HardReviews 2
by Martin Popoff

Hypocrisy - Virus
(Nuclear Blast)

Peter's back churning his mechanized doom at a verbosity of velocities, but the main difference in the terrible tale is that Immortal's Horgh is on as drummer, the result - because of him or nae - being a Hypocrisy record that is blackened emotion and near black metal proportions rhythmically. For his vocals, Peter has chosen a smeared and geared caw only this side of Angela Gossow, his death metal barks sort of creamy and manufactured at once, or at least machine-like in their producer-dominant integration with the relentless down-tuned backing track. Pre-release hype had Peter opining about the record's speed, and although it's faster than personal favourite Catch 22, it's also more complex and progressive - see 'Incised Before I've Ceased' - Peter's ghoulishly gothic guitar equations everywhere, and fully headbangable, as on 'Scrutinized' and the shockingly catchy 'Compulsive Psychosis'. There's a heat-swelled grind to close the album as well, causing the composite of Virus to be all of Peter's totally unique to him touch(tomb)stones left, right, all accounted for, much more so than on The Arrival. Fact is, no one can create metal as massive and as smothering as Pete and his cast-in-stone contingent, Hypocrisy's doomed, damned and blessed mandate being the creation of unmaneuverable and near unmoveable stacked cinder blocks of sound, any sense of motion experienced being of a relentlessly and squarely focused panzer-led trudge from bastion A to killing field B.
Rating 8.5

Devildriver - The Fury Of Our Maker's Hand

Coal Chamber's Dez and crew return with a second Devildriver album, a record that has one of the coolest intros I've heard in years. Once inside, the band crushes with progressive metalcore acumen, a bit of Machine Head added for anchor, Dez's drowning death metal bark attacking as hard as the music. Highly rhythmic and exacting, The Fury is a much more note-dense and art-damaged record than the debut, its quick-picked riffs evoking images of God Forbid, i.e. state of the art pure metal rendered precise and structured and old school of melody, as is the wont of bands slightly older than the multiple word band name hotshots scooping all the sales right now. Highly novel items of discussion include 'Pale Horse Apocalypse' which is fast and sort of linear but so complex at the same time, and 'Just Run' which contains an eerie new wave melody and infectiously punky verse construct. I mean, I can't help being reminded of Superjoint Ritual with this thing, even though there are a million more notes 'n' whacks per minute here than on those boozy caveman tunes. Nae, the comparative comes with this record's edgy chaotic wild ride, its slightly intimate and terror-filled race around, despite the myriad parts.
Rating 8

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