Review Summary: A fantastic stab at technical death metal that is unfortunately hindered by a woeful vocal performance
Following the release of their stellar, hyper-influential critically acclaimed album None So Vile, Cryptopsy opted to shift toward a more technical style of death metal for their follow-up album. However, this would not come without a price as Lord Worm left the band aside from two cameo appearances on Whisper Supremacy. The band decided they were done with sticking to a handful of power chords and the usual tremolo picked guitar lines on the top three strings and wanted to really push themselves with a collection of finger-amputating songs, with their new vocalist being Mike DiSalvo. The result was an album that garnered mixed opinions from press reviewers and fans of the band.
The album opens up with a series of distorted sounds and vocals, before diving headfirst into a never-ending pool of riffs that display the new Cryptopsy sound in its youthful prime. The riffs are a schizophrenic mixture of all manner of chords played across all six strings, and the solos are the usual sweep picked soloing that is expected from Cryptopsy, only a million times more intricately written. The songs change riffs faster than the human ear can pick up, and the overall sound of this track (and the album in general) is one of an absolute wall of sound. This release is a technical marvel on the instrumental side, with the riffs being among the most creative out there and the drumming is exactly what should be expected from Flo Mounier-absolutely ridiculously fast blast beats. The bass work is as audible as ever and there are a few quick little fills such as on the song Emaciate.
The vocals are the most often debated thing about Whisper Supremacy, and I have to say that on here Mike DiSalvo is a little more tolerable than he was on the follow-up release And Then You'll Beg. His growls have a very hardcore punk shouting feel to them except they are a lot lower in tone, although not close to the undecipherable lows that Lord Worm was hitting on the two releases before hand. In some ways it is nice to be able to decipher the lyrics for once on a Cryptopsy album, but it seriously hinders the overall feel of the release. The previous two albums felt organic in nature in the sense that every member of the band contributed to an impenetrable wall of noise and Lord Worm's "ruh ruh ruh" sounds just added to this as you were not really focusing on the lyrics. On Whisper Supremacy this is not the case as you listen out for what DiSalvo is saying (and half the time it makes about as much sense as trying to change the channel on a TV when it's off).
The songs are a solid bunch but are definitely hindered by the vocal performance. Loathe in particular stands out as a landmark in technical death metal, having a certain rhythmic feel to it despite its absolutely insane riffing (this is arguably the most difficult song to play off the album). Emaciate's first two or three riffs are essentially just random noise before the song develops a real groove when the vocals come in, but this only serves to add to the feel of the song as the usual bezerk Cryptopsy opener. It seems on Cryptopsy albums as though the band are deliberately trying to sift through their pool of listeners to find only the hardest-nerved listener by making the first songs always open with some of the most senseless noise ever. Serpent's Coil is a solid closer that has some ridiculously intricate riffing, and Cold Hate Warm Blood has some awesome drumming as well as housing one of Worm's two cameos on here.
Whisper Supremacy is an album that is mainly a solid release, except that the vocals drag it down into a cesspool at times. If you can just zone Mike DiSalvo out of the picture then your experience will be considerably better.