Review Summary: A flawed take on deathcore, but a solid album in its own right.25 of 29 thought this review was well written
What can be said about The Unspoken King
that hasn’t been said already. It’s a classic death metal band’s attempt at deathcore, which is an absolutely terrible concept on paper. Those who have heard None So Vile
would cringe at the idea that the same band would use clean vocals and chug breakdowns on one of their albums, but oddly enough Cryptopsy make it work… for the most part. This is an extremely flawed album, there’s no doubt about it, but ignoring the band name and their previous records, The Unspoken King
is simply a solid, enjoyable metalcore album.
The band line up has changed almost consistently on the band’s previous albums. This album’s line up in particular caused the most controversy among death metal fans because of the addition of a keyboardist, something that sounds sacrilegious for a band like Cryptopsy to do. The use of keyboards is sparse on the album though, only used to add atmosphere in some sections and very rarely standing out on its own. This album, like Cryptopsy’s other albums, is all about the riffs. Thankfully, guitarists Alex Auburn and Christian Donaldson deliver.
The riffs aren’t nearly as technical as their previous albums. Most of the technicality has been swapped for melody and mood although there are some shining moments of guitar insanity, notably in the breaks of “Worship Your Demons” and the guitar solo in “Contemplate Regicide.” “Silence the Tyants,” one of the strongest songs on the record, has a number of great riffs throughout and an interesting use of keyboards in the bridge, giving it a very dark atmosphere similar to the bleak album cover. Despite the overwhelming number of catchy riffs on the album, moments of old Cryptopsy do shine through. Tracks like “Leach,” “Bound Dead,” and “The Plagued” feature riffs that would fit right in on Whisper Supremacy
, even quoting a part of “Phobophile” to remind us that they’re still the same band.
While the album is very tight instrumentally, vocally is where the album falls flat. Matt McGachy isn’t a bad vocalist by any means but his style of vocals doesn’t really fit with the rest of the band. His growls sound similar to Tommy Rogers’ on Between the Buried and Me’s self-titled album and his cleans are just painfully mediocre. Speaking of cleans, some vocal melodies on this album are absolutely vomit-inducing. The bridge of “Bound Dead” features some cringe worthy nu metal-esque vocals, sections of “Resurgence of an Empire” are difficult to listen to, and the intro of “The Plagued” made me question whether or not I wanted to live anymore. Not all the clean vocals are bad though. In fact, they fit quite well on songs like “Leach” and “Contemplate Regicide,” but overall the album would’ve been much better off without them.
The biggest fault with the album is “Bemoan the Martyr.” This song is an embarrassment to Cryptopsy, and I’d go so far to say that it’s one of the worst songs ever written. It starts with some cheesy samples and a boring bass line, but once the vocals come in is when the song gets truly awful; nu metal-esque vocals at their absolute worst. The song picks up a little in the middle, sounding like a completely different song yet still incredibly uninteresting, then finally returning to the abysmal nu metal section to close out the song. It’s a chore to listen to and the album would've been much stronger if this song was never conceived. The album outro “(Exit) The Few” is worthless as well, having a very odd melodic groove for the first half then closing with the worst use of harsh vocals on the album.
Thankfully on The Unspoken King
, the positives weigh out the negatives. The instrumentals are still as tight as ever, the production is a step up from their previous efforts, and the guitar riffs shine throughout. This album is not the Cryptopsy we all know and love, far from it, but for metalcore fans such as myself that’s not such a bad thing. It’s a fresh change of pace from the mundane Once Was Not
and And Then You’ll Beg
and I applaud them for risking their reputation to try something different. Going in expecting another Cryptopsy album will ensure disappointment, but if you listen to it with an open mind and trying to forget that this is the same band that made None So Vile
, The Unspoken King
is an enjoyable album for fans of extreme metal.
- Silence the Tyrants
- The Headsmen
- Worship Your Demons
- Contemplate Regicide