without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
Cryptopsy ranks pretty highly on my personal list of bands whose ratio of enjoyable, interesting music to popularity is tenuous at best, to the point of puzzlement. Yeah, they've got a few good decent albums, one of which is admittedly better than good, but also a fair number of letdowns and misguided experiments littering their discography. Despite the fluid and rampant technical ability they displayed even in their earliest years, and the undeniable, awkward charisma of former vocalist Lord Worm, they were simply not a band I've ever really trusted in to deliver the most memorable of riffs, or evil, atmospheric death metal hymns that burned the old school brutality into my brain for the likely remainder of my existence. It's sort of how I've felt through Suffocation's career, only the New Yorkers got off to a stronger start, and have had a stretch of more consistent material in recent times. I would never deign to disavow Cryptopsy's influence on hundreds if not thousands of brutal and technical death metal acts to follow (in the 90s and beyond), but sadly much of that inspiration took on the form of their least compelling components: the brutal, riff-less bursts of speed and bouncy, empty slam oriented rhythms that are prevalent on a good chunk of their debut Blasphemy Made Flesh, an album which I still to this day consider 'training wheels' for its vastly superior followup.
There were some clear positives when I was first exposed to the band and this record, aesthetic details that no doubt played a large part in their early, infectious spread through the underground. The band's name and logo were fantastic, and the original cover artwork an instant thrill for fans of records like Sepultura's Arise or Obituary's Cause of Death. Cryptopsy were one of the few North American acts licensed to Germany's Black Diamond/Invasion Records, and also one of the heavier acts on that imprint alongside Excrement, Vomiturition, Infestdead, Vomiting Corpses and Lunatic Invasion. Despite the sickness and violent themes involved, the lyrics had a peculiar, personal and poetic sense of playfulness about them, almost like Dan Greening (Lord Worm) was implementing his English studies into a sadistic sideshow attraction. They were immediately unique by comparison to so many of the gore-driven, misogynist fiends starting to cycle into redundancy, who had taken over the more extreme end of the genre; a manic food for thought that showed some obvious effort. In fact, the lyrics of Blasphemy Made Flesh are hands down my favorite part of the album, and I only wish that the songwriting itself had been so compulsory and unusual. Granted, there are a few pretty unique facets to the playing of the other musicians which stood out, in particular the rhythm section of Flo Mouriner and Martin Fergusson, but they're not able to fully compensate for the rather banal selection of rhythm guitar progressions which flew into one ear and straight out the opposite, without colliding in the center to turn the brain to mush.
Blasphemy Made Flesh belonged to that category of 90s death metal efforts which was seeking to push the parameters of its parent genre without necessarily abandoning the inviolable core of the medium. There are a number of 2nd generation tremolo picked riffs here and standard growls which pay credence to the Floridian and Dutch forefathers of the style, and fellow Canadians Gorguts, who had the jump on Cryptopsy by only a few years and would share a large crossover audience. But the emphasis here was to force the speed limit and cluttered intensity of the composition, and less to create resonant, memorable riffs. Where albums like Severed Survival, Consuming Impulse, Left Hand Path, Cause of Death and even to an extent Effigy of the Forgotten had paved the way with foul, mesmeric aberrations of thrash-based techniques, this basically borrowed and rearranged familiar note sequences and then dialed up the volume and elasticity of the drums and bass, which combined with Worm's garbled ranting seemed like a night at a circus with an audience of severed heads. There's a fuck ton happening throughout the 40 minutes of music, but apart from the speed and lyrical ravings, precious little information is retainable, and even if the guitars were configured into more exciting and catchy progressions, they seem a bit too searing, muddled and distant to really matter on a cut like "Abigor" or "Defenestration".
I could see how Mounier's dextrous striking was intimidating for its day; not as far a leap in the belligerence and technique of percussion as a Lombardo or Hoglan from the previous decade, but so fast and involved that it often feels like the sticks are about to escape Flo's hands and start playing themselves. Blasting, fills, and piledriver double bass crashing everywhere against the guitars. What's more, unlike a lot of the bands that later sucked off Cryptopsy's fumes but with a more programmed, polished studio sterility, this sounded quite live and straight to the chin, sans an excess of studio finesse. You could be hearing this straight from the band's jam space, or on stage. The bass lines are incredibly bouncy and copious, almost funky, to the point that where Martin Fergusson hits a higher chord it sounds like some sort of rambling, farting device that adds an air of unintentional hilarity to the proceedings. The guy was a fucking maniac, and even though most would come to identify the position with his successor, Éric Langlois, who has to date performed on most of their records, I can only wonder at what he might have created had he followed a more prolific career in the genre...
On the flip side, the performances of this pair do contribute to the smothering of the rhythm guitar tracks of Jon Levasseur and Steve Thibault, which weren't all that interesting to begin with. Lots of meaty palm muted chugging and fits of basis tremolo picked, surgical precision are alternated in a relish of deep distortion that often disintegrates into background noise for the acrobatics of the other players. Nothing we really hadn't already heard from a band like Suffocation or Cannibal Corpse, and while the songs aren't really lacking for variation, the percussive shifts in tempo are more exciting than the actual notes slung together. As further proof, just listen to how much the leads and melodies stand out where they appear, like the thrashing bridge and eerie pattern at around 3:00 in "Abigor", or the shredding in "Serial Messiah" and "Born Headless". Really, these are the only instances of a tangible 'atmosphere' on the album (apart from an intro like on "Serial Messiah"), and when they strike amidst the blunt, taut, and tiring blandness of the rhythm guitars, I just wish everything else was better written. The playing is all around fast as fuck and slightly technical for the time, but really I'd have just as much luck sitting by the side of the highway and watching traffic pass. After nearly two decades with the album, I've been unable to change my mind on this. Some of the blast beat rhythm guitars as in the closer "Pathological Frolic" are just downright boring.
As for Worm, he grunts and growls with enough gusto that you don't feel the sense of monotony creep in which brought low a number of other mid-90s death metal front men. His techniques aren't exactly unique, but his alternation of the lower pitched, primal troglodyte gutturals and a lot of snarling strangled cat phrases which shift the pitch (but aren't layered over one another constantly like Glen Benton). Not as schizo and attention earning as the lyrics themselves, but neither are they the low point of this recording by a long shot. I'm aware that the guy was known for his crazy stage presence, but this doesn't entirely translate onto the recording itself. He was good at writing, and competent at keeping the listener awake, but it's hardly like the first time I heard John Tardy, Chris Reifert, Martin van Drunen or Craig Pillard where I peed myself and hid in my closet until all the bad monsters would go away. I'm not about to play the 'overrated' card, since the guy still brought something individual to the genre, and was their best front man; but all the same, I was never butthurt when he and the band parted ways (at least the first time between None So Vile and Whisper Supremacy).
Blasphemy Made Flesh isn't shit, and its flaws might be forgiven if I was to blindly adulate every single death metal record released between 1991-1995 (like some folks I've encountered). A decent headbanger with a faint few glimmers of creativity, which places the listener back in its age of conception, but ultimately it amounts to little more than a warmup for its successor. Just another instance where I wish an album was as menacing as it looked. Or as it intended. That I found this disc one of the blueprints for a lot of 'meh' brutal death metal bands to come, or a middling warmup for its successor (a record which actually does deserve its place on the pedestal of punishment), doesn't help its case, but like any other musical medium, I want death metal I can remember. That I can rampage to. Stab to. Cackle maniacally to. Be afraid of. The Cryptopsy debut does not provide that for me; it's more like a steamroller of insipid horror sequels rather than one frightening classic with scenes that I can never escape.
When it comes to brutal death metal, and Canada only Cryptopsy seems to do it right. Mixing great grooves, Lord Worm's fantastic vocals and lyrics, technical drumming, guitars heavier than troll balls, and some of the floppiest bass ever recorded, These Canadian metallers show it can all work together to make amazing death metal.
This album is home to many fantastic riffs. The riffs here heavy enough for any traditional death metal fan but also groovy enough to keep you interested. Some riffs are speedy and mostly thrash based like the opening track, "Defenestration" and "Gravaged (A Cryptopsy)" Other provide a solid layer of groove for some great bass work and powerful drumming to shine like on "Mutant Christ". The guitar tone on this debut is pretty interesting. It sounds has if the guitar tracks were being switched from mono to stereo back and worth very quickly. This gives the guitars a strange 'left-to-right-left-to-right' feeling. Along with the fuzzy distortion and being low in the mix it can be hard at times to tell what is actually being played other than pure fuzz.This doesn't necessarily take away from the album but can be a turn off to some. Other than the great riffs and fuzz, there are some very tasty solos to be heard on this record. "Mutant Christ", "Serial Messiah" and "Abigor" have really great melodic solos, which are very memorable and have some great structures and display the great talents of Jon Levasseur.
The vocals presented here are fucking amazing to say the least. Very sloppy, very raw, very rough. Just the way it should be. Lord Worm is truly a master of his craft and displays it well along with Steve Thibault and Flo Mounier backing in "Memories of Blood" and the end of "Pathological Frolic". Worm's voice is one of the most hard to understand in death metal. I've listened to this album a few dozen times and i can still only make out a few words here and there. This isn't a bad thing at all, the vocals work more like another instrument constantly growling and screaming and works well with the music. Within this album might be the greatest scream in death metal, in the track, "Open Face Surgery" Worm gives us a powerful, yet terrifying, full minute and a half scream that still gives me chills. These Lyrics are also great. Mostly consisting of morbid, gore stories about throwing people through windows, auto-erotic asphyxiation, sinning, you know usual stuff. The lyrics are written in pretty strange ways. Having tons of weird wordings and medical textbook style gore inspirations.
Flo Mounier provides some complex, and even jazzy at times, drumming. His kit has a tremendous sound that really makes it stand out. The drums are very high in the mix and are louder than Worm's vocals at times. The snare itself is super tight, has a great snap and is super loud. I personally love this snare tone, one of my favorites in extreme metal. "Gravaged (A Cryptopsy)" shows the great snare tones perfectly with some quick rolls of the snare. One of Mounier's specialties is his blasting on the china cymbal. Displayed perfectly on the closing track "Pathological Frolic" and "Memories of Blood". This is what really makes Mounier stand out, his ability to provide tight grooves like on "Born Headless" and yet blast like its nobody's fucking business. Though his blasts on the china nearly dominate the whole mix when presented they don't ruin much, but really drive up the intensity.
Along with the drums Martin Fergusson's bass work is very prominent on clear. Much like the drums, the bass is often jazzy and plays some great independent rhymes as on the opening track, "Mutant Christ" and "Swine of the Cross". Surprisingly the bass is louder then the guitars for the most part, which i personally don't mind at all. The bass really makes this album stand out in originality. Gives great support to the tight pocket of Mounier's drumming while keeping up with Levasseur's playing and isn;t scared to go out on its own.
Overall this album is phenomenal and is a must for any fan of great riffs, raw vocals, and a great rhymes section. Together they makes one of the best albums in the brutal death metal scene along with the follow-up None So Vile.
Favorite Tracks: Defenestration, Open Face Surgery, Mutant Christ, Pathological Frolic
Least Favorite Tracks: None
“Blasphemy Made Flesh” is the essential Cryptopsy album. It is Cryptopsy in their most brutal and raw form. To me, their first two albums are pretty amazing. The all around insanity that surrounds the first two albums is hard to even imagine.
I would start by saying this album seems to be brutal, technical death metal. Not 100% sure what to call it but whatever it is, it rules. Now this album has what every death metal fan could want. The speed is there, plenty of blast beats and thrash, the riffs are heavy, the bass is loud, and the vocals are extremely guttural. If you want extremely heavy, “Mutant Christ” is insanely heavy. The amazing guitar part in “Abigor” really shows how talented the guitarists are. The bass player does some pretty unique things for death metal, by doing some slap bass parts. The drummer is one of the best drummers ever. His double bass is extremely fast and his fills are insane.
The production could be better. The guitars are kind of fuzzy in the background and don’t really stick out that much. Really, other than that, it’s pretty spot on. The bass is loud in the mix the whole time. You can hear the bass the entire time and it really sounds awesome. I just wish the guitar was a little clearer in the mix but it’s not too big of a deal.
The songs themselves are just awesome; my favorite being “Open Face Surgery”. It has one of the greatest screams ever, clocking in at around 27 seconds long. Lord Worm was truly a genius when it came to his unique style of singing. You can’t really understand a single word he says but yet it seems OK because he’s Lord Worm. The lyrics are gory but poetic at the same time. I’m pretty sure the lyrics are actually just gory poems. They consist of anti-religious themes and like I said earlier, gore. Not just guts though, gore lyrics that make you think is how I would describe them.
This album is extraordinary and is, in my opinion, their best work yet. If their newly acquired deathcore look has kept you away from their early works, you’re missing out.
Best tracks – “Open Face Surgery”, “Mutant Christ”, “Abigor”, and “Pathological Frolic”
Before these little trendy fucking pussies moved onto the wretched realms of generic-as-fuck deathcore, Cryptopsy was a helluva great band. Whenever I’m listening to them, I’m always stuck because I don’t know which of their best albums I prefer more, None So Vile, or today’s topic, Blasphemy Made Flesh. Both albums are classic death metal works, but as of today, I think I’d say that Blasphemy Made Flesh is the better of the two, and possibly one of the best death metal albums to come from Canada.
If you’re familiar with the Cryptopsy name, then you should know what to expect. This is incredibly aggressive, disgustingly guttural, brutal and technical death metal. In my humble opinion, I feel that every aspect of Cryptopsy’s sound was at its peak here, with the always-incomprehensible Lord Worm sounding at his best, even if that still means that I can’t understand a single word. Flo’s drumming, as usual, is impeccable, varying up his blastbeats like a champ. Despite being a total douchebag, Flo is definitely one of my favorite drummers because of his rather creative blasting styles, as well as the dexterity that he employs when doing on of his many transitions within a given song. Shit on his personality as you must, but the man is an awesome drummer. Martin Fergusson’s bass shines more clearly than ever on here, unleashing some ripping rhythms, while also providing an excellent low-end groove to often play as counterpoint to the guitars. This counterpoint adds a lot of fun to the songs, as sometime the bass works with the drums, and in other instances, it’ll follow the guitars, or just frolic about on its own. As for those pesky guitars, they sound fucking wonderful! That tone is simply sickening, and it compliments the bass sound so well. Not only does this guitar sound lend itself well to the groovier, slower riffs, but it makes the faster ones sound blisteringly evil. Most importantly, though, is that this album has a really clear mix that emphasizes each instrument and makes each have a clearly defined role.
With all of that aside, the most important part of this album is the songwriting. I’ve already mentioned Flo’s drumming techniques, which are incredibly tasteful if you ask me, but the entire songs, themselves, are also composed well. The tempo changes and transitions occur frequently and are executed perfectly, leading the every song being a unique, interesting piece of music. In particular, Cryptopsy’s slower sections provide great buld-ups, whether to a (real) breakdown, or to a faster section. The tension generate in these sections is simply excellent, even relative to other death metal bands at the time. However, one of my favorite aspects of Cryptopsy’s music in general is the tasteful soloing. Take the solo on ‘Abigor’ as an example of the really tasteful, melodic soloing that’s a staple on this album. There is no weedily bullshit here, but instead another means of creating contrast within the music. The solo is implemented not as a filler section, but rather a new direction within a song. This is how solos should be used!
Overall, this is a classic album with some of Cryptopsy’s best material. Sure, ‘Slit Your Guts’ has that awesome breakdown, but I’d be tempted to argue that Blasphemy Made Flesh is a more intense, in-your-face experience, especially with songs like ‘Abigor,’ ‘Open Face Surgery,’ ‘Serial Messiah,’ and ‘Gravaged (A Cryptopsy)’ leading the pack as some of the best tracks here. This thing is, even with all of the inaccessible traits that this album has, I consider it to be a rather accessible album for a death metal newbie. While the Lord Worm’s deathly shrieking (‘Serial Messiah’ at 3:04 is epic!) and grunting is probably the tipping point that pushes most people away, the production here makes his voice sound really good to the point where I can’t really see it being “painful” for someone not familiar with it. Bitches, just deal with the vocals, because this album is excellent. That’s all that really needs to be said.
Written for http://thenumberoftheblog.com/
Technical death metal is a genre now becoming very popular these among the seas of endless heavy music, and also one of my favorites to listen to and play. I've found this Cryptopsy release to be one of my favorite ones, especially sense Cryptopsy has been able to help further raise the bar and influence many modern technical death metal bands today. There is a lot that I like about this album, being that it is their first full length, and even at the time at which it was recorded, it sounds really, really surprisingly good. It was 1994, and although it wasn't the best sounding production that had ever been produced, it is still fun and brutal enough for me to rotate in for a couple of listens. Not a typical stunt for a band to be performing at the time of this record's release, but never the less, there was something to brag about upon these guys entering the scene with their truly progressing talent. This again, is another one of those albums whose songs all seem to flow together pretty well, and there wasn’t one that I didn’t like, as I am the type of person to tend to rotate an entire album, and I can usually find to like ALL or most of the songs on the record, not just the 1 or 2 good “hits” that people will usually waste money buying the whole CD for.
The first thing that is well executed are the vocals, which are a big motivator as far as going to enhance the music, as Lord Worm's low death growls are at times, very low, even growls that are very indecipherable at times, but still good enough to go with the music's complexity and technicality, as well as some of the high pitched ones, which further help to enhance it, especially with the lyrics, of which, are typical "death metal" type lyrics, but they still are able to mix in perfectly with the rest. Later he would continue to put them to use, just until his ultimate demise, leading to his second (and perhaps final) departure from the band. Out of all the vocalists that the band has had, his style has been the most prominent and better sounding of the latter ones as well.
The guitarists, are relentless in their chord progression, as then they then will switch over to sweeps, which at times can be overwhelming and confusing to any first time listener of this type of music, as odd andcomplex/unpredictable and often time signatures changes can make anyone's brain start to bleed if caught off guard, one of the very reasons why tech death can be fun to listen to, and even cooler to play sometimes too, as it allows the player to experiment and do what he/she really feels like, while also creating a musical masterpiece that would require many multiple listens and practices in order for another band to attempt to cover any of their songs. The bass guitar is pretty "fun" as well I should say, along with the inner guitar notes, the bass gives its own little grooves in at times that just make it seem as if the bass is a whole different presence as its own distinguished instrument, and not just a "follower" of the guitar.
The drumming is, well, let's just say that even back in the day, Flo Mounier is a technical mad man that just does everything he can to play fast, brutal, and complex to the point we he, too, is also one of them drummers that can "play guitar riffs on drums", as like another bass, the rhythm section is spectacular and rarely ceases to amaze me. This surely will also not be the last time that he continues to keep up the shear essence of extreme skill, as he will later apply these techniques to the rest of Cryptopsy’s albums. His skill of using complex and fast blast beats that end up slowing down to keep up the back beat is surely one of the most amazing things that a drummer is able to do, being able to play fast, but then also to be able to switch it up a bit with different grooves, and then even sometimes slow parts that put further emotion and depth to the music itself.
All in all, other than the production quality, which I'll forgive due to the nature of the type of technology at the time, along with the band's predictable financial status then, with the often indecipherable vocals, it's a pretty good album, still one of the cooler technical death metal ones that I like to listen to, and if you’re a fan of the genre, (or especially a fan of this band, old or new) I'd recommend at least one listen all the way through, because then you'll know, these guys(at least before they became really, really bad Deathcore) really put all their talent into their work, and have great abilities to create brutal and complex musical masterpieces that anyone with an open mind and true appreciation and understanding of music can really enjoy, that is, to say the least.
Where most death metal bands can be categorized as brutal death metal, melodic death metal, blackened death metal, technical death metal etc including -cores and -grinds, Cryptopsy is that black sheep that is so completely unique in every way that their music is a category of their own. On the Metal Archives they are considered technical death metal, but the implication of a statement like that brings thoughts of dry production, monotone drumming, guitar wankery to the hilt, terrible vocals, and few endearing points other than random riffs that it doesn’t capture the sheer intensity of Cryptopsy. It’s not just Lord Worm’s indecipherable vocals that make Cryptopsy’s “Blasphemy Made Flesh” so unique, but every element of the album is so perfectly placed that it makes the frantic chaos have as much order as a cocktail party.
Did I mention that this album is intense? If you want some death metal that you can listen to calmly at home to when the domestic violence breaks out again, Cryptopsy is not it. Cryptopsy is the kind of thing that you freak out with a bag of grenades and a severed head in Times Square on New Year’s to. This music is definitely not for the light of heart. If you already think that death metal in inherently evil or that death metal generally sucks, then this will not change your closed mind, but if you listen to death metal like an intelligent person who actually uses their brain rather than tries to find the next type of music to scare sheep in the next church circular with, the superb musicianship, brooding understated soloing, unique vocal style, and genre-defining songwriting technique is something to listen for.
“Close your eyes, this may hurt a lot”. “Open Face Surgery” is one of the most standout tracks of the album as Lord Worm brings in the screams of an insane torturer with his unique sounding “wah wuh wah wuh wah wuh wrrraaaaooooooo” vocals, Flo Mounier grinds double bass and snare throughout the entire song, and the guitars create an impregnable wall of riffing. The bass is even audible in this track smoothly complimenting guitars then drums then guitars again. The first really audible and clear solo at 3:08-3:31 has a bluesy feel to it, is much slower than the regular riffing of the song, and is more melancholy and brooding than it is brutal, but still does well to break up the song and show the band acknowledges their musical predecessors. The most standout part of the song though is from 3:45-4:13 when Lord Worm unleashes an unprecedented twenty-eight second screech. Even if this screech was dubbed over a couple of times, it still wouldn’t take the intensity out of it, but being one whole scream makes Lord Worm’s work much more impressive.
Flo Mounier is on my list along with Frost, George Kollias, and Derek Roddy of best extreme metal drummers ever. His percussive talent is not overstated in the least, from his intense snare grinding to his double bass blasting to the different beats in “Open Face Surgery”, “Born Headless”, and “Mutant Christ” Mounier’s prominence in the mix is the perfect creative decision for the energy behind the drums perfectly keeps each song going even when the guitars drop out, Worm’s vocals are extinguished, and the bass muddies. The snare sounds powerful at times, but at other times it’s volume is so high that it is reminiscent of poser bands like Slipknot, Bullet for My Valentine, and Avenged Sevenfold that bring in extra snare sound at a low speed to seem more intense and gritty. Other than the snare tuning (the snare drumming is perfect, just the tuning is mallcore-ish) everything about the drumming is perfectly set to create the mood of the album, bring enough intensity into the mix, and to compliment the other instruments in a brutal Frankenstein of technical ecstasy.
The guitars are very muddy throughout most of the album. Whether it is the double bass interfering with the down-tuned playing, the vocals and snare coming above it, or the seldom heard bass lines that are brought up from the dark depths that each song creates, but the guitars are only audible as a thundering mass of indistinguishable riffs until one of the guitars comes up for a solo or there is a drastic change in the structure of the song. The small amount of monotony in the guitars doesn’t hold the album back too though as they take second stage to Lord Worm’s vocals, the sporadic bass breaks, and Flo Mounier’s passionate drumming. They do sound really good in “Mutant Christ” and “Gravaged” with their growling chugs in the first and whining squeals in the second, they add a good amount to the mix of each track, but for the most part other than the soloing in songs like “Aborgir”, “Open Face Surgery”, and the riffing in “Swing of the Cross” the guitars are not very inventive.
The bass has a very audible popping sound at times when the rest of the band breaks, other than that it comes in at random times and adds well to the mix where it can be heard. Many times, though the bass is overshadowed by the drumming and guitars that blast through each song. Throughout “Defenestration”, the bass has the most audible part of any tracks in the album, but after “Defenestration” there are the few pops of each bass string here and there when the rest of the band stops or goes into a breakdown. The bass is good, but definitely could use some remastering to have a better part in the album.
This album is a must have for anyone looking to buff up their death metal collection. Cryptopsy was one of the most unique death metal bands in the scene when Lord Worm, now a god of vocal craft, was with them and “Blasphemy Made Flesh” and “None So Vile” catalogue their greatest and very short-lived musical achievements. If you want pure grit combined with brutal and technical death metal showing the pure essence of the words frantic chaos, it is in “Blasphemy Made Flesh”.
You'll be hearing a lot of that in this album. Sometimes I think that Lord Worm doesn't actually say anything and he probably writes the lyrics as a joke. I mean listen to the main verse of "Abigor," I'm pretty sure "WARAWARWAW" isn't a word. But hey, that's what I like about Lord Worm and he does recite his disturbing poetry.
Anyways, this is where the Canadian tech-brutal DM giant got their start. While it's nowhere near as fast as None So Vile or as technical as Once Was Not it's still a fantastic DM album. Flo's drumming is more controlled than his later efforts, Levasseur's soloing has more melody than his later outings (particularly NSV,) Thibault writes damn solid riffs and he plays perfectly with Levasseur, Martin's bass is just as wacky and innovative as Langlois', and the cacodaemon incarnate known as Lord Worm is gurgling away at the microphone yet somehow he's more intelligible than his penultimate performance in None So Vile.
The songs are fantastic, too bad Flo and pals can't write anything of this caliber without Levasseur or Thibault. Kicking off with the fantastic, albeit solo-less, "Defenestration" you know that Cryptopsy means business. Man listen to that opening bass run, then the break riff with Flo's godly drumming. Gods of the Earth! Now that is how you make death metal, plus the bridge riff makes it all the more awesome. "Open Face Surgery" is a firm personal favorite because of the insane 27 second scream from Lord Worm, and you thought Jim Gillette was awesome.
Honestly there's only one or two clunkers,"Serial Messiah" isn't really solid and "Swine of the Cross" is just typical DM. The rest range from good to great, "Gravaged" and "Pathological Frolic" are completely awesome. The latter has darkly humorous lyrics about a dead guy, Geoffrey, who died from auto-erotic asphyxiation.
The production is fantastic, the drums don't overpower everything else, the bass is clear as day, Lord Worm is also mixed just right not too loud like in NSV or too buried in Once Was Not. However the guitars kinda suffer a bit, they're not particularly clear or audible and the tone sucks compared to NSV or even their DiSalvo years.
So why don't I give it a 90+ seeing as how I enjoy this album so much? Well the songwriting doesn't really suit Cryptopsy's style, it doesn't bumrush me and violently sodomize me as NSV did, personally it just isn't up to par. It's still a terrific album though, give it a listen and you'll be hooked.
I’ve grown a bit bored with the notion of extreme music, in no small part to what is labeled as extreme currently, because it doesn’t really pass for music. I listen to the latest offering from one of the various metalcore sub-genres and instead of being disturbed or even mildly troubled by it, I’m either bored or mildly amused. Perhaps the source of my humor is that I’ve gotten around to hearing some of the bands that pioneered the concept of directionless rage adapted to the metal medium, and have discovered that the originators didn’t dabble in unfocused ideas, but simply expanding upon a very organized approach. If nothing else, this suggests that there is a line between actually being extreme and simply trying desperately to sound extreme, and while seeing today’s hack bands fail miserably at it is amusing, the nostalgia for a more competent version of it is a little bit saddening.
If I had to pick a handful of albums that were the most directly influential on the current fad called deathcore, this album would be on my shortlist along with the one that follows it. I made the mistake of assuming that when I was going to hear this that I would hear something completely removed from the current manifestation of Cryptopsy, but instead what I have found is a much better and methodical version of the same format. Death metal has always had its own personal share of punk and hardcore influences, and like Cannibal Corpse, most of this band’s influences point directly to the goregrind pioneers known as Carcass. Although I tend to prefer the earlier goregrind style of said band to the exaggerated, over-developed cousin of is found on here, this definitely has its fair share of positive elements.
Stylistically this is very close in sound to the demo that preceded it, but with a much better drum production and a broader set of lead guitar horizons thanks to the arrival of Jon Levasseur, who plays with a much greater sense of expression and technical ease than Dave Galea could ever dream of attaining. If you doubt this, just listen to the brilliant blend of melodic development and flowing fast notes on the solos to “Open Face Surgery” and “Born Headless”, both of which bring about 30 seconds of poetic beauty to what is otherwise pure, unadulterated ugliness. Thankfully Flo traded in his trash can snare sound for something that doesn’t temporarily cancel out the guitar riffs during the blast beats, though he is still a little too loud in the mix and showboating like no tomorrow. Granted the production value and level of active drum presence of this album is nowhere near the obnoxious over-emphasis that typifies the current deathcore scene, but it’s still just a little more than necessary.
But all things considered, there is only one real weak link in this otherwise solid death metal chain, and that is Martin Fergusson. Although technically he is up to the task of playing all the bass lines Kevin Weagle put to the demo, his bass tone is absolutely horrible. Picture a really glassy tone exaggerated to its obvious conclusion, and put it up against a slew of metallic guitar riffs and morose death grunts and primal shrieks. If this were an early hardcore punk album, it might fit, but on here is sounds completely out of place, and destroys the bass break and overall atmosphere of “Graveyard (A Cryptopsy)” completely. If they had had Weagle on this album, it would have worked far better, and the eventual firing of Fergusson was one of the wisest moves this band ever made in their entire history.
As far as what is the best this album has to offer, the closer to the speed/thrash roots of the genre they get, the better it sounds. If it was slowed down a little and Lord Worm wasn’t testing the limits of the masculine voice’s lower register in the most guttural of fashions, “Pathological Frolic” would be a brilliant Slayer meets Kreator thrash fest. The slow thudding riff at the beginning works quite well as a preface to a damned catchy tremolo picked main riff. It goes through a couple off odd tempo changes and occasionally sounds almost like Morbid Angel’s “God of Emptiness”, but not for very long. Similar varied but mostly speed oriented riff monsters with a good sense of organization also include “Abigor” and “Swine of the Cross”, the latter of which unfortunately lacks a guitar solo.
Although this is definitely far more technical than the demo, I can’t quite call this technical death metal in the same sense that one would call Death’s “Individual Thought Patterns” or “Symbolic” by that label. Lord Worm’s barks and the low end guitar sound definitely send it more in the brutal direction, with perhaps a greater sense of adventure in the song structure department. It’s definitely worth your attention if you like the first two Cannibal Corpse albums, although fortunately the band has avoided their New Yorker counterpart’s tendency to engage in overdoing the gore imagery on their album art.
There is a monster within the dark confines of the technical death metal that emanates with everything that is perfectly not right in this world. That monster is Cryptopsy. Blasphemy Made Flesh (BMF) shows us an embryonic Cryptopsy that is inexperienced at killing, yet still an able killer, and one that frequently rears its head into its maturity that we call None So Vile (NSV).
As always old-school Cryptopsy is the epitome of tech death. Flo Mounier, the Jesus of the drum kit, even all those years ago is thunderstorm. The guitar work I find possibly even more interesting than that of NSV. There is a great deal of melody that is not present on their later releases. It’s very fresh and is a darkly elegant compliment to the chaotic atmosphere. Like NSV, BMF is heavy in bass lines, however they are lacking in comparison to that of the former.
Now as every review of this album before me has stated, Lord Worm is unrivaled in his vocals. As I'm irritatingly drawing comparisons to NSV, I will state that I prefer his performance on BMF over NSV. They're deeper, more carnivorous, and just sheer sonic antagonism. The scream at the end of "Open Face Surgery", as stated by many, is one of the crowning achievements of extreme metal. Lord Worm, through those 28 seconds of terror, showed us that god is not here and that the devil was coming.
The one qualm I have with BMF is the production. I find it very irking that I have to turn up the volume to an otherwise unneeded level to truly appreciate this masterpiece. It’s a minor flaw, but it’s noticeable.
What can I say about Lord Worm's poetically graphic and passionate lyrics? After reading "Pathological Frolic", I feel a tad bit of remorse for Geoffrey.
I bought this back in '96, just based on that weird ice castle artwork, feeling that it brought to mind something obscure, cold, and atmospheric. And this album fully delivered that, and much, much more.
Take a base of Suffocation style riffing, and throw in some killer fucking drummer. By killer, I mean fast and accurate as all hell. Add Lord Worm with his trademark incomprehensible growls, gurgles and snarls, and a masterpiece is born! Also, the lyrics on here are probably the most disturbing I have ever read.
Things start out pretty basically with "Defrenestration," but with "Abigor" Cryptopsy shines. There is a small harmony break after the first chorus, but after the second, it develops into a full blown solo. This is not Arch Enemy, this is something sick and twisted, yet beautiful. "Open Face Surgery" follows it up with really, really sick vocals, including a nearly inhuman scream near the end that lasts over 30 seconds, bludgeoning riffs, and the best solo on here.
"Serial Messiah" pounds away before morphing into some neo-classical style melody, then back into grinding. "Born Headless" has some really heavy, chunky riffs, as does the album closer "Pathological Frolic" and "Memories of Blood." The most straight forward song, "Gravaged" is my least favourite, probably because it's simply too simple when compared to the other tracks on here. "Mutant Christ" is simply amazing, morphing from one nasty, churning riff to something fast, to something beautfiul (fucking great solo, Jon!), then back to the churning stuff.
What can I say I love most about this? Nearly all of it! The fantastic mix of ugly, ugly death metal and well crafted melodies is simply amazing. The speed is revolutionary without being click-click-click-Marduk. The vocals are disgusting and beyond belief. The guitars riffs are innovative, and span the full spectrum of metallic glory.
Probably if I were to give Cryptopsy a prize, it would be for creating the most innovative song structures. Each song goes through a variety of riffs, tempos and even moods, but very effortlessly. Many grindcore/death metal bands have since tried to copy Cryptopsy, but the seemless melding of so many different textures has never been duplicated. And actually, I really gave up on brutal death metal after None So Vile came out, because these two album are the apex of what I enjoy in that realm.
My favourite element on here has to be the solos and melodies, which rarely showed up in such music way back when this was made, and have hitherto never been faithfully duplicated. They're classy, but very atmospheric and beautiful at the same time. I'd reccomend picking this up just for the solos, but
The production gets a bit irritating. There is somewhat of a distant, cold, almost black metal-esque quality to the production, but still a fair amount of compression on the guitars. Also, the drums (especially the cymbals) seem to be a bit over produced. I prefer the more ugly sounding guitars and wild drums. On here, however, when coupled with the nearly incomprehesible vocals, it feels like something obscure, unnamable, and utterly beyond all reasoning. This evokes a bit of the old fear of the unknown, like being kidnapped in a foreign country where you don't speak a word of the language, but the motions and intentions of your captors are still human.
For specific bands, there's a certain sickness that they possess that only occasionally lasts past the demos, and never survives beyond the debut LP. It's less to do with amateur performances (though that's sometimes a part of it) and more to do with the sickness of spirit that many artists have in their early days. Let us glance at, say, Morbid Angel's 'Altars Of Madness'. Such a composition points to a deep-seated spiritual sickness that was dispelled after exorcising it through the music on that LP. The follow-up, 'Blessed Are The Sick', while a genuine work of brilliance, lacks that same sickness of the debut. And this sickness, you see, is a rare commodity indeed.
It is in this spirit of sickness that Cryptopsy's 'Blasphemy Made Flesh' operates. You feel that atmosphere of decrepitude and perversion, the sort that you hear on albums such as 'Altars Of Madness' or 'Slowly We Rot'? That, my friends, is the essence of what it means to be sick, ill, deranged. And what could be a better example of this than a wildly careening composition such as 'Blasphemy Made Flesh', perpetually alternating between the dangerously sane and the safely mad? Lord Worm and crew inherently know what the sickness is and how to express it in musical form, and they did it no better than right here, exposing everyone who hadn't experienced such feelings to them, much to the chagrin of the normal people who gave this record a listen.
Have you, yourself, ever felt it? You surely have at one point or another, though you might not have recognized it as such. Have you ever reveled in your misery a bit too much? Ever refused to perform kindness upon yourself or others and buried your enjoyment of such a thing? Have you ever harmed another person without feeling the guilt that your sorely hoped you would? This is music for such a circumstance. Every bass thump here speaks to the side that, below and beyond merely being animal, is pure sickness in each of us. The very essence of schadenfreude and bitterness and self-loathing, and more specifically, deriving pleasure from every ounce of each of those. Scare you? It probably should.
There's a spiral downward present on 'Defenestration' within the first couple seconds: that little twisting bass line isn't just a descent into a lower octave, but a descent into the filth that such an octave represents. 'She's the kind of girl you want to/run up and tackle through a window some floors up/and spatter you both to hell' goes the internal growled rumblings of Lord Worm, and so goes the rest of the album: ten odes to suffering and the sexuality thereof, of the beauty in the obscenity that each of us notices but wants to deny. Forever the music lurches forward, driven only by its insatiable gluttony for More, and not even that of any substance, but the simple need to consume everything in its path like an invading army of parasites.
Blast beats click, bass thumps, and guitars spin wildly out of control, rapidly changing tempo, rhythm, and melody at seemingly random intervals, spinning tales of deviance that would make a number of us wretch from their intensity. The whole album feels ready to spin out of control at any moment, only tenuously held together by some relation in insanity between each member. Otherwise, the structure of the band would totally collapse into its own entropy, playing music that's too much not only for them, but for anyone to handle. What you deal with is raw, undiluted blackness in musical form that most other metal artists, or extreme music artists in general, could possibly hope to achieve in utter obsidian negativity.
The production is just as reflective of such a grimy world. Bass is the leading instrument on several occasions, with its pops and slaps emerging like some maggot Antichrist from a fetid womb, under excruciatingly thin guitars that seem more like a variably-pitched static than any tonal instrument, apart from the remarkably clear leads that burst through periodically like the last traces of morals in a world gone hopelessly mad. Drums, technically played by the master Flo Mounier, have that rickety tone of early Morbid Angel, albeit seemingly under more control on the part of the percussionist here. And the figurehead himself, Lord Worm, is perhaps the most critical instrument here: the voice of perversion, swinging incomprehensibly from sewer gurgles to girlish shrieks at a moment's noticed, just to show you how very out of control you are. Effective? Most certainly.
The filth shows up everywhere you go: The main riff to 'Serial Messiah', still one of the most sinister ever put to disc, the odd, amateurish leads on 'Abigor'; the too-fast rendition of 'Gravaged (A Cryptopsy)', which almost seems to represent the complete loss of control in a serial killer, with Flo Mounier dramatically outpacing all the other members, forcing them to speed up perpetually to catch up to his impromptu tom fills. The Worm might sum it up the best in this half stanza from 'Memories Of Blood': 'I equate its suffering with/The longevity of a ghost:/Who lasts the longest/Is who suffered the most'. This is an album that lends itself less to headbanging and more to dark introspection, or perhaps the explicit abandonment of such introspection in favor of the perversion described on charming songs such as 'Pathological Frolic'.
'Blasphemy Made Flesh' is perhaps the most complex and least quantifiable Cryptopsy album, arguably representing concepts far deeper and more disturbing than on any of their other compositions. As long as one maintains the sickness, one might be able to grasp just what is going on here. Otherwise, prepare to be overwhelmed.
Cryptopsy have been living legends in death metal ever since their 1996 masterpiece None So Vile, widely heralded as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, death metal album of all time. Founded by vocalist Lord Worm and drummer Flo Mounier in the early 90's, the band earned recognition and fame early on based primarily on the unique talents of these two men; Flo Mounier for his incredibly technical playing and the invention of the hyperblast, and Lord Worm for his distinctive style and unusually intelligent lyrics. However, after the release of None So Vile, times changed for Cryptopsy, as Lord Worm retired from the band and was replaced by what many fans feel was an inferior vocalist.
Due to the album's legendary status, many fans of None So Vile often completely ignore the rest of the bands catologue, acting as though said album was the only one the band released. In fact, there was Cryptopsy before None So Vile, and its called Blasphemy Made Flesh.
Right of the bat, does this album compare to None So Vile? Even close? No. Indeed, the Cryptopsy on display here is of an understandably less experienced and talented sort, but this is not as apparent as it is on the debut album of many legendary bands. Musically, the entire group is in fine form throughout-Flo Mounier's astonding drumming is, well, astounding even in this early stage of his career, with the only noticeable fault being the inability to keep his invention, the hyperblast, going for as long as we would see in the future. Jon Levasseur's and then-guitarist Steve Thibault's riffing and soloing are fluid and expertly played, and then-bassist Mark Fergusson consistently makes his presence known with a fine performance on the bass. As for Lord Worm, his vocals are of a distinctly different tone on this album, higher in pitch than None So Vile but still powerful, and his trademark screams are perhaps more noteworthy than the rest of his repotoir.
The songs themselves are all great, with some of them being flat out incredible. Musically, if there is one thing that seperates this album from the rest of the band's catologue, it would be the melody of the guitar work. Levasseur's riffs flow with a natural melody that was somewhat absent on None So Vile and completely gone on the rest of the band's albums. The most noteworthy examples of this also happen to be the album's best tracks: "Defenestration" begins the album with a wonky bassline before proceeding into some intense stop-start riffage and fluid melody, while following track "Abigor" displays some of the finest lead work of Levasseur's career.
Now we come to one of two classic tracks from Blasphemy Made Flesh: "Open Face Surgery". Definately the best song here, "Open Face Surgery" begins with the now famous sample clip before launching into a flat out assault of bassy riffing and blasting. Then, the song proceeds into some of the album's best melodic riffs and a spectacular, heartfelt solo by Levasseur. The climax of the track is one still talked about in death metal circles: the 28 second scream. One of the things that made Lord Worm famous and a crowning moment in his career, the track closes on the vocalist belting out a scream that can only be described as damn creepy, holding it for an astounding 28 seconds as the aformentioned melody carries the rest of the track to its blasting crescendo. In case you haven't noticed, there is a lot to like about this song, and it has since become a classic Cryptopsy track and a standard part of their setlist.
The album moves along well for the remaining tracks, with more noteworthy songs being "Memories Of Blood" and "Mutant Christ" before closing on the album's other classic track, "Pathologic Frolic". Another very melodic track, this song just fucking rocks, with the main riff being another standout and lyrics that are flatout hilarious. What really sets this song apart is the ending, with some awesome hyperblasting laying the groundwork for repeated, multilayered shouts of "AND THEN WE FUCKED IT!" This is just a great way to close the album, leaving you breathless and bewildered but with an evil grin on your face.
At this point you might be wondering why this album hasn't recieved a higher score from me, and the answer is dissapointingly simple: the production. Blasphemy Made Flesh was produced in a manner that, frankly, sucks big time. The album as a whole is mixed way too low-you'll likely be reaching for the volume nob before the first track is over. Also, the balance of the various instruments is way off here; the bass is absurdly high in the mix, often burying the guitar (!), and the same can be said for the vocals and, to a certain extent, the drums. Its a damn shame too, as few albums deserve to have a crystal clear guitar sound more than this one does. Finally, while personally not a problem for me, I can see a lot of people having an issue with the snare sound on Flo's kit, as it is rather tinny and hollow sounding sometimes. In truth, the production comes close to crucifying this release, and there are times when you will pretty annoyed at the obvious mishaps in the mixing. Whoever turned the nobs for this should be shot-even for a low budget debut album, there is no excuse for the kinds of flaws present here.
Despite this glaring (and unfortunate) problem, Blasphemy Made Flesh is an album that absolutely deserves to be in the collection of Cryptopsy fans, though for everyone else I would definately get None So Vile and Once Was Not first. While the band would improve immensly on forthcoming efforts, this release nevertheless remains a fine display of early technical death metal with a unique touch, and is a worthwhile buy for casual and hardcore fans alike, if anything based on the strength of the two or three aforementioned tracks alone. Pick this up, be patient, and marvel at the seeds that would eventually grow into one of death metal's mightiest oaks. Recommended.
The first Cryptopsy album. Likely my favorite.
You know what Cryptopsy sounds like, right? Nonstop wall of guitars, crazy drumming, just a touch of Suffocation?
This one's a little more obviously melodic than where these guys went later (favorite bits: about a minute and a half into "Serial Messiah", and those leads in "Abigor"). They never really entirely lost that if you pay close attention, at least not until very recently, but it got buried behind a lot of technical screwiness and such. What hurts their newer music to me is that they don't seem to particularly care about songwriting... they just make a long series of unexpected twists and turns and assorted gotchas for their own sake, and then after four or five minutes of that there's a second of silence and the track number changes. Death metal can be ridiculously complex and uncompromisingly aggressive as well as memorable and listenable: I have heard it done. There are a couple of unfortunately awkward transitions here on "Blasphemy" that hurt things a tad, but nothing that will cause undo aural indigestion.
But back to the melody. It strikes me in kind of an epic, northern, snowy way, but that might just be because I know the band is from Canada and I've seen enough photographs of them standing out in the snow with their coats on looking very metal and extreme. In the minds of Americans like myself who have never actually been there, Canada is a frozen wasteland where strapping fellows in parkas battle polar bears with fireaxes in the streets (I mean the men have the fireaxes, not the polar bears), then go off to play hockey, the most brutal and extreme sport this side of ancient Rome. Their frozen ponds are littered with stray teeth and drops of blood sliding about. This recording exhudes that kind of harsh toughness.
But more evil, naturally.
Vo-kills are barfed by the illustrious Lord Worm. He sounds a lot better here than he does on "None So Vile", in my opinion; much less random. You can practically believe he's actually singing what's written on the lyrics sheet, instead of making it up as he goes along. His lyrics are quite notable, of course. He probably has more raw verbal ability than any other metal lyricist I can name. Titling the first song "Defenestration" seems to be some classic wit; it's stereotypically latinate in the typical death metal fashion – and yet it's not really a particularly brutal word. And if you're having a bad day, read the lyrics to "Pathological Frolic"... it shall surely be as a ray of sunshine to the delicate flower that is your life.
Much as the rest of the album is.
Cryptopsy's full length debut is definitely one of the best death metal albums to come out of Canada. Blasphemy Made Flesh marked the arrival of something big onto the death metal palette.
The first thing one notices while listen to the record is the unique mix. The bass is unusually high for a death metal record, and the drums sound sort of under-focused. Lord Worm's vocals are the stand out feature, though. These vocals can't even be compared to anything else. Lord Worm grunts and shreaks like none other, usually not even pronouncing the lyrics, just making sounds that are similar to the lyrics. Like the lyrics "reach, little one, reach!" (from defenestration) sound like "reugh, lulll un, reugh!". Oh yeah, you think you know powerful vocals? Listen to the 25 second scream at the end of Open Face Surgery. That, my friends, is power. Frank Mullen can't do that. Dave Vincent sure as hell can't. Chuck Schuldiner couldn't. Only the Worm.
Aside from the unique sound and the stand out vocals, this album put thrash metal back in the death metal mix, much like Scream Bloody Gore and Seven Churches did. Just listen to the riffs in Abigor (as well as many other song). Total fucking thrash. The guitar work is excellent, and definitely puts Cryptopsy above a hell of a lot of other bands. The solo in Open Face Surgery is quite melodic, and adds a short little break from the ear-fucking that ensues.
The best song on the record, by far, is Gravaged (A Cryptopsy). Besides having a killer name (hehe, gravaged, sounds like a act of rape), the song has a killer buzzing opening riff. There is a great little break about 1:00 into the song that reminds me of early Cannibal Corpse, in the fact that it makes you want to headbang like you have a case of Pyrus-itus.
Anyone who is a fan of NYDM should like this album. Hell, anyone who likes extreme metal, period, should like this album. Lord Worm owns you.
From the first few bassy seconds of "Defenestration" you know this record is going to kill. Flo Mounier begins his devastating attack on the drum kit at a mind numbing speed. Every few minute you hear a nice break with bass lines charging through. Now lets get to Mr. Dan Greening aka Lord Worm. With his garbled growls like no other he's truely is the ultimate growler. His stamina is shown on "Open Face Surgery" with an incredible 30 second scream, no studio editing here just talent. Now let's get to the production. Anyone that's a fan of older death/grind or black metal knows that production isn't a big factor in music. This is a perfect example. Who wants a bland, flat and all around boring production job? This album combines just the right amount of each element with a little character. But if you're a real stickler for production pick up Cryptopsy's new album "None So Vile". All and all this is the best release Cryptopsy's has put out. If you're a fan of older brutal death metal this is an essential release.