tends to lean more towards atmosphere as opposed to brutality, while the track "Living to Die" scraps the onslaught almost entirely, featuring the only clean vocals on the album in addition to a somber, depressive mood.

I suppose I could say that not everyone will enjoy all parts of this album. As noted before, fans of nonstop aural assaults will likely be turned off by the slower tracks here. For those appreciative of atmospheric or 'epic' metal however, Virus is a must have. It blows Hypocrisy's other efforts out of the water (particularly Catch 22 and Penetralia), though their previous effort entitled The Arrival comes close in my opinion. Virus is emotional, powerful, furious, and immersive without resorting to cheesy synths and choirs like is commonplace in many gothic metal groups. The only strike against the album is that a few of the songs definitely could have been a bit longer and more 'epic'. Get this album as soon as you can.

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