Hypocrisy – Hell Over Sofia: 20 Years of Chaos and Confusion (Nuclear Blast Records)

Saturday, 23rd March 2013
Rating: 8/10

About as rock solid of a death metal band there is in the underground, Hypocrisy is ringing in their 20th year of existence with the simply excellent CD/DVD package Hell Over Sofia: 20 Years of Chaos and Confusion. In all, it’s a three-disc set, with a live concert (shot in Sofia, Bulgaria), career retrospective documentary, and audio recording of the aforementioned show. And like just about everything else Sir Peter Tagtgren and team have produced, it’s top-notch across the board.

The DVD portion is a professionally-shot live show in front of a raging crowd in Bulgaria. The setlist is practically flawless, with cuts from the band’s recent A Taste of Extreme Divinity complementing classic jams like the world-beating “Eraser,” (perhaps the band’s best song) “Adjusting the Sun,” “A Coming Race” along with live staples “Roswell 47,” “Fire in the Sky,” and “The Final Chapter.” Sonically, Hypocrisy is cut-throat sounding as they are on record, a credit to drummer Horgh and his monstrous time-keeping, and the band’s accessible, but brutal songs.

The real treat is the documentary, which thoroughly captures the band’s career in a light-hearted way. Original singer and eventual Dark Funeral frontman Masse Broberg is hysterical, providing comedic insight into the band’s origins, including a run-in with Swedish MTV VJ Vanessa Warwick when she was devoid of make-up. Early live and tour footage provides a glimpse at the band’s struggles, including their would-be breakup in 1998, which was bypassed thanks to the success of the band’s Hypocrisy Destroys Wacken live set. Of course, this is merely the tip of the iceberg, as this documentary features every nook and cranny of Hypocrisy. Very well done.

Death metal veterans already know the score with Hypocrisy; newbies would be advised to start with 1996’s Abducted and work their way up. But Hell Over Sofia: 20 Years of Chaos and Confusion is about as all-encompassing of a set as one could get. (Allow us to be cheesy) Here’s to another 10 years of Hypocrisy!

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(This content originally appeared on Blistering.com)