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Death ’til Death – Day 6: Hypocrisy

When I originally came up with a list for the Death ’til Death feature, I wanted to include at least one Melodic Death Metal band. Since then, I’ve written down a few that I’ve considered for this place and crossed them out again. Amon Amarth were considered, because of how big they are nowadays and by getting more fans, they might lead them to more Death Metal. But I decided not to go with them. In Flames were also considered, because they were one of the first Melodic Death Metal bands around and released some of the most groundbreaking work of the genre. I didn’t go with them because of their recent output. At The Gates were next to not be featured, because even though they released some of the most archetypal Melo Death, they mostly inspired upcoming Metalcore bands. And this is not a feature about Metalcore. So who else could be featured on Day 6? Fucking Hypocrisy. Why? Well, because they own and released some of the best Melodic Death Metal ever.

In the late 80’s, Peter Tägtgren lived in Florida for three years — where he was active in the rising Death Metal scene, and played with people like Malevolent Creation’s Phil Fasciana. He returned to Sweden in 1990 and formed Hypocrisy. They released their debut album Penetralia in 1992, with Masse Broberg (later Dark Funeral vocalist) on vocals. They released one more album with Broberg, until Tägtgren took over vocal duties.

With the change in vocal position, Hypocrisy also started to change musically and lyrically. While their earlier output was executed well, it wasn’t very innovative. That changed with their next album Fourth Dimension, and even more so with their classic Abducted. The band shifted from Death Metal, to atmospheric Melodic Death Metal. Lyrically Tägtgren didn’t sing much about usual Death Metal themes, but his lyrics mostly dealt with extraterrestrial and paranormal topics.

Mainman Peter Tägtgren is not only the guitarist, vocalist and producer of Hypocrisy, but also of his side-project Pain. He also produced the likes of Dark Funeral, Marduk, Dimmu Borgir, Amon Amarth, Immortal, Children Of Bodom, Shining and Sabaton. As if that wasn’t enough, Tägtgren not only owns a recording studio in Pärlby, but also the entire village it’s placed in. That’s right, Peter Tägtgren owns a village.

After the critical flop of Catch 22 in 2002, when Hypocrisy flirted with Nu-Metal, they made an impressive return with Virus and the massively underrated A Taste Of Extreme Divinity. The band is now, maybe more than ever before, one of the most respected Extreme Metal bands. Deservingly so.

Hypocrisy – Buried

Death ’til Death introduction – Day 1: Death – Day 2: Possessed – Day 3: Morbid Angel
Day 4: Cannibal Corpse – Day 5: Nile – Day 6: Hypocrisy – Day 7: Obituary


Death ’til Death – Day 5: Nile

Despite being pretty late to the party (no other band in this list released their debut album as late as they did), Nile changed the game and quickly became one of the most respected artists of the scene.

Nile formed in 1993 and released their debut album Among The Catacombs Of Nephren-Ka in 1998. Between 93 and 98, the band recorded two demos, one EP and one single, and toured relentlessly.

Most Death Metal artists lyrically deal with gruesome themes, such as murder, torture, cannibalism or necrophilia. Nile are a notable exception of that, as their lyrics mostly deal with Egyptian themes, Eastern mysticism and religion. Nile therefore categorize their music as “Ithyphallic Metal.”

Nile’s music could be labelled either traditional Death Metal or Technical Death Metal, as their music combines the groove and heaviness of traditional Death and the speed and complexity of Technical Death.

Despite only releasing six albums since their formation 18 years ago, Nile have never released an album that was considered a critical flop. That is a feature Nile do not share with a lot of their peers, just take a look at Morbid Angel, Possessed or Cryptopsy. Nile therefore are considered a band who might take a lot of time to release an album but always feature constant high-quality output.

Nile – The Howling Of The Jinn

Death ’til Death introduction – Day 1: Death – Day 2: Possessed – Day 3: Morbid Angel
Day 4: Cannibal Corpse – Day 5: Nile – Day 6: Hypocrisy – Day 7: Obituary


Death ’til Death – Day 4: Cannibal Corpse

Cannibal Corpse. Not just one of the most controversial Death Metal acts of all time, but also one of the most successful. We get it, mainstream audiences don’t like lyrics about stripping, raping and strangling. Most death metalheads do though, and Cannibal Corpse are the number 1 act to feature such lyrics.

Formed in 1988, Cannibal Corpse rose to the top of the genre in a matter of years. They played their first gig in 1989, shortly after finishing their self-titled demo. One year later, they were signed to Metal Blade Records and released their debut album Eaten Back To Life — a Death Metal classic.

Chris Barnes’ gruesome lyrics attracted the attention of people who usually can’t be found in metal clubs. Bob Dole accused them of “undermining the national character of the United States,” and numerous senators and conservative activists tried to get them dumped from their record label. Up until 2006, all Cannibal Corpse albums were banned in Australia, and the first three albums were banned in Germany.

Not everybody strongly disliked Cannibal though. Jim Carrey insisted that they make an appearance in his film ‘Ace Ventura: Pet Detective,’ where they performed their underground hit ‘Hammer Smashed Face.’

While yesterday’s featured artist Morbid Angel (see link below) released the commercially most successful Death Metal album of all time, Cannibal Corpse are the Death Metal act to sell the most albums overall.

23 years after forming, Cannibal Corpse are still going strong. With a slightly different lineup, but still as brutal as ever. To many they are the biggest Death Metal band of all time, and I can’t say I disagree. It’s debatable whether they are the greatest Death Metal band or not, but there is no question that they have left their bloody mark on Death Metal.

Cannibal Corpse – Fucked With A Knife

Death ’til Death introduction – Day 1: Death – Day 2: Possessed – Day 3: Morbid Angel
Day 4: Cannibal Corpse – Day 5: Nile – Day 6: Hypocrisy – Day 7: Obituary


Death ’til Death – Day 3: Morbid Angel

The picture I posted in the announcement of our Death Metal week (link below) was a big hint, which some of you might have gotten. It was a picture of Trey Azagthoth, guitarist of Morbid Angel, so it was obvious to some that these Death Metal heavyweights would be included in my list of the most important Death Metal bands sooner or later.

Morbid Angel were formed in 1984, but didn’t release their debut album Altars Of Madness until 1989. The band originally recorded an album, Abominations Of Desolation, in 1986 but they were dissatisfied with the final product and later stated it was supposed to be a demo album. It was released in 1991 at the decision of Earache Records.

Morbid Angel were the first band of the rising Death Metal scene to have significant commercial success and to sign with a major record label. According to Nielsen SoundScan, CovenantMorbid Angel’s third studio album, excluding Abominations Of Desolation — is the best selling Death Metal album of all time.

Despite the universal acclaim Morbid Angel achieved, they were not free from controversy. Their latest album Illud Divinum Insanus received very negative reactions from fans and critics alike. To call the reception mixed would be an understatement. Their debut album Altars Of Madness remains one of the most influential Death Metal releases of all time though.

Morbid Angel were ahead of their time, and their influence on the Death Metal scene can still be felt today. Especially the Florida Death Metal scene, which includes Obituary and Deicide, was practically built around Morbid Angel. Extreme music for extreme people.

Morbid Angel – Immortal Rites

Death ’til Death introduction – Day 1: Death – Day 2: Possessed – Day 3: Morbid Angel
Day 4: Cannibal Corpse – Day 5: Nile – Day 6: Hypocrisy – Day 7: Obituary


Death ’til Death – Day 2: Possessed

Yesterday Death were my first pick in our Death Metal week. When someone’s talking about archetypal Death Metal and mentions Death, you’ve also got to acknowledge Possessed’s legacy. Arguably the very first band to play the genre, known as Death Metal nowadays, Possessed influenced countless bands.

Possessed, just like Death, were formed in 1983. Their first lineup included Barry Fisk on vocals, but his time in the band was cut short when he committed suicide by gunshot in front of his girlfriend. Shortly after that Jeff Becerra joined the band handling vocal and bass duties.

Yesterday in my post about Death, I argued that the term “death metal” was coined by Death, or rather people referring to them. That was just one theory though. There are a bunch of theories about who came up with the term. In 1984, for example, Possessed recorded a demo called Death Metal. Jeff Becerra himself claimed to have come up with the term. After all, it’s up to debate, and it’s not really that important either way.

What’s important though, is the music Possessed created. Their debut album Seven Churches, released in 1985, further pushed Slayer-esque Thrash Metal into a heavier direction and remains a classic of the scene. Their second album Beyond The Gates couldn’t match the overwhelming reaction Churches received, mostly due to poor production and a change in direction. The band only released one EP after that, The Eyes Of Horror — which was produced by none other than guitar virtuoso Joe Satriani. Shortly after that, the band disbanded.

Even though Possessed only released two studio albums and one EP, the band had left a huge mark on the early Death Metal scene. Seven Churches remains one of the most important releases of the genre, and Possessed remain one of the most important bands of the genre.

Possessed – The Exorcist

Death ’til Death introduction – Day 1: Death – Day 2: Possessed – Day 3: Morbid Angel
Day 4: Cannibal Corpse – Day 5: Nile – Day 6: Hypocrisy – Day 7: Obituary

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