Cryptopsy_The Book of Suffering Tome 1If Cryptopsy‘s bandcamp page is to be believed, the legendary brutal/tech-death pioneers took a quick 16 year break after releasing the classic None So Vile, triumphantly regrouping to produce 2012’s unfuckwithable Cryptopsy. Yet as fans know all too well, the truth is quite a lot messier. From 1998 through 2008 the band’s releases are among the spottiest in death metal history, devolving from the odd to the, well, unspeakable. Yet Cryptopsy turned things around in the best possible way, reintroducing an unpretentious Cryptopsy with new-found focus and drive and delivering some of the best riffs in the history of the band and of brutal death metal itself, no matter what Steel Druhm says [How did I get dragged into this?Steel Druhm]. Yet the upcoming Book of Suffering EP series still worried me; given the band’s troubled past, could they keep it together long enough to produce material that does the band justice?

Yes. Somehow avoiding murder at the hands of fans, guitarist Christian Donaldson and the universally (though I think unfairly) reviled Matt McGachy are showing their worth once again, living up to the standard set by one of the best rhythm sections in death metal. Though Flo Mounier effortlessly outperforms his bandmates on “Detritus (The One They Kept),” they catch up quickly for “The Knife, The Head and What Remains,” delivering a groove reminiscent of “Shag Harbor’s Visitors” but with substantially more variation. And though Donaldson’s quick semi-solos only serve to remind us that Jon Levasseur is no longer part of the band, his riffs keep getting better across the release, beginning in murky None So Vile territory and culminating in the blackened precipice of “Framed By Blood.”

From the tempo and time shifts in “Halothane Glow” that recall the better ideas in …And Then You’ll Beg to the samples book-ending the album, Tome 1 references every era of Cryptopsy worth remembering. And though not every moment hits the mark, the EP makes steady progress towards the brilliant closer “Framed by Blood.” A melodic landmark if there ever was one, Olivier Pinard and Christian Donaldson are at their finest on the song, with Pinard nailing down the riffs when needed and subverting them when he gets a good chance. The short solo section beginning at 2:28 pushes “Framed by Blood” into Song o’ the Year territory, as Mounier ghosts in some snare hits under a classic Cryptopsy lead and Pinard puts out a fantastic little counter-melody in between synchronized blasts.

Cryptopsy_2015a

As for Matt McGachy, he sounds exactly as he did on Cryptopsy, about which I am quite pleased. The criticisms launched at him – largely centered around the fact that he’s not Lord Worm and has a history fraught with metalcore – have always been superficial, and I think he’s a great fit for a more progressive 21st century Cryptopsy. His tone is recognizable and though his lyrics aren’t of the same literary quality as Lord Worm, they’re good enough for the top-notch death metal band that Cryptopsy has again become.

Tome 1 has me hot under the collar and wanting more; exactly what I want from an EP release. While it takes some time to get going, the payoff here is fantastic, and I can only hope that Tome 2 continues right where this leaves off. Cryptopsy are finally hitting the sweet spot again, writing material that sounds like theirs from the ’90s without being anachronistic or derivative, and the band is once again closing in on the top-shelf that they’ve spent so long trying to climb back up to.


Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Self-Release
Websites: cryptopsy.bandcamp.comfacebook.com/cryptopsy
Releases Worldwide: October 30th, 2015

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  • AndySynn

    I’m always surprised by how many people hate the self-titled, as I legitimately think it’s a fantastic album.

    Ans I’d rate this a solid 4 myself. Really has me stoked for the rest of the series.

    • Kronos

      I love the self-titled, and I don’t think there’s a single bad song on it.

  • You wot m8?

    Generally, I’m not a fan of this style of metal. Far too generic, rarely packing in any innovation. This is oddly listenable though. I might just grab this one.

  • Francesco Bordoni

    No Lord Worm no Cryptopsy

    • scarletspider

      No Eric Langolis No Cryptopsy

      • Kronos

        These are both untrue.

        No Flo, no Cryptopsy.

        • Francesco Bordoni

          Good points. All in all I can’t say I dislike that much these late territories the band is moving into (or moving back to?); I enjoyed their 2012 effort – though it tasted a little bit “generic” – and will surely check this EP out.

          That said, I would gladly trash everything they’ve put out since 2008 for a single shriek of our non so wormish overlord :&

    • Anarchist

      At least you can hear Lord Worm on Rage Nucléaire.

      EDIT: Didn’t realize this was the back in time tab I had open.

      • Francesco Bordoni

        No harm there ahahah

        Anyways I never knew he sang in any band other than Cryptopsy – thanks for the tip, I’ll surely check them out!

  • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

    Hmm, the self-titled failed to keep me interested but I’ve been jamming the two songs pre-released off of this pretty much.
    Might turn their boat around for me.

  • dduuurrrr dddduuuurrrr

    “Hi I’m so and so and I’m here to make your cover art”

    “WE WANT OUR FANS TO SAY TWO THINGS WHEN THEY LOOK AT THE COVER. 1: WAIT, IS THIS ANOTHER SLAM BAND? 2: THOSE GUYS IN CRYPTOPSY LIKE BIG BOOBS.”

    “… ok I can do that”

    • De2013

      ” and please add some misogyny to it while you’re at it.”

      • hubcapiv

        Unfortunately I think that comes standard. You have to make a special request to have the misogyny removed.

      • Kronos

        Bingo. Though at this point the “decaying woman” trope is being carried partially just out of tradition. Not that that improves things.

    • DIMENSIONAL BLEEDTHROUGH

      There’s some kind of crappy photoshop filter all over it that makes it look terrible at full size too, some fake dust or something that just makes it look fuglier.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      I don’t know… I’d qualify those as medium sized boobs…

      • Kronos

        I have half a biology degree and you’re wrong.

        • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

          Once you get the missing half you´ll understand I’m right.

  • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

    Great review Kronos. I must be missing something, because this has so far left me pretty lukewarm and McGachy’s vocals don’t sound as good as the S/T. Nonetheless, I’ll end up buying a physical copy because I own every other Cryptopsy record minus that collectible misprint when a third rate metalcore band accidentally got labelled Cryptopsy and made a record about kings or something.

    Donaldson is talented, but he doesn’t have the interesting oddball tendencies of Jon Levasseur or (to a lesser degree) Alex Auburn, and it sounds more like higher-tier tech-death than vintage Cryptopsy insanity. Probably not a popular opinion, but Gorelust out-Cryptopsy’d Cryptopsy this year I reckon.

    • AlphaBetaFoxface

      “…because I own every other Cryptopsy record minus that collectible misprint when a third rate metalcore band accidentally got labelled Cryptopsy and made a record about kings or something.”

      I choked on my cereal

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      My upvote goes for the collectible misprint!

  • mauler77

    Will check this out asap. I quite enjoyed the music of the last album but still can’t get on with the vocals, and not because it’s not Lord Worm, I just don’t like his style, and that was unfortunate as there seemed to be so many vocals in every song. I will persevere.

  • Alexandre Barata

    As in most Brutal DM, and DM in general, nowadays it sounds overproduced, almost hinting to Industrial. I really really hate that sound. But when i close a bit my ears I can pass by it and the songs aren’t bad at all. Just a shame that production

  • Wilhelm

    Ya know, I listen to it and I don’t hate it; it has the whole technical thing down, it’s heavy and I don’t mind the at-times-shouty vocals but when the music stops I’m just like “I don’t really care” Although it doesn’t sound horrible, it’s compressed and too digital, too commercial sounding. The thing I like about death metal is the really thick sounding, murky, oppressive production that sounds like you’re in some other ungodly dimension – this isn’t even close to that. There’s nothing separating this from any other overproduced modern metal album.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    This sounds like top notch technical Death Metal. But doesn´t sound much like Cryptopsy.
    I mean, I wouldn’t recognize this as Cryptopsy just from listening if I didn´t know it was them beforehand.

    • Kronos

      The EP gets more Cryptops-y as it goes along.

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        Cryptopsy goes Cryptopsey?

  • Martin Knap

    Can anyone tell me if And Then You’ll Beg is good ol’ Cryptosy or if they already had their “phase”?

    • Luke_22

      I haven’t spun it in a long while, but as I recall it was the last of the worthwhile Cryptopsy albums up until the return to form of the self-titled album. Whisper Supremacy is far superior though imo.

    • I remember a fellow death metal musician referring to it as “And Then You’ll Beg…for your money back!” Couldn’t be more untrue, in my view. That album is pretty ridiculous, worth it if nothing else just to own “We Bleed,” but the rest of the songs flow quite well.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      For me, it is still good ol’ Cryptopsy. For some, “No Lord Worm no Cryptopsy” (see elsewhere around the comments for the EXACT quote). My favorite Cryptopsy album is “Whisper Supremacy” and I see “And Then You’ll Beg” as a worthy successor even if not on par with it.

    • Kronos

      The fact that you have to ask is enough for some people.

    • noisemonkey

      Not quite as varied or with the melodic genius present on Whisper Supremacy but still a damn fine album. Super brutal as well.

  • Been a fan of Cryptopsy since Whisper Supremacy, even though it’s Flo and scab players, they are hi-quality scab players. Donaldson isn’t Levasseur, but he’s damn close and Pinard is a beast on bass. The singer has come a long way since his out-of-tune metalcore cleans on the Unspoken Album…he’s got “brootal” down and sounds like himself. Definitely dug the two songs they released off of this, liking their approach to independently releasing a series of EPs rather than putting together a full length and relying on a label to not promote it.

  • RilesBell

    I thought the self-titled album was really good too! I’m gonna miss Jon Levasseur a lot on this one I think.

  • Monsterworks

    Snobbery Made Flesh.