Jun 282023

(In the following interview Comrade Aleks caught up with drummer/vocalist Steffen Brandes from the German metal band Cryptic Brood, and covered a lot of the ground that has passed by since their last discussion 3+ years ago, plus taking a look into the Brood‘s future.)

Steffen Brandes performs drums and vocals in the German death metal (with a bit of doom edge) band Cryptic Brood. We did an interview with him in January 2020, and that was fun. And three years later, during January 2023, I found that I somehow skipped Cryptic Brood’s newest release, the Caustic Fetid Vomit EP produced by Lycanthropic Chants in September 2022. That’s just a two-song-long recording, but there’s always something to talk about with the deep underground dwellers.


Hi Steffen! How are you doing? I’ve checked – we spoke nearly three years ago, when Cryptic Brood had just released Outcome of Obnoxious Science and that split with Ekpyrosis – In the Grip of Death. How did you spend this period since the split’s release?

Hi Aleks, I’m doing fine. Thanks for asking. How about you? Last time we were in touch is nearly three years ago. Thanks for still being interested in my activities.

Right after the recordings for the Outcome Of Obnoxious Science album, the Brood continued writing new material. This ended up on our split-LP with Night Hag from Virginia, US, that was released on Rotted Life Records in early 2021.

When Outcome Of Obnoxious Science was released, we hit the road for our nearly four-week-long In The Grip Of Death tour. This was an intense experience. We had played tours before, but mostly around ten shows in a row. On this tour we played 21 shows in 25 days.

We played another short tour in February 2020. On the last day – that was a show in Switzerland – we didn’t know if we would be allowed to cross the border to Germany due to the first Corona cases and all the security actions from the Governments in Europe. We made it back home but weren’t allowed to meet (so also not allowed to rehearse) anymore. During that time, each one of the Brood wrote riffs at home.

When we were allowed to rehearse again, the material didn’t feel like music from the Brood. So we took the ideas and jammed them like we always did in the past. To show that the Brood is still vital, we released a 7“ EP with one new song and an interpretation of one song from Cryptopsy that we transformed into our doomed-out style.

Besides that, we also had enough material for a new full-length, which we’re recording as we speak!



I found this live album Nippon Carnage – Live in Japan, the recording of the band’s live set at the Askaka Deathfest, 2017. Actually I didn’t know you played there. How intensive was that tour? And how did you get the invitation?

Anatomia and Undergang toured Europe in October 2013. Cryptic Brood played the very first show together with them in Hamburg. We had fun times together. Shortly after Anatomia returned home, we received an invitation for the festival but couldn’t make it then. Later we received another invitation and confirmed.

This trip to Japan was a really big thing for the band and also for us personally. When touring Europe, you always know how things work. Traffic, shops, everything. Japan is a different world. It was awesome that Takashi of Anatomia and the promoter of the festival, Naru, spent time with us, showing us nice places and good food.

Playing shows over there was super intense. There were many real maniacs who knew the band before and wanted us to sign their records and so on. This was crazy!



Do you see that there’s a chance to return and play in Japan once more?

We received very positive feedback from people of the audience at the Asakusa Death Fest and I’m still in touch with the promoter of the fest. It would be great to return one day.


How often have you played live since the Covid quarantine was over? Can you tell us that things have returned to normal? If it’s possible.

We had two lockdowns in Germany. First one, the main one, from ~March 2020 to ~August 2021. When this lockdown ended, we played a minimum one show every weekend in August and September, before everything got shut down again in ~December 2021. Venues reopened in Spring/early Summer 2022 and we played a short tour with Filthdigger, Kill-Town Death Fest, and a few single shows before focusing on writing new material.

Today, lockdowns are over but things are not normal again yet. Venues are over-booked, festivals are booked nearly two years ahead. It’s difficult for an underground band like ours.



Steffen, you also run your label Lycanthropic Chants. What’s the most difficult part in running an underground label now? How did the quarantine affcet the situation with the label?

During quarantine, people were buying a lot of records (from Lycanthropic Chants). Maybe because they didn’t spend money to go out to a bar, shows, whatever.

Now, there are a lot of insecurities: people don’t know how much money they will have to pay for heating and electricity so they keep their money and buy less records.


What are your plans for Lycanthropic releases in 2023?

First releases will be the new album from Bastard Grave on tape and a Depression / Repuked split-LP. There are more releases planned, please check www.lycanthropic.de every now and then to get up to date 😉



You recorded four tracks for the split with Night Hag, Swollen with Rancid Phlegm (2021), and then the Caustic Fetid Vomit EP (2022). Why did you choose this way with smaller releases instead of working over the full-length album?

The tracks for the split with Night Hag were written right after our recording session for Outcome Of Obnoxious Science. It was still some time to go until the album got released (…manufacturing times of the pressing plants…) and we didn’t feel like writing another album when the next one wasn’t even released.

With our Caustic Fetid Vomit EP we wanted to prove that the Brood was still active, as we didn’t have new music since January 2021 and still had time to go until our next album would be released.


How do you see now these two tracks from Caustic Fetid Vomit? Would you say that they contain the ultimate Cryptic Brood message?

I don’t thing there’s an ultimate message. When listening to early releases of the Brood and comparing them to the latest ones, you can hear that the band made some steps when it comes to songwriting, the sound, and more. It would be sad if we wouldn’t evolve with our music and just use the same formula over and over again.



What about the material you have prepared for Cryptic Brood’s next full-length? How many tracks do you already have and how will it differ from Outcome of Obnoxious Science?

We have nine tracks but we don’t know if we’re gonna use them all for the album. The material is more extreme in every way: faster but also slower, more straight-forward but also more obfuscating. As for our other releases: you’re gonna love or hate our music.



Can you name a few of the most inspiring death / death-doom metal releases from 2022?

Cryptic Brood is labeled as a Death/Doom-band (why?) and that might be the reason you ask me about this. But to be honest: I didn’t listen to that much Death/Doom in 2022 so I really cannot name albums here. In 2022 I explored a lot of music from the 1970s, especially some Prog Rock and Krautrock records. GROBSCHNITT, GURU GURU, stuff like that. Talking about (Death) Metal, I finally got my hands on the BASTARD PRIEST albums on vinyl, as they got re-released by Blood Harvest Records. And I liked the new album from WHORESNATION very much.


Steffen, what about your ambitions regarding Repulsive Feast? I see that you released the split album Scourging the Sick with Minenfeld and the Putrid Slime compilation – both in November 2022. Do you aim to record a full-length one day?

The split was released for the MINENFELD / REPULSIVE FEAST Scourging The Sick European tour. The Putrid Slime tape contains the two EPs Meat Hook Mutilation and Brewing Rancid Stew, making both available on tape for the first time. The Meat Hook Mutilation 7“ got a repress. It would be great to work on a full-length with this band but with our guitarist Magnus being busy with his other band DEMORED, who will release a new album soon, and me being busy with the Brood, it will still take some time to make this happen. We got some shows and another split-7“ confirmed for later this year (2023) and we keep moving forward, but unfortunately not as fast as we play our music 😉




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