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Surprisingly good although declining - 79%

WitheringToSerenity, December 19th, 2004

By now most reviewers have probably discovered that Cryptic Writings, when released, was a far cry from anything this band has produced beforehand. The thrash/speed metal stylings are pretty well abolished here. Instead we are treated with more mid-tempo, melodic heavy metal riffs and as stated before more than a fair share of memorable choruses that could get consistent radio rotation without forgetting the guitar solo's.

Despite much of the negative reaction towards this album I still believe that whether Mustaine doesn't need to write thrash metal to release great albums. Youthanasia was is the perfect example and Cryptic Writings is as well(even though it is a step down). What you get is some songs with great heavy metal riffs/arena rock choruses (trust, mastermind), the emotional ballads(use the man) and the occassional ass kicker with at least some thrash appeal(disintegrators, she-wolf)

Dave Mustaine's vocals are one aspect I think has improved over time. He can still do the aggressive vocals but he has shown he can certainly hold a note. The music at times leaves something to be desired on some intro's and choruses but overall Mustaine comes up with some great main metal riffs even if they aren't played really fast. It could be argued whether this album is metal or a hard rock album at times. Perhaps a mixture of the two? The guitar solo's are there, not in full force but still shred. The album seems a bit too experimental into the uninteresting territory that will soon follow with Risk but fortunately there was enough riffage to redeem it. There are also preferrable tracks but overall its still rather consistent.

I would advise that you give this album a fair listen and not judge by what fellow reviewers think. Its usual to dismiss this album but realistically it has enough riffage to call it a great album despite being their weakest to date.

Favorites : Trust, Almost Honest, The Disintegrators, A Secret Place