Review Summary: A decent compilation album but essentially a pointless release from Cryptopsy.
I’m probably in the minority that genuinely enjoyed Cryptopsy’s 2012 self-titled album. It felt like a return to form for the band, bringing back the technical in-your-face riffs from their Whisper Supremacy
days and scrapping the abysmal clean vocals from The Unspoken King
. It had no Lord Worm, though, which was the biggest disappointment since current vocalist Matt McGachy just doesn’t cut it as a death metal vocalist, but instrumentally the band was as tight as ever. Having said that, it was to my surprise that Crpytopsy had another release planned for 2012 – a two disc best-of collection including a few new tracks and previously unreleased material. A death metal band making a best-of compilation had me scratching my head at first, but I decided to give The Best of Us Bleed
the benefit of the doubt.
Opener and one of three brand new tracks ‘Boden’ is a good representation of new Cryptopsy. It’s blisteringly fast with crystal clear production, contrasting the darker muddy production on Cryptopsy’s earlier works. It also features the return of McGachy’s higher screams (for better or worse) that were absent from their self-titled album. The other new songs, ‘A Grateful Demise’ and ‘Holomodor’, continue in a similar fashion aka speedy and tech riffs galore, even showcasing McGachy's new-found love for guttural lows (which he pulls off surprisingly well). Now, my reaction to track four is accurately represented its title: Oh My Fucking God
If you remember, this is a cover of the classic Strapping Young Lad song off the essential extreme metal album City
. It features the return of Matt McGachy’s clean vocals, yet oddly enough that’s not the real crime here. The original ‘Oh My Fucking God’ was full of the same passionate vehemence that burned through the entirety of City
. Devin Townsend’s alter ego in Strapping Young Lad was a mischievous madman creating fast, clinically insane-sounding music, and through this alter ego he created one of the most prolific and accomplished industrial metal albums to date. Cryptopsy’s version is a stale, painfully monotonous interpretation; plus the out-of-place blast beats and abhorrent vocals don't help its cause in the slightest.
Thankfully, that’s the only cover on the album. The rest of Disc 1 and beginning of Disc 2 is a collection of songs ranging from Blasphemy Made Flesh
to The Unspoken King
in backwards chronological order, and to those who haven’t heard Cryptopsy before this may be pleasantly surprised by track picks such as ‘Cold Hate, Warm Blood’, ‘Abigor’, and ‘Slit Your Guts’. They aren’t re-recorded or re-mastered, however, so if you’ve heard those albums, you’ve heard these songs. The latter half of Disc 2 contains the live performances and unreleased rehearsal demos, and while the live songs are decent from a musical standpoint, the performance and production on None So Live
were far superior. As far as the rehearsal demos are concerned, they have such terrible sound quality that they probably would’ve been better off staying unreleased.
The bulk of the compilation is the "best-of" aspect, and the tracks they picked from their previous albums are admittedly great ones. From The Unspoken King
, their most criticized and almost universally disliked album due to their foray into metalcore, they included the three best tracks. ‘Carrionshine’ and ‘We Bleed’ are stellar picks from Once Was Not
and And Then You’ll Beg
respectively. Their most technical release, Whisper Supremacy
, has excellent songs like ‘White Worms’ and ‘Emaciate’ to close out the first disc. The second disc begins with the ominous piano intro of ‘Phobophile’, which leads into the piercing ‘Slit Your Guts’, and ‘Crown of Horns’ - three flawless death metal tracks from their 1996 magnum opus None So Vile
. From their debut album Blasphemy Made Flesh
, the relentless ‘Defenstration’ and ‘Abigor’ make an appearance. My only complaint is that they didn’t include the fan favorite ‘Open Face Surgery’, featuring one of, if not the longest scream ever recorded across any genre.
All things considered, if you haven't listened to Cryptopsy, don't bother with this and spin None So Vile
for their absolute best material. If you do listen to Cryptopsy, download their three new tracks and ignore the rest. Still, aside from the embarrassing cover and throwaway demos and live tracks, The Best of Us Bleed
isn't by any means bad. It contains a wide variety of classics across all eras of the band and the three new songs do kick a decent amount of ass, but after releasing Cryptopsy
earlier this year and proving that they're still as proficient as they were 12 years ago, The Best of Us Bleed
comes across as nothing more than a cheap cash grab if I've ever seen one.