Review Summary: A near flawless album musically that trips itself over with a bad production job.
Cryptopsy is a name that is nearly synonymous with the words death metal. Ever since the band's inception they have pumped out solid releases, bar one or two slightly sub-standard albums, and along the way created their own distinct sound that stands out to anyone with an ear for heavy music. The band are renowned for lovingly crafting songs with demonically low vocals, blast beats that are almost double the speed of many bands in the genre, highly technical riffing and bass work that is both audible and makes an effort to move away from the traditions of many metal bassists of merely following the guitar riffs. They are best known for the masterpiece of intense music that was None So Vile but their debut is also often rated highly.
Blasphemy Made Flesh was released on Invasion Records in November 1994 to large amounts of praise with the almost unheard of levels of intensity in the instrumental work and the insane vocal performance enough to leave the critics dumbfounded. The opinions on this album are one hundred percent accurate with it standing out as a landmark in brutal death metal, released long before the band was messing around with deathcore or technical wankery. Blasphemy Made Flesh is a straightforward assault on the ears with incredibly fast tremolo picked guitar work that occasionally morphs into a power chord-based riff or else a string of notes with pinch harmonics scattered throughout. The drumming is something truly special on here with Flo Mounier putting in an inhuman performance behind the kit but also a varied one. Throughout the forty minute run time he uses ultra fast blast beats, thrash beats and really slow but interesting beats often ridden with fills every few seconds that constantly keep the listener on their toes. Also found on this album are some absolutely killer shed solos such as in the iconic piece of death metal that is fan favorite Open Face Surgery.
Whilst on the subject of this song it stands out as being a particularly well refined song for this stage in the band's career, with some tight use of tremolo picking and a much slower riff toward the end when vocalist Lord Worm growls the titular words. This song also uses the aforementioned pinch harmonics to great effect as nothing would have done a better job at giving this song some variety to its incredibly fast and aggressive nature than a few squeal notes mixed in there. It is also a song that is note worthy for having perhaps the greatest high scream in death metal and certainly one of the longest, with the scream beginning at 3.44 and lasting through to 4.12. This is a particularly well executed part of the album due to the way the instrumentals are still very sharp and precise but they seem to relax a little bit to allow the listener to pay attention to that one vocal moment that tops almost all others in the genre.
The other songs are strong enough as well with those in the first half of the album standing out a little more. Serial Messiah opens with a dark sample before leading into a fast tremolo picked line and some groovy drumming with a thrash beat ridden with quick fills. This song would be a good one to see Lord Worm's other qualities aside from the lengths he can hold a scream for and also one to display the band's ability to write a solid and meaty slower riff. Worm's vocals are very low and absolutely impossible to understand but he also has a knack for throwing in a powerhouse higher scream that makes him sound ready to take the listener's face off. This album has a few slower riffs scattered throughout with many of the better ones found on Serial Messiah and about a minute and ten seconds into Abigor. The band mainly structures these around simplistic power chords but they are always used to great effect, signalling a change in the direction the song is going and work as a great dynamic that the band uses to their advantage.
The one major gripe that can be found with this album is that the production is truly appalling when one considers the crisp and well mixed album that the band would produce not long afterwards. The first thing that you will notice is the rough tones of every instrument and, whilst the guitars have their bite, they feel flat compared to many death metal debuts out there such as Eaten Back To Life and Altars Of Madness. Also there is the fact that the mixing is rather poor as the bass guitar is actually louder in the mix than the guitars are which is interesting as this is one of the few cases of a mishap like this but also makes for a decent experience for bassists out there. The vocals and drums are really the instruments on here that dominate the mix which should not be the case and whilst it is not exactly Once Was Not or the muddy guitar tones on The Unspoken King, this is a bad production job.
All in all Blasphemy Made Flesh is a spectacular dose of fast paced death metal that relentlessly attacks your ears with quick guitar work but also keeps you interested by having varying speeds on nearly every song. Check out Open Face Surgery if you are unsure as to whether this album is to your tastes as that is perhaps the best song off of the album but beware the ugly production job.