Review Summary: A very diverse, yet focused, release by a group who should be far more noticed.
Let's face it, just about every genre gap has been breached at some point in time. Whether it is successful or not, it is part of the adventurous nature of music to drop different styles and genres into the musical cauldron, stir, and see who is willing to taste the results. From the rap-rock antics of groups like Rage Against the Machine, to the integration of jazz and metal by bands like Cynic, there is no stopping the pestilent hand of musicians from reaching out and grabbing another influence to toss into their art. This brings me to the group at hand, Cryptodira, who seem to have carved themselves an intriguing niche, blending the technicality and innovation of progressive death-metal with the droning beauty of post-rock and post-metal. Bands in the past have done similar things, such as Ulcerate, but without the sheer variety of sound as conveyed by Cryptodira.
The EP begins with a short track titled "The Birth of a King", which shows their death-metal leanings very well. The final portion of the track is very reminiscent of the repeated segment or "Orosirian" by The Ocean Collective, where the vocalist lets out his scream with nearly no instrumentation. It is really on the second track, "Either Fly or Fall Faster", that things get more interesting, and Cryptodira begins to show their expansive array of styles. The post-metal segment of this song is, in my opinion, one of the best post-metal pieces to ever be conceived, never rendering itself as monotonous or boring. The bass carries the music in exemplary fashion, and it builds to some of the most beautiful 32nd note bright guitar screeches ever. The song ends with a somewhat hardcore-esque outro, with the drums and bass playing a simple rhythm behind the vocalists spastic yelling and ranting. After this track, you have a much better idea of what to expect, with sounds ranging from post-metal bliss similar to ISIS or Cult of Luna, to progressive metal tendencies along the likes of Between the Buried and Me, Death, and Meshuggah, and even to the hardcore sounds of Converge or Trap Them.
The EP continues on with three more track of captivating beauty and brutality. The third track, "On Sleepwalking", shows off some of the vocalists clean vocals, and begins on the same wavelength as something created by Tool, only furthering their experimentation and diversity. The greatest thing this band tackled, though, is managing to draw influence from so many different groups, and still being original in their art, and also still bringing a feeling of focused energy. Throughout the whole EP you never once question the stylistic changes in a song, or thought the group was too scatterbrained.
Despite the immense love I have for this release, there are definitely some flaws I noticed. The first is the vocalist. While he does have a very solid growl, he is not very tonally active. Sometimes you can listen and just hope to hear a different pitch bellow out from he singer. Lastly, while the drummer is quite marvelous, the prevalence of steady, un-patterned, double-bass work can be displeasing at times.
At the end of the day, this EP is phenomenal can be appreciated by fans of many different sects of metal, and I recommend it to any fans of ISIS, Cult of Luna, Intronaut, Rosetta, Death, Between the Buried and Me, Meshuggah, The Ocean, The Contortionist, and Converge.