Mexican duo Hocico (cousins Erk Aicrag and Racso Agroyam) return with the much teased album “HyperViolent”, the twelfth full length of their long career – minus various EPs, singles, demos, compilations, live albums. Last year the single “Broken Empires/Lost Worlds” gave us a preview of the general mood of the work: a sombre and more textured atmosphere recalling their dark electro days while injecting some new undertones to their sound.
In its structure this is a fairly classic Hocico output – we have a majestic orchestral intro and a lot of instrumental interludes with a cinematic vibe, between them the actual tracks with singing and beats. What differs from their more violent and straight forward harsh EBM side is the aforementioned general mood recalling the quieter production and style of “Wrack And Ruin” and partially the previous “Artificial Extinction” and a desire to expand their sound via experiments.
Innovation while looking to their roots: this is the main theme of the album. If the singles we already reviewed in the past took back their dark and “punk” attitude adding darksynth and modern electronic twists amid their usual trance/techno basslines, the rest of the tracks follow their own path with interesting results.
“What Are Nightmares Made Off” is graced by a melodic vibe with 80s suggestive and melancholic undertones playing by contrast with the violence – recalling the mood of the “Scars” MCD, while “Backstabbers” is a club track with the usual mid-90s basslines followed by the dreamy instrumental “Black Reflection’.
The only unnecessary and disappointing moment is the cover of “N.W.O” of Ministry – a pointless inferior rendition that keeps the same instrumental background of the original sounding as a karaoke exercise. Then, “Crown Of Knives” gives us something that has always been in Hocico mind since their creation almost 30 years ago: an actual metal/punk track with growling, screaming, guitars and drumming – for sure the most peculiar and surprising moment on the album.
The companion MCD “HyperSide Effects”, another tradition of the band making a return, is not the strongest moment here, but it offers some utter variation. The collaborative track “Weapons of Resistance” features Aaron Matts of deathcore band ten56 and has a lot of elements coming from that band, the Mariachi version of “Odio Bajo El Alma is a divertissement (nothing more, nothing less), and “Black Mirror” and “The Fall” are ok moments. The remix of “Dog Eat Dog” is quite frankly a pointless filler.
All in all, “HyperViolent” is in concept the most interesting release from Hocico since “Memorial Atrás”. Probably people craving for a full-blast hash EBM assault will be disappointed (and it’s puzzling how the Out of Line press release states the contrary); the real aggression seems confined to the experiment “Crown Of Knives” – but whoever misses their subtler and moodier dark side will recognize a lot of their late-90s/early 2000s elements in that aspect. Not a masterpiece, but their best effort in years. Probably their early days full of youthful energy are forever gone, but nonetheless we have here a mature album looking to the past while aming for something different in a quest to not repeat themselves. It’s clear Hocico wants to change while staying true to their core concept, we will see if there will be a following of this path in the future.
Release date: April 14th, 2022.
Text by: Davide Pappalardo.