Review Summary: As if we needed another reason to say None So Vile is awesome.
Cryptopsy sure has changed a lot in recent years. It seems that Lord Worm has finally left the band for good, and with that, a definite new direction has arisen for the Canadian death metal outfit. The addition of new vocalist Matt McGachy and keyboardist Maggie Durand has already brought about backlash and criticism from the band’s otherwise devoted fanbase. In a recent newsletter, Cryptopsy’s drummer Flo Mounier stated that:
"We as a band have, since the beginning, been experimenting and trying to come up with music that is fresh and new… we took an approach that gives our music a huge dynamic range and brings out its power. Brutality, diversity, complexity, emotion and musicianship define this latest work.”
…while it may not sound like anything Cryptopsy has done in the past, it’s certainly nothing new. Cryptopsy have simply played into the recent deathcore trend by adding several chugging breakdowns, clean vocals, and random/unnecessary keyboard breaks in The Unspoken King
’s eleven songs.
The most obvious change that the new album has taken is the vocals, most notably the addition of clean vocals in the majority of the album. While I don’t think that Matt McGachy has a bad voice by any means, the singing just seems out of place. It just seems that Cryptopsy is trying to add them solely for the reason that they haven’t sung in the past. Well, for the most part it fails. Songs like “The Plagued” and “Resurgence of an Empire” have instances absolutely abhorrent clean vocals that should turn off almost any listener. To the band’s credit though, the clean vocals in “Leach” actually do fit very well and come across as very powerful when played behind the song’s epic chorus. McGachy does however carry a decent high-pitched scream, though his lows are indecipherable and awkward (think of old Tommy Rogers on Between the Buried and Me’s self titled debut). Luckily his high screams are utilized many times throughout The Unspoken King
A real flaw that The Unspoken King
suffers is that it simply repeats itself too many times. The new sound that Cryptopsy has attained really seems to overstay its welcome and becomes a chore about thirty minutes or so into the album. Forty-seven minutes of this type of material is really gratuitous and boring by the end. Many of the riffs start to sound same-y after a while, making many of the songs not as memorable. A good two or three songs here could have been axed and the whole world probably would have been better off.
The Unspoken King does do a few things right. For one, Éric Langlois is a really great bassist and can be heard pretty well in the mix. For example, his tapping lines in “Worship Your Demons” are really great and add a lot to the song. Throughout you can hear his very metallic bass parts being played, adding a good bottom end to the guitars. Flo Mounier’s drumming is very machine-tight and hella fast, something that Cryptopsy fans by this point have come to expect. And while many of the album’s riffs are fairly generic, I always love the guitar solos. It’s clear that both Chris Donaldson and Alex Auburn know how to shred, and you’ll hear it quite well in songs like “Leach”, “Anoint the Dead," and “Contemplate Regicide”.
The keyboards in the album are mostly unnecessary and just seem to be a novelty item to me. The only song where I find them really necessary is “Contemplate Regicide”, where Maggie Durand adds several dark melodies in the mix. And speaking of novelty items, let’s talk about the breakdowns. It’s almost comical how obvious these guys are playing to a more mainstream audience now by throwing in chug-fests and bro-downs in songs like “Silence the Tyrants”. While a well-timed breakdown (Slit Your Guts) can totally take a song to new heights, the ones in The Unspoken King
are always generic. You might as well pick up a Despised Icon album while you’re at it. Oh, and the super-duper-heavy-explosion section in “Contemplate Regicide” is really hilarious.
Overall this album just disappoints. While I do enjoy a good bit of Cryptopsy’s instrumentation on here, the cons on here just outweigh the pros. The newly added vocalist comes across as awkward and out of place. They keyboards are mostly not needed and the chugging breakdowns just reek of the same, stale deathcore sound modern metal listeners have been beaten over the head with for years now. I’d probably stay away from this album. The band’s new sound just doesn’t seem to fit, and the band only really gets it right in the song “Leach”. The Unspoken King is simply a poor album by a band that I’m more than ready to give up on.