Like the sight of land to a sailor stranded at sea, Cryptopsy's newest record has been unleashed to the masses of metalheads worldwide. What do you think of when you think of the name Cryptopsy? If you're thinking of the arrays of guttural, technical, chainsaw-to-the-face death metal they've released over the years, you're not alone. None So Vile
will forever be remembered as the mark to match within the genre. The departure of vocalist Lord Worm left many unanswered questions. Would Cryptopsy go on? What would happen to their music? The recent disappearance of guitarist Jon Levasseur, also the band's principal songwriter, only increased skepticism among fans. The one ray of hope came from Lord Worm's triumphant return behind the mic. With his legendary growl leading the band once again, it seemed as though Cryptopsy may once again resume the role of chieftains of insanity.
Yet sadly, as reluctant as I was to admit it, not even the return of Lord Worm could save this album. Despite many good points, it seems as though Levasseur was more of an asset then we though.
The promo release of The Pestilence That Walketh in Darkness
frightened most all fans of the band, me included. Though when I began to play this album, I was immediately entranced by the sweet acoustic playing on Luminium
. It had a great melody and set a somber mood for the album. But alas, virtually every aspect of the album was downhill as soon as In the Kingdom...
began to play. The first thing I noticed was the production. This isn't the most horribly produced album at all, especially by metal standards, but this is a slight step backward from the pristine yet powerful sound on their past few albums. Past albums sounded think and punishing, while this seemed to have a distant, raw feel. It was indeed an interesting choice for a brutal death album, one which accented the music in some instances yet perhaps held it back in others. For past Cryptopst fans it may be something that causes initial shock, but certainly nothing that can't be overlooked or gotten used to.
Production is not the only noticeable change the band has gone through. Lord Worm as we know him is no longer with them; his voice does not sound at all like it did back in the early days of Cryptopsy. The forceful low-end bark he once sported has been replaced by a higher, raspier shout. Too say the least, it's not good. The growling on this album sounds more like he was attempting to yell as hard as he could while trying to sound incoherent (I mean more so than he used to), which apparently makes death metal vocalists look like hardasses. His voice is relatively weak compared to the music behind him - I think I may actually prefer the old Mike DiSalvo to this new Worm style.
The music backing Lord Worm isn't much to speak of either. All opinions on the songwriting aside, this is another technical step backwards compared to the technical/experimental route the band seemed to be taking in past years. The guitars sound muddy as hell, but the riffs that come through sound stripped down. Soloing is very minimal on this album, an aspect that disappointed me, but still not nearly as much as the lack of chaos in the riffing. Either way, I enjoyed the shredding such as that on Adeste Infidelis
. The bass often disappears in the mix, which was never something Cryptopsy was known for. The trebly, slap bass lines were a unique aspect to the music. The band's savior at this point was indeed Flo Mounier. Flo pounds away with blasting and insane beats, which are in every way as impressive as usual. His solo receding double bass in The Curse of the Great
sticks in my mind; simple, yet memorable.
The track listing is fairly balanced if you listen to the entire album at once. This album has some songs of ace level, such as In the Kingdom...
, which hits the listener in the face like a wrecking ball after the calming intro Luminium
. The remastered version of Carrionshine
was an unpredictable showing of strange death metal. Although the promo version sparked much negative controversy, The Pestilence
is, by comparison, one of the better songs on the album. It has a more relaxed, ambient sound to it. The chord progressions throughout become lodged in my head for days after I hear it. Many other songs fit the style but don't do much to expand on it, such as the rather bland Adeste Infidelis
. Keeping the Cadaver Dogs Busy
really makes me wonder what the hell the guys were thinking when they made this. A jazz intro? It may work for some, but not here. Angelskingarden
would've been a fascinating venture with groove parts and some very appropriate synth filling had it not been for Worm's goat-raping rasp. The excellent instrumental work gave it quite a boost. The End
is a song that sound like it downright doesn't belong.
Had this album not contained some great songs amidst the sea of sub-par crap, it would be considered completely. However, thanks to the 3-4 good songs here, the album strikes the listener as a disappointment but still manages to throw some catchy riffs or fills that will not be forgotten. I'm not sure where the band will go from here, and honestly, I'm afraid to think about it after this. I'll keep this album tucked away nicely for sentimental reasons, but if I want some really good Cryptopsy, I'll pull out Blasphemy Made Flesh
- Catchiness dispersed throughout
- Good variation among songs
- Flo Mounier
- Bad Production
- Awful vocals
- Lacks consistency
- Musically, not up to technical standards
In the Kingdom Where Everything Dies, the Sky is Mortal
The Pestilence That Walketh in Darkness (Psalm 91:5-8)