Review Summary: Even as an early demonstration of Cryptopsy's power, Ungentle Exhumation is relentless and surprisingly polished.
Cryptopsy is these days an extremely well known band from the 90s death metal scene, with their excellent first 3 albums - including the monumental None So Vile
- standing as some of the best death metal albums of that decade. Of course, since then they've experienced a notable drop in quality, reaching lows such as the dull Once Was Not
and the insipid The Unspoken King
, but what goes perhaps un-noticed is the band's very first EP, Ungentle Exhumation
, a surprisingly polished rendition of some of the band's early material, most of which would find its way onto Blasphemy Made Flesh
, but with some appearing as late as ...And Then You'll Beg
. What's more, it sounds pretty awesome here.
What will perhaps surprise listeners here is actually the quality of the production compared to Blasphemy Made Flesh
. Here, the guitars are much more audible, while the bass and drums are still distinguishable at all times, although the drums could use a drop in the mix as they are a bit overpowering. The increased clarity over its successor helps to bring out the positive qualities in tracks like Gravaged (A Cryptopsy)
and Mutant Christ
, both of which already sounded pretty good on that album but sound arguably better here, evidencing Steve Thibault's excellent riffs and Kevin Weagle's solid backing bass, while Flo powers along almost as well here as he would in future. Lord Worm's vocals are also great here, although not quite on par with future offerings, and Dave Galea does a decent lead performance, though it doesn't match Jon Levasseur's future work on the following Cryptopsy releases.
While the two tracks mentioned prior are securely placed among Cryptopy's best tracks, however, the weakness of the EP lies in the other two, Abigor
and Back To The Worms
. The former relentlessly heads through tremolo picked riffs and blast beats at top speed, but it's generally not very memorable as not too many of the riffs distinguish themselves; while the track is still strong and a good addition to the album, it does get somewhat outclassed by the opening and closing tracks. Back To The Worms
has a lot of good tempo changes, but the riffs are uninspiring until about halfway through, making it the weakest track here; it's certainly understandable as to why it was the only track not to make onto Blasphemy Made Flesh, and why it was saved for an inferior offering.
While flawed, this is an impressive demonstration of Cryptopsy's abilities and definitely a surprisingly good demo. While it doesn't showcase all of the band's best features, it does demonstrate their crushing songs and riffs that make it among their better material, despite its comparatively primitive nature.