Background/Info: Four years have passed since the previous studio album “Ofensor” (2015). The Mexican duo Erk Aicrag (lyrics & vocals) – Racso Agroyam (programming) are active under the Hocico moniker since 1993 and became a long-time leading ship from the dark-electro scene. The new work is also available as vinyl format and a limited boxset featuring an extra CD with remixes and goodies for the fans.
Content: The new work remains easily recognizable through the typical haunting atmospheres, sometimes moving into pure cinematographic music, but “Artificial Extinction” is without a shadow of a doubt the most ‘atypical’ album since the band’s debut. The production of the vocals is different on several songs. Erk Aicrag is still singing in a powerful way, but there’s less rage in his voice. Sound-wise several songs are also touched by some modernism, which you’ll hear in some bleeping passages. The opening song “Dark Sunday” perfectly symbolizes this evolution in sound.
+ + + : This album remains ‘pure’ Hocico-like, but there are some new elements in the global production work. There seem to be a will to evolve towards ‘new’ sonic path while holding on the harsh, haunted and powerful sound. The dark cinematographic input is nothing new, but here again the duo has accentuated some elements of it. “El Ballet Mecanico” even can be considered as the best track they’ve ever written in this style. I however prefer the more danceable cuts and I would like to mention “Shut Me Down!” with an irresistible lead and “Damaged” for its global power mixed with icy, bleeping sequences. “Palabras De Sangre” is another attention grabber, which an anguishing, mysterious mood hanging over the track. One of the main ‘differences’ is according to me the production of the vocals, which are more spooky and maybe less enraged. Speaking for myself I prefer it like this.
– – – : This is a great work and I don’t see real minus points although the somewhat punkish-styled “Cross The Line” is not my favorite one.
Conclusion: I can’t say that Hocico has reinvented its sound, but “Artificial Extinction” became different and yet very Hocico-like. This is a great opus confirming the long leading status of this band in the dark-electro scene.
Best songs: “Shut Me Down!”, “Damaged”, “Dark Sunday”, “Psychonaut”, “Breathing Under Your Feet”, “Palabras De Sangre”.