Darkrypt was helpfully labelled as an Indian “dark death metal” band when I got the promo, which is great to know because I really thought a band named after a portmanteau of darkness and a dark underground tomb was going to be bright, poppy stuff in the vein of Carly Rae Jepsen. Given that I don’t even know what “dark death metal” is except a special snowflake genre descriptor, I was curious to see what sort of Whoville their debut full-length Delirious Excursion built on the foundation of the aforementioned snowflake and whether the gift of their music would be worth celebrating.
It turns out “dark death metal” just means death metal, specifically of the “global” variety; Delirious Excursion doesn’t plant its stylistic roots in one country too firmly. There is a bevy of influences here, from Spiritual Healing type riffing to Bolt Thrower’s consistent chug, from Cult of Endtime’s solid take on Finnish death-doom to Indian metal via the massive groove of Primitiv constantly bubbling at the surface. Closer listens show an influence of post-Emperor Samoth projects The Wretched End and Zyklon, which certainly doesn’t hurt.
The best aspect of Darkrypt’s sound is its consistency. The band doesn’t waver from their intriguing take on death metal, spending most of Delirious Excursions exploring what they can do with it. “Chasm of Death” sounds like what could’ve been a highlight on the last Morgoth record with some touches of early Death and even a bit of later Autopsy, all rolled up in a consistently yet subtly groovy package. Proper opener “Dark Crypt” is a burly and memorable chugger of a tune with some of the most overt Finnish death-doom influence here, and while it’s relatively minor and nothing beyond surface-level aping, the influence of Bloodbath and Demilich makes an appearance as well to spice things up a bit. That said, it’s closing number “The Acceptor” that really shows the potential in Darkrypt being actualized. Beginning with something that sounds like Morgoth mixed with speed metal, it switches into a verse and chorus combo which sounds like a grimier, Death-ier Demilich and eventually ends on something akin to a cross between Morbid Angel and Edge of Sanity. It’s a lot of influences combined into one like fifty colors of Play-Doh, but it makes for an interesting product instead of a confused mess, which is at the very least impressive.
Where Darkrypt tends to fail is when they stop playing solid, groovy riffs. Instrumental “Folie a Deux” gathers what sounds like their most uninteresting later Death and earlier Cynic impressions into one place for an extremely skippable tune. While Primitiv’s Nitin Rajan’s guest vocal performance is predictably beastly, “The Inducer” breaks into a clean guitar bit that acts as an ad hoc bridge between two parts of the song. It’s a musical “so, anyway…” transition that detracts from the otherwise good tune. Perhaps it’s the Rogga cameo, but parts of “Cryptic Illusions” sound too much like a middle of the road Megascavenger tune to make a great impression. “Abstract Submission” shows its cracks upon multiple listens, with a chorus that sounds like lesser Desecresy, a verse that doesn’t really go anywhere, and a conclusion that sounds like a newer Morgoth outtake. None of these flaws are truly damning, but they certainly hold Delirious Excursion back.
The sound of Delirious Excursion is good overall save one caveat: the drums sound a bit too clean and produced, lacking a certain vitality that’s present in older death metal. Otherwise, there’s little to complain about. Bass is crunchy and situated well in the mix, and the guitars are sharp and clear but not too perfect. Given that Darkrypt is a new project, flaws that experience fixes can be overlooked to some degree but not entirely ignored. Some screws need tightening, some riffs could be better, and some songs overstay their welcome, but Delirious Excursion definitely shows promise. What the band does next is anyone’s guess, but if they stick with what worked here and trim some of the fat, they’ll have an impressive sophomore record on their hands. As it stands, Darkrypt has released a good death metal record which established their sound effectively, and it certainly has convinced me that I’d like to hear more of it.