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Cryptic Brood - Outcome of Obnoxious Science - 94%

Edmund Sackbauer, June 9th, 2021
Written based on this version: 2019, CD, War Anthem Records

German death metal has made quite a few waves over the past few years. While it is not that easy to pin down what exactly defines “German death metal” in detail there are quite a few attributes which make records from that country in some ways recognizable – like it is the case with most local scenes. There are certain pioneers defining trademark elements which are picked up by most of their countrymen. One band I would have put somewhere else on the global death metal map if I had not known it better are Cryptic Brood. Their slimy death/doom approach has more in common with some acts from the 20 BS roster, and their 2019 full length “Outcome of Obnoxious Science” got them a lot of respect in the international community and found its way on quite a few YE lists – rightly deserved in my opinion.

The split which they had done with Japanese corpse manglers Anatomia before this album should have given an indication what to expect, although Cryptic Brood only delivered a single compact song for that one. Dense, foul, and often quirky, their music seems to be the stuff of a dark and putrid ritual, a form of arcane pitch-black incantation which draws its sinister energies from reanimating corpses and evoking obscure demons. The main ingredients of this unholy cocktail have been taken from the old school death metal pool defined by the likes of Autopsy or Incantation, with the hypnotic and stoic guitar chords sawing their way into the listener’s cerebellum. Some impressive soloing is used for creating a certain feeling of chaos, but in the end each song feels well-structured and the album has a great flow.

Flickering guitar leads add a feeling of lunatic zealotry to this vaulting assault on the senses. The tracks flow into each other, and while there is nothing too catchy or hooky on the surface the listening experience is a fascinating one and Cryptic Brood will drag you into the mud slowly but unstoppably. They love to stay within the sluggish and mid-tempo area with a lot of doomy passages dominating the scenery, but when they decide to attack they do so without mercy as shown in songs like e.g. “Harrowing Hallucinations”, which starts off with psychotic guitar harmonies before switching to some blasts and ending in crawling filthiness. Absolutely nasty and disgusting stuff, and I mean this in the most positive way.

The vocals are very intense and varied with each of the three gentlemen delivering his own gurgling parts, often sepulchral and cavernous in their tone, but sometimes peaking in desperate and soul-piercing screams. The music channels the sensation of descending into a gaping, lightless maw of death with no end. This album is infiltrated with the febrile and spectral emanations of eerie harmonies that add further dimensions to the horror, and there are enough variations in the drumming as well. Generally speaking the rhythm section lend the proceedings a thunderous lower end intensity and satisfyingly throwback vibe.

To cap it off, the huge and reverberating production job makes everything sound absolutely massive with a healthy smattering of reverb. The drums benefit particularly with a dense and fleshy impact while the guitar sounds simultaneously decrepit yet brimming with feral strength and the bass tone is buzzing in droning manner. Music like this asks for a swampy sound, but despite sounding rotten to the core each instrument is clearly audible and the mix is very dynamic. This is not the muffled kind of production you often come across these days, but the end result is very organic and oozes unfiltered rawness. “Outcome of Obnoxious Science” is a fantastic album, surely one of the best German death metal outputs I have ever heard. Cryptic Brood have managed to give us an album which stays true to formula while sounding more interesting than most other similar ones. Rancid and fresh at the same time if you know what I mean. Must-have!