HYPOCRISY, Into the Abyss (2000, Nuclear Blast)
A dirty, jawless skull in the crosshairs of some kind of reticle, or possibly trapped in a game of Tempest, either emanating or absorbing some weak-looking lightning bolts, and floating over a background of… some brown junk? Dirty pipes or something? Who knows. A skull this lazy just doesn’t have the energy to explain his environment. He’s like, “Man, what do you want from me? I don’t get a say here. I needed some money quick to take care of some shit, and they’re like, ‘Just go float over there, by the red glow,’ and I’m like, whatever, dudes. When do I get paid?”
If ever a band deserved such a nondescript cover, it was Hypocrisy in the early 00s. Not that their music was terrible or anything, but the meat-and-potatoes death metal with keyboards thing they were peddling at this time was pretty damned uninspired. They had gotten past the “we’re so fucking evil and brutal” out of their system fairly early, and the style of the slow and odd “Fourth Dimension” (my personal favorite Hypocrisy album) evidently didn’t have any staying power. When they settled into the mid-paced middle of their career, it was clear they didn’t really have any particularly good ideas, so they just went with the death metal trends of the day and played the basketball beat over a dozen interchangeable, trebly, black-metal style riffs played high on the fretboard. That is, when they weren’t striving for some buzzy groove, which mainman Peter Tägtgren’s signature ultra-high-gain production rendered in the least comfortable tones possible. It was never really awful listening to Hypocrisy, but it was rarely any fun.
— Friar Johnsen