without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
"World of Myths" stands as the only major release produced by Sweden's Crypt of Kerberos before the project went into eternal sleep, until awakening in 2005. Crypt of Kerberos is much more important than you'd probably guess; they were one of the first progressive death metal bands in Sweden, and "World of Myths" was coincidentally released during a critical period when seminal cohorts like Cynic and Atheist were promoting creative growth in death metal. The album, although largely left in the vaults of time, became somewhat of a cult classic many years after its release, which is the only reason I found this record to begin with. You see, interest inspired Singapore's Pulverized Records to give it a re-release, and now it can channel its weird energies to a larger audience and perhaps become somewhat more than a diamond in the rough.
No, Crypt of Kerberos wasn't flaunting around vocoders or jazz flukes, but they didn't need to. No, what Crypt of Kerberos was doing here honors the credibility and velocity of Swedish death metal in its prime, yet simultaneously incorporates unusual textures and semi-frequent keyboards blotting into the relentless brutality with subtle progressive touches. Despite their experimental leanings, Crypt of Kerberos remains an authentic death metal project throughout their endeavors, always producing heavy, primitive riffs and guttural growls that were customary of Swedish death metal circa 1993 or so. The basics of the record are beefy, gritty, rare, and unquestionably connected to death metal's roots. The real goods, however, are layered in the group's experimental trickery, which alone makes "World of Myths" worthwhile.
Now, the progressive themes aren't totally showcased in nutty influences flying out the pipes or whatever as I previously stated. Instead, the guitar work is frequently virtuosic, shredding, and at times bizarre with all the notes that are heaved around, and added keyboards for an atmospheric color are quite common as well. The clean vocals are definitely a highlight of the record despite appearing only a handful of times; the bleak, harrowing hue they add looks remarkably creative and unique. Specifically, songs like the instrumental "Sleeping God" or "The Canticle" wonderfully transmit signals between the sturdy, punishing death metal identity and a cryptic semblance produced by the clean vocals, keyboards and weird guitar work all colliding in one idiosyncratic swoop.
Its legacy lacks the universal stability and fame of many essential progressive death metal albums, yet "World of Myths" remains intact. Time itself has buried the works of Crypt of Kerberos deep within the sands of obscurity, but now, thanks to building interest and a timely re-release, it has a second chance. A second chance to find oblivious listeners and bring them to a forlorn land of vivid landscapes beyond the bones of death metal. A second chance to reanimate the strange mythology that defines the unknown essence of Crypt of Kerberos into something relevant and dominating. A second chance is sometimes all we need, and "World of Myths" now has the shot at glory it deserved so many years ago.
This review was written for: www.Thrashpit.com
After almost 20 years, Pulverised Records this year releases Swedish death metal band Crypt of Kerberos‘ debut (and sole) full length album, World of Myths. On top of the tracks that were included in the album, the band has also included a number of older tracks from their catalogue, allowing both people who are encountering Crypt of Kerberos‘ music for the first time and fans of the band to have a complete musical experience of the band. The early 90s being the prime time of the Swedish style of death metal got me slightly worried that this would be yet another of those Entombed and Nihilist emulators.
Perhaps because of such an expectation, World of Myths proved to be a rather surprising listen. Sure, the Swedish-style and influences are still present, seeing their country of origin and the fact that this was the early years of Swedish death metal. However, Crypt of Kerberos has at the same time included numerous other elements that make their music stand out, such as some doom and progressive influences that can be clearly heard in their music. For example, despite the riffing styles on Cyclone of Insanity that at times remind listeners of classic Swedish death metal, the band has a heavier take on their music, and there are moments when the band goes into doom-paced moments, crushing the listener under the intensity that is present.
However, as the album progresses, the more melodic and somewhat technical take on early death metal become clearer. For example, there is a high emphasis on the melodic aspects of the music with the lead guitars that are rather prominent throughout the album. As well, the guitar melodies that are unleashed by guitarists Peter and Jonas can also be rather haunting, and at times reek of Eastern influence, giving a unique touch to the listening experience. Such external influences are even clearer with the flamenco-styled shredding that is also present towards the end of Cyclone of Insanity. Furthermore, songs like The Canticle make use of clean vocals to bring out the sense of desperation on the track. Sure, there are aggressive moments on the album like on the riffing on Ancient War, but these are rather few and the band seem to make use of these to enhance the melodic aspects of the music instead.
But I guess what really stood out for me personally on World of Myths are the lead guitar work on the album, at times really sounding and feeling like an instrumental rock album, such as the neo-classical feel on the intro of The Canticle, almost tricking the listener into thinking that this is a neo-classical album with the style and atmosphere, then surprising him again with the sudden transition into a more aggressive death metal mode. The neo-classical influence is especially clear on the instrumental track Sleeping God, with the sweep-picking that is heavily used throughout. On this track as well, the band’s emphasis on the atmospheric aspect of their music is also shown with the heavy keyboards that are present. Other times, the lead guitars are used to create the haunting atmosphere with the uneasy melodies, providing a double role as an atmospheric instrument. That said though, there are times when the leads sound slightly messy, and these unfortunately mar the experience slightly.
The bonus material on the reissue of the album include some of the demo versions of the songs that are on the original full length, and show how these ideas were conceived and how they initially sounded like during the demo period, and would certainly be a nice addition to fans of the band. The raw production quality and sound of these bonus tracks also add a particular charm to the songs, giving them a more energetic feel compared to those that made it to the final cut of the album, though lacking in details at times. For example, on The Canticle, the vocals were mixed so low that one has to strain in order to hear them.
This album, being originally in 1993, was perhaps overlooked with the plethora of bands releasing music that leaned more towards the classic Swedish style, and for not being brutal enough to match their compatriots. However, the innovation that Crypt of Kerberos has put into World of Myths is undeniable, and could have perhaps been one of the earliest of their time attempting such a style, despite the rather raw quality of the music (both production and songwriting-wise). Fans of old-school Swedish death metal may dislike the album all they want, but this would definitely please those looking for a more melodic, shred-friendly and unique take on death metal that was produced in the early 90s.
I guess “World of Myths” could be considered as one of the most underestimated albums that were done in the early 90’s in Sweden. Myself I’ve first got this album and heard about Crypt of Kerberos in the beginning of the 00’s; so rather late, but one can say better late than never. But honestly, my mind was more obsessed by such Swedish acts like Dismember, Hypocrisy, Necrophobic, The Conorous Circle, Sacramentum – so, bands that were still releasing killer albums - than something I’ve never heard of before and what split up years ago. But of course it’s always great to find out about new bands, especially if they come from your favourite scene.
But to be honest I wasn’t much convinced by “World of Myths” then and also today I think this is rather average album. To put it simply, it just doesn’t bring what I like about this genre and Sweden most. To me it’s just not brutal enough! And nowadays, when I also know all demos and EPs from Crypt of Kerberos I can say that I prefer elder recordings much more than this CD.
What I can hear here is that these guys (and a female keyboard player) tried to put out something more progressive, epic and technically advanced; definitely less death metal oriented from what they used to do before. I’m not saying that to try to be original and different than everybody else was wrong – especially that at the time everyone was just complaining that each Swedish band sounds the same and plays the same riff – but nowadays I'd rather listen to great Dismember clone than atmospheric / quasi proggy band like Crypt on this album.
Not everything on “World of Myths” is that bad. My favourite songs definitely are “Cyclone of Insanity” and “The Ancient War”, so tunes that Crypt of Kerberos released on 7”EP year earlier. These new versions are definitely more advanced, with some extra ideas and elements, like acoustic guitar in the former song and more structured, better played guitar leads. “Cyclone…” turned out to be really great song and even if I like the EP version better, this song definitely belongs to the most aggressive and most catchy at the same time, with some cool riffs and great growling from Christian Eriksson and really nice calmer fragment in the middle of the composition.
“Stormbringer” is also a song worth to mention, as it’s quite aggressive, but tempo is rather slow at the start – and then Crypt of Kerberos turns to be really heavy – and then it nicely develops into other parts. I only have a feeling like the band didn’t have a clue how to finish this song, as it ends quite abruptly. “Nocturnal Grasp” may also surprise you, as this track is completely different from majority of the material on “World of Myths”; much more straight forward, very classic death metal in early Necrophobic style with simple riffing and almost without any trace of melody that is present in other songs. If you compare it to “The Canticle” for instance you may have a feeling of listening to completely different band / record.
As for “The Canticle” – this is one of the songs I really don’t like. It’s too melodic, with some clean vocals here and there, with quite weird riffing… It’s just very un-death metal, if you know what I mean, in some parts reminding me of Therion in the “Symphony Masses” era. “Dream…” with its rock / progressive beginning and other shit that’s going on in this song or the instrumental “The Sleeping God” is another part of the album I dislike totally! Sorry, I understand that Crypt of Kerberos tried to be different, etc, but this type of riffing and keyboard parts just don’t convince me completely! Sure, I can see that the technique of each member is quite impressive; I like the drumming quite much, I also like the vocals but in total it’s just not what I like to listen to.
So yeah, in total we have an album, which isn’t a complete disaster, as it has some cool songs to offer, but as overall I just don’t like the atmosphere of it and too many parts here simply annoy me. As I said earlier, this music needs more aggression, more stuff that will punch you in the face, rather than impress with technical, melodic playing. Also the front cover is just plain shit, but who cares… I keep this CD in my collection anyway, as it’s part of the history of the Swedish death metal scene. And with three-four cool songs it’s not a complete waste of time, luckily.
When the subject of melodic Swedish death metal comes up, names like At the Gates, Dark Tranquility and In Flames are bandied about, but amongst the bands that sadly fell by the wayside was Crypt of Kerberos.
My rating for this album does not reflect the esteem that I place on it. It could have been higher, but the production has faults (certainly none of those faults can be attributed to the band themselves). Most of it was recorded live in the studio, and you can hear it in the occasional missing of notes and other minor mistakes, but for a live studio recording, certainly there is little more you could ask than what they were able to deliver.
The opener Canticle sets the stage for this great, forgotten album. Powerful leads and excellent riffing were certainly ahead of it's time, and the years have not taken the strength away from this recording. It still sounds unique to this day, and the vocals are excellent, sometimes sounding like Dissection's Jon Notevidt or the immortal Mikael Stanne.
The songs fluctuate from atmospheric and dreamy to heads down thrashing death metal madness. It's difficult to pick a standout track, as all of the songs are of similar quality. With a better record deal and promotion, this band could be mentioned in the same breath as the aforementioned Swedish giants. Unfortunately for Crypt of Kerberos, melodic (or Gothenburg style) death metal was not one of the more profitable metal ventures of the time, and they broke up.
If you enjoy Swedish styled death metal, this album was written for you - just as long as you can enjoy a record that doesn't have the shiny, polished finish that more recent releases from this country enjoy. Even if you do not mention Crypt of Kerberos when you talk about melodic death metal, they were among the first to do it, and that in itself is noteworthy.
I bought this album a couple of years after it came out, and I was stunned by what I heard!
This band is one of the most original bands I have heard in the Death Metal genre. They sound like a unique blend of Yngwie Malmsteen (brilliant guitar work by these two young guitar players Jonas Strandell and Peter Pettersson!) and King Diamond, Faith No More and Morbid Angel and they really pull it off in a superb way!
The band was very early using so strong melodies and not too many bands had used keyboards or melodic male vocals before Crypt Of Kerberos.
The drummer stands out as a painter of the music. Not only your average "wall of double bass drums" thing. There are cool breaks with some advanced cymbal playing that stands out quite alot. The orchestration of the drum parts are sometimes mind-blowing! Check out especially the songs Dream... and World of Myths.
I was very sad when the band broke up in 1995! I was one of few people who heard the pre-production recordings for the second album (they had actually finished most of the songs for it!) and it was with Daniel Gildenlöw on vocals (he is the singer/guitarist of Pain of Salvation) and with Johan Hallgren (also in Pain of Salvation) on the second guitar. That was some amazing stuff, very melodic and experimental! Sounded quite different from World of Myths but still with that very unique Crypt Of Kerberos sound!
Anatomy Bleed Records (Australia) are releasing a compilation CD with some of this material in the near future which I am dying to hear, bring it on!