It’s common knowledge that some of the most raging metal music today is coming from South America. Countries like Peru, Chilé and Colombia are producing what seems like hundreds of awesomely raw death and black metal bands. They are insanely passionate about old-school metal, their love for Satan is strong, and they release ridiculously obscure demos that are always fun to chase down. Case in point: Chilean death metal duo Ancient Crypts, who have released a cassette-only death metal monstrosity entitled Devoured by Serpents.
The first thing I notice when I hit play on Devoured by Serpents is that Ancient Crypts makes great dramatic use of slow, doomy passages. Opening track “Deep Into the Ancient Crypts” (fuck yeah, that title!) has lengthy doom intro not far removed from, say, early Paradise Lost. Of course, it’s a brilliant setup for the rest of the song, which goes into quadruple-time and destroys everything in its path. The riffs on this tape are pretty damn ugly, and the guitar tones even moreso. Vocalist/guitarist Nyarlathotep sounds like a cross between Bolt Thrower‘s Karl Willets and a rabies-infected wolf, which can’t possibly be a bad thing. Drummer Cristobal sounds like he was recorded inside the tomb where Indiana Jones found the Lost Ark.
“Between The Mortuary Remains” is another rager, approaching near-blastbeat speeds like a large animal trying to run. And in true dubbed-cassette style, it cuts off abruptly in mid-sentence. Is this what it was like back in the tape trading days, Dad? [Yes, son. Yes it is. — Steel “Father Time” Druhm]. Title track “Devoured by Serpents” boasts the ugliest riff of the entire EP, which is no small feat on an EP made up entirely of ugly riffs. Fourth and final cut “Procession to Nyarlathotep” has more of a mid-tempo doom feel, and closes the EP on an epic, haunting note. It’s worth mentioning that even in MP3 form (no, they didn’t actually send us a cassette), the recording sounds damn good, drenched in old-school echo and free of modern studio trickery.
In borrowing liberally from both death and doom metal, Ancient Crypts is something greater than the sum of its parts. They chose their influences well, and they represent pretty much everything that was awesome about early ’90s metal. Other than having a Bandcamp page, they make no concessions to modern trends whatsoever, and have wisely chosen to ignore the last 20 years of metal history. Ancient Crypts is exactly the type of thing that old-school fans can get behind. I’ve already turned a couple people on to this band, and it has serious potential to spread throughout the underground.
I can’t really justify rating this higher than a 3.0 since it’s only 4 songs, one of which is cut off. But mark my words: one day, all American and European metal musicians will quit to either get real jobs, go to college, or pursue other musical avenues (i.e. poser shit). And when they do, bands like Ancient Crypts will rise up and take over the world. And I’m totally fucking fine with that [I for one welcome our new South American overlords. — Steel Druhm].