The dumpster fire of the past pandemic year was wretched in countless ways, but most of us have realized that it also gave birth to a multitude of changes that were not all bad. Among other fortunate developments, the shutdowns and solitary confinements gave many experienced musicians the space to turn their talents in different directions, no longer wholly consumed by the feverishness of routines that might have marked the pre-pandemic age.
The Swedish band Kryptan represents one such new beginning. It is the brainchild of songwriter, guitarist, and keyboardist Mattias Norrman, who is best known for his work with October Tide and Katatonia. But while the music on Kryptan‘s debut album does include recognizable traces of his other more brooding and doom-directed work, it is a vehicle for channeling the passions inspired by Scandinavian black metal from the ’90s, perhaps especially the influence of such bands as Dissection, Naglfar, and Marduk.
Kryptan‘s debut EP is et for release on July 23rd by Debemur Morti Productions, and today we’re providing thoughts about all four of its tracks, and premiering one of them
In bringing the idea of Kryptan into full-fledged reality, Norrman recruited some very able and very experienced allies — vocalist Alexander Högbom (October Tide) and drummer Samuel Karlstrand (Wretched Fate).
The EP opens with the song we’re premiering today, “A Giant Leap For Whoredom“. Its sound, like the EP as a whole, is immensely heavy and enveloping. Undergirded by deep, magma-like bass tones and merciless, jet-fueled drum assaults, the song displays burning, writhing riffs that pulsate with an unholy hunger. The sheen of high-flying synths contributes to the song’s aura of frightful, unearthly eminence, and the scalding intensity of the vocals amplifies its feeling of unhinged ferocity. Deep, dismal tremolo’d chords channel hopelessness, and shrill flickering fevers of sound manifest a deranging pain. The song as a whole becomes an apocalyptic deluge:
The song is an extravagant way to introduce the capabilities of Kryptan, and it provides a blueprint for what is to come. Its successor, “Bedårande barn“, is similarly sweeping and devouring in its impact, but leavens the terrible and often maniacal grandeur of the sonic typhoon with heaving heaviness, like the implacable, spine-shaking stomp of some towering, black-hearted leviathan. There’s glorious madness in the rapidly twisting riffs, the incendiary synths, and the possessed vocals, which roar and scream, and soul-shattering bleakness in the ringing and wailing guitar harmony that cycles through the song’s closing movement.
What follows is “Blessed Be The Glue“, which understandably served as the EP’s first single. After the ethereal sounds of a brief ambient intro and another cascade of panoramic synths and thundering rhythms, the jolting lead riff compulsively jabs at the listeners’ necks and makes this song the most infectious of the four. The keyboards deliriously dance in scintillating fashion, while the delirium of the vocals and the skittering fretwork frenzies is of a different and much more fearsome kind, and those celestial synths continue to create an atmosphere of spine-tingling wonder:
And then, too soon, the EP ends with “Burn The Priest“. In a way, it’s a reprise of the incinerating savagery present in the opening song. Even the symphonic enhancements seem mad, as well as full of dread and gloom. Gigantic booming drums, viciously jarring percussive bursts, the tortured screams of the guitars and synths, and the outright insanity of the multi-faceted vocals all combine to again create searing visions of calamity on a vast scale.
Yes, the EP ends too soon, but perhaps it’s best that it does, before the wholly submersive and blast-furnace intensity of the music sucks the last bit of air from your lungs.
And there’s further consolation in the fact that Kryptan are already at work on a debut full-length, as well as planning for live shows.
This tremendous new EP is available for pre-order now, on vinyl, CD, and digital formats: