I got an e-mail from Crypotopsy this morning. My pulse rate spiked, and so did my curiosity? Why, I wondered, was Cryptopsy writing me? And then I remembered.
I pre-ordered their forthcoming self-titled album — the album that I and every other Cryptopsy fan on the planet hopes will be a resurrection of the band who brought us None So Vile (1996) and other wonderful offerings over the following years — but who took a wrong turn with The Unspoken King (2008). And one of the perks that was to come with a pre-order was the chance to get a download of two tracks from the album in advance of its September 11 release date. And in that e-mail were codes for download of those two songs — which turn out to be the opening track, “Two-Pound Torch”, and the third one, “Red-Skinned Scapegoat”.
Well, of course, I dropped what I was doing and immediately downloaded the two tracks. I strapped on the patented NO CLEAN SINGING headphone-helmet with the built-in rawhide bit (to prevent biting through your tongue), the vacuum-seal goggles (to keep your eyeballs from popping out), and the forehead padding (to prevent skull fractures if you headbang your noggin’ straight into a wall or other inflexible surface). You see, I had my hopes up.
And I played those two songs. And then I played them again. And then I listened to None So Vile. And then I played the two new songs again.
And I’m here to report that Crytopsy are FUCKING BACK!
Let me count the ways:
First, the music is almost unrelentingly brutal. Listening to None So Vile is an experience that’s almost too intense, and the new songs capture a healthy dose of that intensity. Flo Mournier is an absolute madman behind the kit on these songs — which is to say, he delivers what you expect: an all-guns-blazing, gut-ripping attack. The jagged, jabbing riffage is also full-bore nearly all the time – furious, ripping, and remorseless.
Second, the music is fast as rockets and vividly technical. Fingers fly and so do the notes — they fly like a hail of scalpels from a storm-whipped sky. And did I mention that Flo Mournier is otherworldly behind he kit? Well, guitarists Jon Levasseur and Chris Donaldson and bassist Olivier Pinard are also pretty fuckin’ otherworldly, too.
Third, to answer the question on everyone’s mind, vocalist Matt McGachy is suitably beastly. There’s no clean singing, nothing but gruesome, gut-level roaring (and the occasional pig squeal). No, he doesn’t have Lord Worm’s range, but he strikes the right tone for the songs.
I also have to tell you that the new songs are not a complete clone of the early Cryptopsy sound.
There are more more squirmy, swarmy, swirly, lead guitar flights of exuberance and soloing than on None So Vile, and possibly even more schizophrenic jumps in rhythm. This has the effect of reducing the brutality quotient somewhat, but man it’s fun to hear.
And speaking of lessening the brutality, at the 4:35 mark on “Red-Skinned Scapegoat” there’s an abrupt change in direction with a pure-jazz instrumental. It lasts for all of 20 seconds, and then the head-whipping resumes. It’s just a wtf? surprise, though of course None So Vile had its share of surprises, too. I should also mention that the same song includes a segment of compulsive riffing before and after that jazzy break that’s guaranteed to trigger headbanging.
Gorod, Spawn of Possession, Nile, and Psycroptic have already turned out good-to-great tech-death albums this year, and the ones from Sophicide and Dysrhythmia that are due out later this month are sounding very strong, too. But if the rest of Cryptopsy’s new album is as good as these first two tastes, they are going to be right in the pack when people start making their year-end lists of 2012’s best tech-death releases.
You can still pre-order Cryptopsy’s new album at their Bandcamp page here.
And you can listen to both of the new tracks below:
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A song with a 20-second jazz instrumental in it? The only other song that comes to my mind is Keith Merrow’s My Nemesis. Is it anything like that?
I think it’s an even more surprising contrast on the Cryptopsy song because everything that comes before is more speedy and brutal, so you get not only a dramatic change in the musical genre, but a sharp drop in pacing and overall volume, too.
Cryptopsy emails you? Man, what have the past few years been like?
Cryptopsy@gmail.com: Hey, Islander, whatcha doin?
Islander@nocleansinging.com:Ya know….stuff. You?
Cryptopsy@gmail.com: Oh…that’s cool. I’ve been doing stuff too…
To be clear, I have no idea if these are valid email addresses on the cryptopsy part.
Ha! Yeah, we’ve been having meaningful conversations like that for a long time. It’s just that they don’t normally write me on a Sunday morning, cuz they know that’s the time I set aside for phone conversations with world leaders.
Well it’s better than some of the phone calls I get from bands sometimes. I don’t know how long I can do the awkward new relationship listen to each other breathe for an hour phonecall and then the you hang up, no you hang up section that follows.
Hmm, I seem to be taking a little fire over in the Comments at Cryptopsy’s Facebook page, where the band added a link to this post (thank you dudes!) for not mentioning or drawing comparisons to other Cryptopsy albums such as Whisper Supremacy or And Then You’ll Beg.
In my defense, what I wanted to do was make a direct comparison in my brain to the album that cemented Cryptopsy’s place in metal history, a hands-down classic — None So Vile — using it as a standard by which to measure the direction of these new songs. I could have included other albums in a more nuanced review of the songs, but I do plan to review the entire album when it becomes available.
And besides, I was too pumped up about the music and in too much of a rush to get this post up on the site to reflect for very long.
The second song is on youtube already:
BTW very insteresting site you got here.
Thank you — and thanks for the link too.
Torch – bit soulless and generic
Goat – awesome
That was probably one of the coolest uses of a jazz section in a death metal song I’ve heard. Not nearly as awkward as I thought it might sound. Color me intrigued. Oh, and I might actually prefer this vocalist to Lord Worm. I know sacrilege but I always thought he sounded a little too much like a rapid dog on None So Vile, and not in a good way. IDK, it’s been a while since I listened to that album though – maybe my tastes have changed.
Like you, I was quite taken with that jazz section, too (and of course there are tastes of this on earlier releases, too). All the instrumentalists are so talented, they could probably play anything they put their minds to, and do it well. I’m very curious to hear what they do with other tracks, because I seriously doubt they will all be non-stop tech-death insanity. And I do think Matt has come in for too much criticism in the past. He is sounding fine on these songs.
Kick ass tracks!
Why doesn’t Blasphemy Made Flesh get its fair share of notable mentions though? Everyone is always going on about how awesome NSV is, but BMF is clearly the superior release.
Besides that replaced drum sound, this is indeed pretty awesome stuff.
Heads up. The Sophicide debut was released four days ago: