Review Summary: A return to (sheer madness in musical) form...
Cryptopsy alienated a very good chunk, if not most, of their old school fanbase when they released The Unspoken King in mid-2008. With a new, crooning clean singer and taking many cues from the deathcore genre, such as breakdowns and more simplistic song structures, many were put off by the admittedly not very good songwriting and frankly awful vocals. Some even cried the familiar metalhead cry of "you sold out!" that so many fans of this style like to shout, although in this instance they actually had some backing. For me personally, I wasn't quite as pissed off as many others were, and there were actually a couple songs on the album I genuinely liked. When compared to the legendary beast that is None So Vile however, the album just melts in your hand like a dyslexic M&M. Now four years, two new bassists, and the return of original guitarist Jon Levasseur later, Cryptopsy have released their seventh full length album, simply titled Cryptopsy. And goddamn if it isn't a return to form.
Once you get past the awful album cover and the quite frankly retarded song titles (Damned Draft Dodgers" Really") and get to the actual music, you will find that Cryptopsy have injected back into their sound what made them famous to begin with: spastic, furious, insane death metal. Gone are the Linkin Park-esq clean vocals and the chuggariffic breakdowns, replaced by sheer madness in musical form. While not on the same visceral level as Blasphemy Made Flesh or None So Vile, musically this record is a sleek, styled throwback to the days of Whisper Supremacy, right down to the odd soft jazz break here and there. The return of Jon Levasseur can be seen as the reason for this, but I personally give a fair amount of credit to the band's former bassist/guitarist Youri Raymond. I'm not sure how much of the record he had a hand in writing (the only song he is known to explicitly had a hand in writing is The Golden Square Mile), but with all the talk he had when he was in the band of removing the TUK elements of their sound and teaching Matt McGachy how to sound actually brutal (more on him later), I'm confident that he influenced this record in a very positive manner. Longtime bassist Eric Langlois has been replaced on this album with newcomer Olivier Pinard, who fills the role of bass-master extraordinaire wonderfully. The bass on this album is one of the strong points, being very high in the mix and more than just following the rhythm guitar. Christian Donaldson holds down the fort sufficiently as rhythm to Jon Levasseur's lead, and also does a good job as the record's producer and mixer.
Then we have the aforementioned Matt McGachy on vocals. He was easily the biggest problem with The Unspoken King besides the mediocre songwriting; while his normal high pitched shriek was sufficient, his growls and hardcore shouts got tiring very fast, and his clean singing flat out sucked. On this album however he sounds like a force to be reckoned with. All those lessons with Youri have definitely helped, as he not only sounds like a monster on this record but he sounds like a monster that will tear out your unborn child and snack on it Anthropophagous style. Lastly we have one of the kings of extreme metal drummer, the hyperblasting master known as Flo Mounier. As with every Cryptopsy record, even The Unspoken King, Flo beats the *** out of his drum kit as if it gave him a warm beer, weaving in every possible accent and polyrhythm and 280 BPM blast beat to leave the listener sitting there in awe. As a drummer myself, the drumming on a record is usually the first thing I pay attention to when I turn on a new song. Flo's drumming to me has always been the key piece of the Cryptopsy puzzle, and without him that special something that makes Cryptopsy what it is can't really be complete.
In a time when legendary bands are making records that completely defy everything that people loved about them in the first place (Morbid Angel's Illud Divinum Insanus, Queensryche's Dedicated to Chaos, etc.), Cryptopsy, a band that had themselves created a record that repudiated everything about them that people originally fell in love with them for, have made an excellent throwback to the "good old days" as some would call them, making a manic, at times schizophrenic (see Red Skinned Scapegoat's soft jazz break and Damned Draft Dodgers' 7 seconds of elevator music) piece of death metal madness. Despite being a bit on the short side at a little under 35 minutes, that's more than made up for with what we get. A lot of bang for your buck indeed. Cryptopsy have been redeemed.