Review Summary: While too brutal to be sweet, the phrase "short and sweet" describes this EP well.
Regardless of your view of everything Cryptopsy have done after it, there’s no denying that None So Vile
is one of the most influential extreme albums in existence. Lord Worm’s vocals were only matched by the likes of Demilich’s Antti Boman in terms of their sheer brutality. Cryptopsy may never reach the heights of an album like that again, samey as it may be from an outsider’s perspective, such as my own. At one point in their career, namely the section in time that birthed The Unspoken King,
a decent enough foray into deathcore, it seemed as if they didn’t want to make another None So Vile.
Reception for their attempt at a deathcore release was mixed to negative as expected, so they wound up releasing 2012’s Cryptopsy,
generally seen as their return to form. Since then, they’ve been working on a series of EP’s, all entitled The Book of Suffering,
this one being the sophomore release in that series.
At a mere seventeen minutes, while clearly not on par with the likes of None So Vile
when it comes to the writing quality, The Book of Suffering: Tome II
is certainly easier to digest. It’s true that Cryptopsy obviously isn’t a band you go for in search of a dynamic sound, but for some listeners, that may prove to be a tiring endeavor after long enough. While it does lack in stylistic diversity, as was the case with the previous entry in this series, the band makes up for it in their sheer consistency. Closer “The Laws of the Flesh” opens up with a chunky bass line from none other than bassist Olivier Pinard, building to a menacing piece of technical death metal, while opener “The Wretched Living” comes in swinging with its frenetic pace, setting the tone for the rest of the material here. Matt McGachy does his best Lord Worm impression throughout the four tracks on here, which brings this far closer to the likes of Once Was Not
than the likes of The Unspoken King.
Of course, he’s no Worm, so McGachy’s performances may be seen as a cheap imitation, but for what it’s worth, he does well enough. Christian Donaldson’s guitar work is standard Cryptopsy fare; if you know the band already, this will feel very familiar to you.
At this point, I don’t think many expect Cryptopsy to truly top None So Vile,
especially given how long it’s remained on top. Instead, they’re simply happy that the band is still producing music of some level of quality. Whatever the case may be, The Book of Suffering: Tome II
is a solid entry within the discography of a band that’s been hard at work for roughly thirty years to date. It’s roughly on par with its predecessor in terms of quality and enjoyability; this makes for an easily digestible yet punishingly brutal experience, especially when compared to the band’s back catalog. It may not win over anyone who isn’t already sold on their established style, but the content within this Tome
is as proficient as you can expect from a band that’s endured as many lineup changes and stylistic pitfalls as Cryptopsy has had over the years.