When you’re like us and operate on the assumption that most metal music is bad (or at least mediocre), you probably want to avoid Cannibal Corpse, since they’re still kind of the poster child of lame albeit studio-proficient death metal. In case you don’t, you can always see them on their upcoming US tour. As mentioned in the title, Obituary, Cryptopsy, and Abysmal Dawn will be supporting them. The first two bands in that selection admittedly produced some good content in their early days, but seem to be operating at a similar level of tired rehashes these days. Tickets will go on sale this Friday (December 11th), so you should soon be able to ignore our warning if you feel doing so is absolutely necessary.
Would it be too brief to say that The Book of Suffering is like older Cryptopsy, but not quite as good? Probably not. Cryptopsy’s legacy after 1996 appears to be one of steady decay and loss of focus, although you could be forgiven for placing too much importance on the aberration that was The Unspoken King. Bands that aren’t able to jump to a new trend successfully often retreat to what they know, hence this utterly safe and sterile EP. It’s almost as if Cryptopsy wasn’t merely imitating None So Vile, possibly with some brief intrusions from more recent albums, but that the only song they’d heard by previous band lineups was that album’s introductory track (“Crown of Horns”), and that this EP was an effort to imitate that specifically.
Cryptopsy wastes no time in trying to forge the appropriate links in your brain. The spoken intro to “Detritus” (which is so obviously self-referential that it will probably insult you) made me suspect that the band was about to blast and scream, and from then on not a moment passed that wasn’t analogous to something off None So Vile. The overall effect evenly splits between being more orderly and more chaotic than this EP’s obvious inspiration. 20 years of studio experience understandably make for a more precise performance, as does the apparent use of a template. On the other hand, the Cryptopsy of the past had a better understanding of how to glue riffs together to create narrative and contrast in their songs. This incarnation of the band isn’t quite there yet and often uses breakdowns laden with pinch harmonics instead. Furthermore, None So Vile drew on a greater palette of musical language; part of this is that Lord Worm was a more versatile vocalist in his prime than Matt McGachy; a greater part is that Cryptopsy wasn’t relying merely on themselves as a template. Funny then, that this problem should also happen to another one of today’s reviews…
In summary, the main problem with The Book of Suffering is that it’s uninspired, more than that it’s pseudorandom. Cryptopsy knows how to sound as if they are about to collapse into random noise at any moment without actually doing so, but they don’t do much of interest with this approach. Maybe if they hadn’t burnt themselves playing with the metalcore fire, this wouldn’t be a problem, although the amount of people looking forwards to a second The Unspoken King has to be rather less than those who will nonetheless accept The Book of Suffering as a continuation of form, if not necessarily substance.2 Comments
Tech-death gurus Cryptopsy have released a 45-second teaser video for their forthcoming EP, The Book of Suffering: Tome 1. Tome 1 is the first in a planned series of EPs collectively titled The Book of Suffering. Check out the teaser video at this location.
- 5/14 WORCESTER, MA @ RALPH’S ROCK DINER
- 5/15 TRENTON, NJ @ CHAMPIONSHIP BAR & GRILL
- 5/16 NEW YORK, NY @ NIHIL GALLERY
- 5/17 AMITYVILLE, NY @ REVOLUTION
- 5/18 BALTIMORE, MD @ BALTIMORE SOUNDSTAGE
- 5/19 VIRGINIA BEACH, VA @ SHAKAS LIVE
- 5/20 ATLANTA, GA @ MASQUERADE
- 5/21 SANFORD, FL @ WEST END TRADING CO.
- 5/22 MIAMI, FL @ CHURCHILL’S
- 5/23 PENSACOLA, FL @ THE HANDLEBAR
- 5/24 SAN ANTONIO, TX @ KOROVA
- 5/25 AUSTIN, TX @ DIRTY DOG
- 5/26 DALLAS, TX @ GAS MONKEY
- 5/27 KANSAS CITY, MO @ RIOT ROOM
- 5/28 DES MOINES, IA @ VAL AIR BALLROOM
- 5/29 CREST HILL, IL @ BADA BREW
- 5/30 CUDAHY, WI @ METAL BAR
- 5/31 CLEVELAND, OH @ AGORA
Cryptopsy rose to prominence in the mid-1990s with None So Vile, an album of blasting terror which utilized the style created by New York’s Suffocation to make simpler and more direct songs incorporating a rock/blues influence.
Although the band’s last decade or so has been spent trying to pursue modern metal styles, the “Ungentle Exhumation” demo showed them in the style of their first album (Blasphemies Made Flesh) but with the manic intensity of None So Vile.
It is thus considered by many Canadian death metal watchers to be the definitive Cryptopsy work. It can be purchased from the Cryptopsy bandcamp page for $8 CAD.3 Comments
Pre-1994 Death Metal’s dystopian discharge of sobering glimpses into the eschewed nature of reality left in its wake veritable visions of death, fire and unprecedented destruction. Given the release date of Blasphemy Made Flesh, we conclude that this album best represents a near last ditch effort on the part of the primordial fire that is death metal to burn with the glory of years past amidst an ominous yet inevitable decline in quality.
A refreshingly explosive album, the intensity of Blasphemy Made Flesh reveals an unrelenting desire to exhume much of the prerequisite spirit necessary to create a genuine death metal record. Exuberant, joyful and multifaceted Blasphemy Made Flesh employs indefatigably demented and blistering motifs and phrases to create omniscient and nihilistic visions of the perennial struggle between victim and victimizer. In so doing the listener is effectively reminded of this one eternal fact- that wolves lie in wait among the unsuspecting. Exploited down stroke technique combined with the resulting texture compounds this experience leaving one with the impression of being violated both physically and mentally with a blunted weapon. Left battered and bruised the listener is urged to synthesize and understand the presented raging struggles and their psychological implications.
However, despite the pummeling and crushing riff-work an acknowledged necessity of contrast is utilized to create ambiguous moods of contemplation from whence the deranged seemingly view the hideous work wrought upon their most recent victim. In addition to this, the rhythmically dynamic nature of this record fosters the development of a structurally complex album as Cryptopsy utilize a tactful rhythmic precision that through its capacity to delicately change the complexion of motifs, somewhat rivals the expert precision of Suffocation. It is in fact here that we discover much of the vaunted complexity of Cryptopsy, where motifs are manipulated via rhythmic dynamics, and while this may come across as tedious and perhaps overused to some, such technique creates an interesting layer of ever shifting context which listeners are challenged to follow and to interpret. These elements combined with an esoteric yet absurd and morbid sense of melody make this album a twisted and cryptic work whose seemingly contradictory elements point to higher level from whence this work must be contemplated. Although some tracks lack a consistently coherent narrative and may seem erratic at times, expert use of technique, brutality and vision combined with a haughty and commendable sense of ambition makes this work enduring and enjoyable.
Immolation are legends in Death metal and rightfully so, though their heydays were after the initial burst that characterized the NYDM scene and have cemented their place with the likes of Cryptopsy and Immortal for prolonging the lifespan of that classic period of metal. Longevity seems to be the forte of the band’s centerpieces Dolan and Vigna and while they released a few decent albums, none of them quite hold up to Here in After. Black Sabbath and Slayer stretched the palette for what was possible in metal and introduced endless possibilities whereas Immolation took one closed approach and pushed it to its limit on this album. Though Close To A World Below took experimentation further, the whole was not as cohesive or powerful. Let us look as the closing track which truly concludes the album.No Comments
Once upon a time, musicians needed to have a fat budget for a decent studio recording (and therefore, a record label to front the bill on the onset). But even with one, many extreme metal recordings in the 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s still sounded like complete ass. Even insanely popular death metal bands like Cryptopsy, who have sold over half a million records, have had albums with production so shitty that I can’t hear most of the riffs. Aside from a few innovators, most audio engineers (back when it was possible to make a career out of it), simply did not know how to record and produce metal.
However the industry has changed mightily over the last 15 years or so, and in today’s music world the phrase “everybody’s an engineer” is deeply rooted in truth. Whereas high end recording software was once closely guarded and outrageously priced, the freedom of file sharing as put many high end tools in the hands of the public at no cost and without the need for professional training to use. No longer do you have to shell out $10,000 for an album that sounds like it was recorded in the prior decade, nor do you need take out a ludicrous college loan for audio engineering school. Instead, all you need to do is make a few quick downloads to successfully arm yourself for a quality recording (assuming, of course, you have done your homework in practicing your instruments and listening).
This change in landscape greatly benefits the type of music personalities we saw in Darkthrone, Burzum, and Graveland- top-tier musicians more concerned with their art and ideology than pandering to a room of idiots via live performances (yes, I know Graveland and Darkthrone both played live: it was only at microfractions of their careers). And given that lefties are regulating and policing which bands are allowed to play live shows, there’s all the more reason for defiant metal musicians and bands to forgo live performances and focus their energies on quality studio recordings. With narcissism, attention seeking, and fan expectations removed, the opportunity for quality recordings to flourish is undoubtedly more abundant.
It is an honor and privilege to present to you, the readers of this infamous site, the favorite battle-tested software and tools from a road-tested veteran who began a career in metal when freeware first became widespread some 15 years ago:24 Comments
Tags: Audio Engineering, burzum, darkthrone, DAW, death metal, Digital Audio Workstation, EZDrummer, freeware, graveland, Guitar Rig, Izotope, mastering, metal, metal recording software, metal software, Midi, Mike Kyre, MikeMetal, one man bands, Pirate Bay, pirating, Reason, recording, remasters, software, Tabs
Some bands perfectly encapsulate a sound and an era through the appropriation and development of an existing idea. Van Halen fascinated the mainstream with his take on tapping and his twist on virtuosity which had existed for centuries on various string instruments. Iron maiden took the harmonies from Thin Lizzy and adapted them for their long narrative epics. Suffocation took the slow thrash metal staccato riff and completely changed its use by using them as breakdowns. While those three bands are heavily associated with their respective techniques that have been used by all sorts of bands, Suffocation has spawned multiple subgenres that are all terrible and are completely eluded by the original intention.13 Comments