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Rapid Fire Psychosis Syndrome. - 70%

hells_unicorn, July 7th, 2008

During the evolution of the more extreme sub-genres under the metal umbrella, it is likely that some sort of unofficial line was drawn that established the buffer between what was brutal metal and what was just plain noise. But much like George Carlin’s famous quote from his things you’ll never see, stating that “you’ll never see someone taking a shit while running at full speed”, someone will take it as a dare and you will inevitably end up with some subversive “Camp Kill Yourself” type that will down 14 laxative pills and put on his running shoes just to make some sort of a point. Cryptopsy hasn’t quite done that with this album as there is definitely a level of purpose to the madness on here, but this was definitely bending some of the rules of extreme metal, and would undoubtedly pave the way to someone just deciding to go for a full out grindcore sound with random riff fragments, stylistic interludes and drum fills guising as beats, as this band did themselves very recently.

Although it can be plainly observed that Jon Levasseur is about as technically brilliant of a soloist as you’ll see in this end of the death metal spectrum, his riff creation process on here is tantamount to both Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman getting together and re-recording Reign in Blood while sharing a crack pipe loaded with stew of methamphetamines and designer stimulants. Some times what occurs is a set of tremolo picked lines that are executed at the speed of light but mostly dwell on one note long enough that everything seems to slow down, like “Slit your guts”, which goes between 3 and 4 note drones to wild lead breaks that sound heavily neo-classical, not to mention the occasional off-the-cuff slap bass breaks. Other times the drums and riffs go through these sudden time changeups that go by so damned fast that they would sound like mistakes if they weren’t repeated exactly the same several times in a row, as typified in the almost random stop and go hyper grooves on “Benedictine Convulsions”.

Ultimately the primary issue with the riffs on here is that they are often just too damned technical and fast for their own good and sacrifice the necessary punch needed to keep the arrangement centered. The bass does a little to mediate this issue, but a lot of the time the slap bass work adds an additional layer of chaos rather than reunifying the arrangement. The solos basically sound slow behind the drums and the rhythm guitar tracks, despite being extremely fast and technical. But every single time they pop up, the entire song is the better for it as a moment of pristine light contrasts an incredibly dark atmosphere. They don’t quite reach that amazing level of melodic and showy brilliance that Chuck Schuldiner and Andy LaRocque exhibited on “Individual Thought Patterns”, but it’s about as close as this band has ever gotten to a true emulation of that epic progressive character that dominated Death’s 90s material.

While the drums have not really gone too much further into the realm of chaotic insanity, Lord Worm’s vocal delivery has all but completely left the traditional death metal approach and morphed into something akin to a proto-deathcore sound. The shrieks and barks trade blows at seemingly random intervals, and don’t showcase much aside from Worm’s abilities as the vocal answer to a contortionist. All you have to do is listen to the first minute and a half of “Crown of Horns” and you’ll be treated to a slew of babbled mutterings superimposed on the guttural bark side of the death metal voice, followed later by what sounds like a breakdown section with something closer to the consistency of the last two releases. Although the frequency of changes in the various harsh voices available is extremely high, there is generally some level of limitation to how many are used in each section, giving a semblance of spacing between the parts of this growingly contorted sum.

I’m hesitant to label this as a death metal album because it is pretty far removed from anything that I associate with the style, though a few songs such as “Slit your guts”, “Dead and Dripping” and “Orgiastic Disembowelment” manage to stay within the confines of the Cannibal Corpse mold of brutal death. If you took out the solos, slap bass passages and made these vocal passages even more random, you’d have a better version of Job for a Cowboy’s “Doom” EP. Perhaps it is the fate of every innovator to have their original ideas, be they good or bad, be dumbed down and repackaged into something fit for moron consumption by lesser musicians. I can’t fully hold it against Cryptopsy for being different despite what it helped pave the way for, but I can say that this is not something that I can call either classic or even above average, despite it’s flat out denial of the rules of listener accessibility.