Review Summary: Aside from an insipid vocal and bass performance, Cryptopsy release their finest album in the last few years.
Ever since Cryptopsy lost their lead guitarist and main songwriter John Levasseur in 2005, the band have been on shaky ground. After regaining and once again losing their original vocalist Lord Worm, the band released their widely criticized album The Unspoken King
, with new vocalist Matt McGachy. With their use of clean vocals, breakdowns and keyboards, long time fans were afraid that the once-Death Metal legends had become part of the modern Deathcore trend. It has since been uncertain as to how they’d regain their credibility as songwriters. Even long time bassist Eric Langlois has departed. But now, John Levasseur has returned, and along with him a brand new studio album, simply titled Cryptopsy
, stated by the band to be “their most brutal, technical and dynamic release to date.”
Could it be this new album is a triumphant return to form for Cryptopsy, or will the band once again fail and fade into obscurity?
With John Levasseur back on board, it wasn’t too difficult to imagine that the band were at least going to be set on the right track. The band have put their feet back into their Technical Death Metal roots, and that much is obvious. Vocalist Matt McGachy is even trying his best to emulate Lord Worm and his efforts are (unsurprisingly) futile. When you’re stuck listening to him for too long, it just becomes a pain. His annoying vocals are like that tag on your shirt that you try to rip off when it keeps tickling the back of your neck. Even though it’s a step up from his deplorable effort on The Unspoken King
, McGachy needs to naturally advance his vocals, rather than stretching his voice to try and match the power and brutishness of Lord Worm’s (especially when he cannot even nearly match his range). His monotonous vocals weigh heavily on the music and drag this album down.
Aside from the obvious vocal beefs, the music, for the most part, seems enough to make up for it. Flo Mounier being the only constant member since 1992, he still has the drumming chops to remain a consistent upside to the band and doesn’t fail to impress here, showing great technical prowess and being able to match the pace set by guitarists Levasseur and Christian Donaldson. Along with this, the album features quite a few appreciable guitar riffs and solos, which show off the technical and creative skill of both guitarists (assuming it wasn’t all just Levasseur). Also with Eric Langlois gone, we have yet to see how the new bassist, Olivier Pinard fares. Without trying to seem too critical, Pinard, along with vocalist Matt, seems to be the weak links in the band. His bass work seems too lack the ability to flow neatly alongside the guitars and feels very forced in his effort to keep up. At a couple of points they stop the rest of the band to make way for a small bass lick, which just sounds contrived and utterly like he’s trying too hard. The band also feature a few moments where they try something a little ‘experimental,’ perhaps most worth mentioning is the Jazzy interlude on ‘Red-Skinned Scapegoat.’ But hold your horses, it doesn’t actually sound as goofy and superfluous (say, like how Between The Buried And Me did the same thing on their album Colors
), but actually seems to do a good job of transitioning and fitting well in the context of the music. Luckily, another redeeming factor for the album is its production; a neat mastering job and smooth production has allowed for each element to be heard and enjoyed when need be and adds to the overall enjoyment.
Aside from an insipid vocal and bass performance, Cryptopsy release their finest album in the last few years. With (mostly) impressive musicianship, song writing and a hope to put a modern spin on the old Technical Death Metal style, the band show they’re capable of maturing their music and not giving into trends because of the times. Far from their most brutal outing, Cryptopsy
is technical, dynamic and an overall good sign of what the band has ahead of them.