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Very good brutal death metal - 84%

Cheeses_Priced, August 31st, 2004

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.