Review Summary: Death Metal with atmosphere and suspense
I know this band since years, since its debut on Razorback and it has remained rather underappreciated I feel. It kept on impressing. There was more to it than what seemed. The atmosphere is what made the band special in comparison to the old fashioned Death Metal bands of the current and past decade. After two full lengths and a few EPs, Crypticus has released its magnum opus in ‘The Barrens’.
While the band did everything right except being a little rigid I felt, the band has worked on its sound and the music is more dynamic now than it has probably ever been, and more importantly, worked on the atmospheric elements which are now a part of the music. It’s reminiscent of the Swedish Death Metal band Cemetary and its debut ‘An Evil Shade of Grey’ in that aspect, although the band borrows influences from all around the place, including Nocturnus.
The riffing is clean and staunch, reeking of the Swedish bands, including the melodic bits and that’s pleasant because it’s really well-balanced over here. There’s a marked improvement in the vocal department and it sounds more juicy, with more character. Dynamism is what the band needed, especially with Crypticus being mostly the sole outlet of a talented Patrick Bruss who has made this sound enjoyable, clear and old school, without overdoing either. Thankfully the services of Brynjar Helgetun have been employed on drums, and the experienced man has done a decent job, better than a computer.
The artwork by Derek Waugh looks fantastic and overall the music gives off a sizzling vibe, that is natural and comfortable. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard this album and that’s the charm – more than the music, it’s the band’s ability to emanate a chilling and imaginative horror or mysterious perspective is where it excels. It’s due for a release on Razorback and it couldn’t have picked a more fitting label, doing justice to its aesthetics and underground appeal.
Crypticus is Death Metal and everything that enticed us into it in the first place – atmosphere, intrigue, gruesome sounds and of course, great music.