Hypocrisy – Abducted
Classic Wax is a recurring series covering exceptionally great sounding metal releases on vinyl. As all of these albums are classics, our usual music and sound scores are superfluous. Dynamic range measurements are still provided for reference.
After forming in 1990, Sweden’s Hypocrisy released Penetralia in 1992, and Osculum Obscenum a year later. These early albums were frenetic and extremely raw, both in style and in sound. Things started to shift with 1994’s The Fourth Dimension, but it was 1996’s Abducted that finally brought a major change to a much slower and more melodic style of death metal. The album embraced aliens and the paranormal, and it put Hypocrisy on the map. “The Gathering” opens with creepy voices from the infamous Halt Tape recorded during the Rendlesham Forest UFO sightings in England. The track that follows, “Roswell 47,” established Hypocrisy’s alien obsession that stuck with them for years, and remains one of the band’s most popular and well known songs to this day. “The Arrival of the Demons (part 2),” “Buried,” and “When the Candle Fades” are all stellar pieces of groove infused melodeath, and the final two tracks, “Slippin’ Away” and “Drained” have an absolutely infectious Pink Floyd quality to them that’s sadly missing from Hypocrisy albums in recent years.
Abducted was produced and mixed by frontman Peter Tägtgren at his Abyss Studio in Sweden and mastered by Peter In De Betou at Cuttingroom. While it sounds better than the early albums, Abducted still has the raw, unpolished sound that Hypocrisy is known for. Back in 1996 the loudness wars were not nearly as brutal as today, so the CD master is reasonably dynamic, with most tracks measuring DR7 or DR8. The single LP vinyl edition (Nuclear Blast NB 133-1) is far superior however, measuring DR11 pretty much across the board. Spectrum analysis also shows a strong indication that the vinyl was cut straight from the analog master tapes. Just being on vinyl doesn’t somehow magically turn this album into a reference grade audiophile masterpiece – but it does sound significantly better than the CD. Lars Szöke’s kick drum has a bit more impact and the cymbals are more distinct and more detailed. The real improvement comes from the sense of low-end punch, long a Hypocrisy weak spot. Mikael Hedlund’s bass is far more present, and Tägtgren’s guitar sounds visceral, with real weight and solidity behind it.
Nuclear Blast also issued the album as a limited picture disc (NB 0133-9), unfortunately picture discs are pretty much always a major step down in sound quality, so it’s best to avoid that one and look for the original press. Expect to pay around €40-50 for a mint copy from Germany. For diehard Hypocrisy fans this is a must buy, as this is one of the all time great Hypocrisy albums, and it will likely never sound better.