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Krypts – Unending Degradation

by Brett Stevens
June 17, 2013 –

krypts-unending_degradationDoom metal isn’t a genre, but a palette of moods. Since doom metal itself varies all over the place in tempo, it doesn’t make sense to look at the first rhythm on an album, but instead to grasp the overall feel.

Unending Degradation is a heck of a doom metal album. It is structured like doom metal in that tracks are based around a riff and a return to its theme, building with harmony and rhythm a plodding expectation that is both welcome when it is gratified, and gradually grinding us into the ground. Behind it is the science of the four-note minor key melody.

Someone tossed this to me and said, “Hey, check out this old school death metal,” but I think he was very, very high. This isn’t death metal at all; it’s doom-death, but its heart is doom metal. These tunes plod, trudge, dirge and resonate. The music doesn’t get any faster than the first Cathedral EP. The majority of it is radiantly dark and slow, and repetitive.

I wouldn’t expect old school death metal. There’s no riff Jenga here. There’s layers of variants on a theme producing a mood more like an ambient band or techno than death metal. But if you like the old school dark and doomy, this album full of catchy melodies and churning rhythms should satisfy.

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13 comments

  • Anthony

    I get what this band is going for, but I think that Hooded Menace and Anhedonist do it a lot better. Maybe because they lean a bit more towards “riff Jenga”?

    Reply
      1. Sarcomere

        This term captivates me. My intuition from context says it’s about complex asymmetrical riffs. Is it about taking away as many unnecessary elements as possible without internal collapse? Starting with a riff and whittling it down to it’s most blunt communication?

        Reply
  • fallot

    The reason I kept coming back to this site was its position on critique. It doesnt (didnt?) go along with the idea of criticism as product. Most film and music reviews read like cereal reviews; full of sugary goodness! Ten thumbs up! A description of superficialities followed by You Will Enjoy This or You Will Not Enjoy This. With some of the front page bands I feel a slow edging towards this. It is kept in check with faint praise and language careful to emphasize subjectivity where that is what is being offered. The incisiveness is still there and I hope it does not suffer.

    Reply
  • MF

    I come back to this site several times per week because when the writing is on point it is incisive, descriptive, and provides a cohesive argument for the value of the work as art. Unfortunately at least 50% of the time, including with this review, the analysis is well-written crap, where the writer spends most of the review engaging in an irrelevant argument with an imaginary adversary regarding the appropriate genre classification. Really, who cares if this is OSDM or doom-death? Describe the music. This constant need to identify a genre is tiresome, and results in favored albums being given a convoluted and unhelpful description (“doom-death” with the “heart of doom metal”??), and the disfavored albums being written off immediately as “metalcore” or “indie rock.” The review of Summoning’s Old Mornings Dawn should be what every review on this site aspires toward, regardless of whether the album is being praised or vilified, instead of relying on these reductive, irrelevant, and demonstrably false genre discussions (the most offensive of which is this preposterous “metal riffs fit together, metalcore riffs don’t” claim). I appreciate and support the work being done on DM.org and believe that work is absolutely necessary for the health of metal, but you are doing your readers and the music a disservice with these poor reviews.

    Reply
    1. Lord Mosher of the Solitary Pit

      I disagree! Genre distinction is super important for those of us who know what each subgenre and style (which is not the same) will offer the listener, and its core ideological, musical and structural differences. Genre distinction becomes irrelevant in the hands of other less experienced reviewers but when it comes to Brett Steven’s distinctions, I care because it tells me how close to a musical idea the music aspires to be.

      Reply
      1. Lord Mosher of the Solitary Pit

        Oh and one more thing… there is no way that Brett Stevens could ever write anything that could be judged as crap; that is virtually impossible!

        Reply
        1. The Psychiatrist from Some Kind of Monster

          Are you Brett’s mom?

          I generally agree though. This site has found a nice middle ground between the rhetorically labyrinthine idiot savant-discourse of the DLA and those shallow reviews that read like ingredient indexes.

          Reply
    2. fallot

      That is a pretty good description actually. If one understands what death metal and doom are then the distinction between death metal made out of doom sounds and doom made out of death sounds becomes clearer. This band is the latter case. The distinction between metalcore and metal riffs is also an evident one; roughly speaking metal riffs form a `melody` (a coherent musical idea) whereas metalcore riffs do not (even though they may contain x-note melodies). This has been discussed in some excellent comments on previous articles and interviews, I invite you to read them (Ara article/interview is one such).

      Reply
    3. fallot

      Another possible way to consider it: Music is a language. Even strange, alien languages are often identifiable as language. Contrast that with gibberish. Metal has coherence, metalcore is gibberish. Like a modernist poem made out of nonsense (but with some form and therefore at least barely recognizable as a poem), metalcore is music made out of heavy metal sounds that dont `fit`.

      Reply
      1. Brett Stevens Post author

        Music is a language. Even strange, alien languages are often identifiable as language. Contrast that with gibberish. Metal has coherence, metalcore is gibberish.

        Metal wants to complete a sentence; metalcore wants to scream different words at you to keep you at a rate of high stimulation without building any kind of narrative.

        Reply

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