Review: Cryptopsy – 'The Book Of Suffering: Tome 1'

Canada is such a lovely place, populace wise. The sense of community, particularly in the rural areas, is very strong, and neighbours are often good friends. The people you grow up with and build history with. As with any part of the world, there are dark corners, brimming with all manner of vile fiendishness and misery, but this review is not an examination of Harper’s time in office; it is an examination of the new Cryptopsy EP, a work of total savagery from the land of Sutherland, Shatner, and maple trees.

Cryptopsy have announced that this recording marks a change of tack, whereby they will release a series of EP’s of new material to satiate the fans, rather than making them wait years for a new full length. This is very considerate, and as the band themselves say, gives them an opportunity to maintain a better quality of material over shorter records. It is also, perhaps, an acknowledgement that many people don’t have the attention spans they used to when it comes to indulging a band, and that the casual participant may find a stream of 4-trackers a lot easier to digest than a solid 40 minutes of black-ops grade technical death.

From the very outset, from the artwork all the way down, ‘…Tome 1’ is pitiless, the band seeming determined to punish reality for existing. Every instrument is beheld in its most aggressive, brutal form, particularly the drums, which strike like a foam-mouthed firing squad. Recent video/single Detritus (The One They Kept) exemplifies this, its multi-faceted bubonic whirlwind ravaging everything possible in a 5 mile radius.

There’s something more sinister about Cryptopsy’s work than that of contemporaries Nile or Cannibal Corpse, something more considered in the execution. While Horus’ favourite band carry themselves with a regal air, and George’s shock troops bludgeon the listener to a thin paste with every passing second, the Canadians have calculated the impact of each millisecond to disquiet and unsettle the receiver so that rest becomes impossible. Daft-fast in places, ‘The Knife, The Head, And What Remains’ is just ridiculous, calling up grind luminaries Brutal Truth, certainly in their ‘Evolution Through Revolution’ period.

The barbarous vocal work on this record as a whole is remarkable. A stiff lesson to the youngsters coming up, about the nature of extremity, and what it means to lock your voice with the band as a weapon. Presumably brought into existence to illicit heart failure in the weak, the sheer force of Matt McGachy’s spleen-splitting shrieks, retches and growls render a healthy number of metal/deathcore set impotent and tiny, and though many a fan of Thy Art Is Murder, After The Burial or early BMTH will find much to like here, returning to their originally favoured bands may be difficult.

Following the downtown-beat-city action that is ‘Halothane Glow’, the hulking triplet-temple of Gothenberg looms over final track ‘Framed By Blood’, which takes the work of many Swedes and sends it to the pits for a serious workout, a thorough talking to, and a solid injection of prime beef. I will confess that by the end of even this short EP, the focus utilised by the band in creating the material, especially when exacerbated by a supremely tight production, I was pretty knackered, but repeated listens revealed a great deal of diversity within the four tracks submitted here.

Fierce to the point of imploding, this is a master-class in demolition through sound, and a highly recommended purchase for anyone who feels that their current favourite death metal just isn’t cutting it.

Review: John Tron Davidson

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