10 Years of Chaos and Confusion

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This retrospective CD traces Hypocrisy's evolution from its early-'90s days as an intense, straight-ahead death metal quintet along the lines of fellow Swedes Entombed and At the Gates to a more keyboard-heavy, progressive/symphonic death metal trio obsessed with alien abductions and UFOs. From the earlier albums come stripped-down, blasting (though still relatively melodic) songs such as "Penetralia" and "Pleasures of Molestation," which stand up among the best of what early-'90s death metal had to offer. Later albums offer a couple of more straightforward, mid-paced tracks, including "Roswell 47" and "A Coming Race," alongside such slow, melodramatic "death metal ballads" (for lack of a better term) as "Deathrow (No Regrets)" and "Until the End." With their prominent choir-like keyboards and tearful melodies, these latter tracks hardly sound like the work of the same band that recorded the savage Penetralia or Osculum Obscenum. Unfortunately, since some listeners are going to favor the earlier work and others the later recordings, this CD is not arranged in chronological order, instead jumping back and forth between often vastly different songs and lending a schizophrenic feel to the album as a whole. As a result, 10 Years of Chaos and Confusion may be useful for newcomers who are not sure where to start with this diverse, prolific band but, as a listening experience on its own terms, it can be rather frustrating.

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