For just over a quarter century, Swedish death metal horde Hypocrisy has been going against the grain, exploring their interstellar thematic slant with topics such as UFOS, alien abductions, government cover ups, out of body experiences along with other paranormal phenomena. A subtext that veers in a different direction from their contemporaries that often delve into Satanism, the macabre and extreme gore.
Since their inception in 1991, Hypocrisy has thirteen full length albums under its belt, punctuated by its newest release from 2021, Worship. It has been eight years since the band released the album End of Disclosure, but now the band is back with a vengeance, and ready to begin a U.S tour on April 29 in New York. The tour concludes June 1st at the Progpower 2022 Festival. Hypocrisy will also appear on the May 29 date of the Maryland Deathfest - the annual celebration of musical extremity that may be congregating for the last time, making the band's appearance especially meaningful.
Primary songwriter and lyricist, Peter Tagtren recently took time to speak to Knotfest via Zoom from his home in Sweden, about his passion for topics like ufos, secret societies and the the more sinister spectrum of sci-fi, all of which permeate on new album, Worship.
“This new album is about a lot of conspiracies and black operations, stuff I’ve kind of always written about really. But, who knows if it’s real, or only science fiction at this point, you never know,” Tagtren said.
Though Tagtren confides that he personally has not had any kind of extraterrestrial encounters, he further explains that his art allows him to dive deep into the intrigue that has always piqued his interest. “I have not personally had any paranormal experiences, but I have been fascinated by these topics since the 70s,” he said.
"I guess it’s been like a hobby of mine. After the first two Hypocrisy albums, when I took over singing, I just wanted to sing lyrics about something other than the Occult. These topics already piqued my interest. So by 1994, I was singing about near-death experiences, out-of-body experiences, and what happens when your soul leaves your body, where you go when you die and cross to the other side. This was all on the album, The Fourth Dimension."
Tagtren further reiterated the kind of historical context by which his fascination has compelled him to explore more. “We used to have these classifieds called the Yellow Pages and it was on there I used to trade old VHS tapes about UFOs, ghosts, secret societies, and other crazy weird shit. This was the late 80s. I was into these things before they became part of the public. I am not a fan of reading books. I guess it's my ADHD, but I did read Whitley Strieber’s UFO abduction book Communion when it came out and it influenced me to write some songs. Also, I like the movie Fire In the Sky, because the alien abduction scene is intense and those 5 minutes are worth the movie alone. Plus, I do like some of the Ancient Aliens shows, they are interesting.”
Further fueling his interest in the paranormal, Tagtren shared that he knows several black metal bands that have had some eerie encounters with the paranormal while in the studio.”I know, the guys from Marduk, and I think Dark Funeral have all supposedly had various odd things or events happen to them in the studio, also possibly Dimmu Borgir. For some reason, this only happens to black metal bands. I’ve never had anyone approach me and tell me they were abducted or anything like that,” he said.
The veteran songwriter Tagtren went on to discuss how these kinds of topics resonate with people so effectively because there is a healthy level of skepticism that exists when it comes to the government. The idea of transparency is something that doesn't feel consistent with government and having a platform to address these topics that often get pushed under the rug allow people to have some kind of discourse. ”I don't think any governments of the world are going to ever fully come out and reveal anything about UFOs or aliens to their citizens,” he said. “Governments are corrupt all around the world. Politicians everywhere are evil and paid off. They are always all just covering up their asses with major cover ups like Roswell; there have been many others. I think the only way we’re gonna get proof for sure is if the aliens come and land in front of everyone and there is no mistaking it.”
The music of Hypocrisy, specifically for Tagtren, functions as a cross-section of his own artistic interpretation, in tandem with his intrigue of an underworld he understands maybe outlandish to some, but remains adamant is very real. Addressing his own skepticism in accepting the status quo, the death metal stalwart doesn't claim to have a crystal ball but is certain there is more to the story that what exists on the surface. “For me when you haven’t experienced it or seen it it’s hard to digest many of these ideas,” he said. “But they are great for fiction, or horror movies; and in my case, lyrics. But I do believe that ultimately whoever owns the banks, owns the world. And perhaps it’s the Illuminati who knows. That shit is real, from Bavaria in the 1770s, then it moved to control the British Empire and eventually after all these years it’s part of the American world Empire. Now whether there are all these royalty and bloodlines with lizard people in control of it all at the center of the Illuminati, well you just never know. Anything is possible.”
As for the most current iteration of the band, Tagtren revealed his excitement with Hypocrisy resuming their campaign on the road again, and spoke to the personnel changes that have injected new life into the collective. Following an amicable split with drummer Horgh, who exited just this year, Hypocrisy enlisted the expertise of Henrik Axelsson from The Crown.
Confident that the unit is operating with the proper players in position and an arsenal of music at the ready, Tagtren revealed that fans should expect to hear a variety of rare deep cuts, new songs and Hypocrisy essentials - all of which better push the band to achieve their peak potential as musicians in the space of extreme music. “This time for our setlist we rearranged everything. We’ve been too comfortable as a band. In a way we’ve been playing the same shit all these years,” he said. “So we started from scratch. We took one song from every album which is 13 songs, then a few songs that we have to play like Roswell 47, Fire in the Sky, Eraser, and some others. But this tour, we will be playing some songs we never played in our career, and others we have rarely done. For us it will be a challenge. Going back, and relearning all the songs, the riffs, and lyrics. It was not easy to remember; it was a nightmare when we began but now we’re totally comfortable with it after all this time rehearsing."
Topping a touring bill that includes the likes of Dutch symphonic black metal band Carach Angren, Italian sci-fi death metal brutalizers Hideous Divinity, and melodic death metal Canadian exports, The Agonist - it becomes apparent how influential Hypocrisy continue to be. It's that continued longevity and relevance that has a band decades in the game still excited to hit the road. “I could not be happier with the opening bands, this tour is going to be amazing and we can’t wait to share all of these songs with our fans, including our new ones and loyal fans who’ve been with us since day one!”
The Worship 2022 Tour with Hypocrisy, Carach Angren, Hideous Divinity and The Agonist begins April 29th in Brooklyn, NY and wraps May 29th at maryland Deathfest. Get tickets and see cities and dates - HERE