Cryptic Winds
Storms Of The Black Millenium
[Breath of Night/Merciless]

Straightforward, raw, brooding, and fucking black. America has been getting a lot of attention lately, probably most of which is undeserved - it is true that some sick and ugly bands have emerged (Krieg, Infernal Oak, etc.) but it still produces an unbelievable amount of trite and boring nonsense, and it's good to see that somebody has stepped the notch up once again. This is way ahead of fellow Floridians Black Witchery and Kult ov Azazel (cool guys, but I can't really get into their band at all) and it easily manages to keep my attention and stay extreme throughout, with a very suffocating and thick atmosphere that feels completely choking at times. Nevertheless, it's probably good that they cut this off just under half an hour, because it definitely gives you your fix but nothing ever really changes either.

I'd like to begin by saying I probably wouldn't like this nearly as much if not for some phenomenal production; Storms of the Black Millenium almost has that "submerged underwater" feel where everything seems to rise up and attack you from the depths yet still retains great audible quality. To keep the harsh, candid, and quick black metal environment from becoming completely undeviating Cryptic Winds interject some well done ambient passages into this (synths) and acoustic moments, but nothing is really overdone. The title track and "Dark Paradise" are particularly amazing songs and should make you want to go beat up a bunch of random civilians with your bare hands.

I gave myself some extra time before reviewing this one so that I could make sure I didn't get bored with it (Selbstmord and Hadez recently ended up having that effect on me - I played them constantly at first, but over an extended period I wasn't finding my way back to them much), and Cryptic Winds has easily survived the test. This album comes heavily recommended. Terrorist metal!

2002 hando