Review Summary: With Afterburner, Kryptos don't just deserve your attention, they're demanding it.
It's safe to say that most metal fans have what I like to call, the "sweet spot". This is where it just seems a band can do no wrong, and hover at just the right intensity, structure or tone. With Afterburner, Kryptos have created an undeniably entertaining collection of songs, that lands itself right in the middle of that spot for fans of traditional and early thrash metal. Despite somewhat lacking in variety, Afterburner has the potential, from this listeners perspective, to be a dark horse album of the year candidate.
Stylistically, Kryptos are delightfully shameless in showcasing their affection for Metal, never veering into any sort of progressive grandioseness or technicality. Instead, Afterburner is more than happy to remain at its mid to fast pace riffs, mildly raspy shouts, and catchy as hell song structures. With blistering opener and title track Afterburner, it's immediately made present this is undeniably a proper heavy metal album, no question there… Yet Kryptos have somehow straddled that line of being catchy and inoffensive, without ever sacrificing the sincerity of their desire to make 100% authentic kick ass metal.
This balancing act is done to perfection on the smooth Red Dawn which has a slightly slower tempo and softer lead riff than the rest of the album, but the infectious leads will stay with you for days. Similarly, the fast tempo tracks, like Crimson Queen and the aforementioned Afterburner crank up the intensity while still retaining the infectiousness heard throughout.
Unfortunately, that fluctuation in tempo is quite limited, and it can take a few listens before each song will become immediately distinguishable from the next. So, with it's admittedly monotonous pace and tone, how could this possibly be an Album of the Year contender" To put it simply, there is no other album that is so relentlessly endearing in the same way Afterburner is. Every single song has infectious riffing, good structure, and never requires the listener to make an investment in order to reach a payoff. Just throw on some headphones, hit play, and enjoy. That's it. That about sums up how I feel about this album, and how it lands itself in the AOTY conversation. When you just need to hear metal, you will absolutely be satiated with this no matter what track you start with.
Bravo, Kryptos! Afterburner is wildly entertaining, unbelievably consistent, and just kicks ass in general.