Cropsy Maniac
Carnage EP

You’ve heard of the Six Degrees of Separation right? Hell, you’ve probably even heard of the quirky, Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. Well, I guess you could say that it was the Six Degrees of Dave Ingram that led to my introduction of  Cropsy Maniac. You see, it goes like this: I’m a big Benediction fan, my favorite era of Benediction is with vocalist Dave Ingram; Dave sings for many bands, one of which is Echelon; Echelon has drummer Travis Ruvo in its ranks, Ruvo also drums for Cropsy Maniac; Cropsy Maniac‘s vocalist is Kevin Reece, Reece sold me Echelon’s The Brimstone Aggrandizement, via E-bay, and as a bonus and cool gesture, included Cropsy Maniac‘s debut, Further than Fear. The rest is history I guess you could say, and regardless of my lame story, here I am a couple of years after that gifted debut album, spinning the band’s new EP, Carnage.

If you are, or ever have been, a fan of death metal the likes of the old Razorback Records catalog, then Carnage is going to be right up your alley. With influences ranging from (old)Carcass, Impetigo, Mortician, General Surgery, Crypticus, Exhumed, Fetid Zombie, Blood Freak, Lord Gore, Unburied, and even Frightmare, Carnage nestles itself somewhere between primitive and pristine; with a bit more of a lean towards the former rather than the latter. Cleaner than Mortician and Carcass(circa ’88-’90), yet dense, grimey, and filthier than Exhumed, Autopsy, or even Carcass(’91-present). At a mere fifteen minutes, these five tracks roll by before you know it, leaving you somewhat steamrolled and even exhausted from the beatdown having just occurred.

There’s not necessarily a lot of overt catchiness or what one would deem as actual hooks that pop up during Carnage, and the ones that do suffer from brevity and a bit too much thickness in the overall sound/production. Don’t let that statement fool you into thinking there is nothing to sink your teeth into because there is plenty, as long as your tastes are more Repulsion than Slipknot. While all of the tracks fair pretty equal with each other, its the EP’s back half that strikes the hardest. From “The Carpenter” with its suffocating crush and old-school Exhumed vibe that rears its head in the later half of the track, to the brutal blasting and even sometimes breathy elements of “Slaughterhouse” and “Brainscan”, or “The Beast Within” with its slight catchiness and technicality that comes in sledgehammering and razorblading everything in its path, Cropsy Maniac deliver one nice little slab of unadulterated horror themed death metal. Closer “The Devil’s Rain” follows suit as the aforementioned tracks, but seems to be just a tad more cleaner in its sound. I’m not sure if the song really does have a less murky quality to it or if my ears just get acclimated properly to the band’s sound by the end of Carnage, either way the track is strong, brutally heavy, and just catchy enough to close things out in an appealing way.

While there’s nothing about Carnage or Cropsy Maniac that will cause you to ultimately  dislike the band, I’m afraid there’s also not really enough pizazz to send one head over heels for the group. I think the band could really take their sound much further and appeal to a larger fanbase if they were to develop towards cleaner and catchier fields, much like Carcass did. To be fair though, Carcass‘ sound changed because they themselves developed into better musicians. Cropsy Maniac are all ready capable musicians, so I’m not so sure the guys are too interested in a cleaner sound and appealing to those that don’t appreciate good, old-fashioned, brutal thickness.

Not that it matters, for right here and now, Carnage is Cropsy Maniac 2019, and is sure to briefly please many a death metal fan, myself included. Though I can’t help but wonder where the group could and/or will go, especially given the pedigree of some of the people the band is currently involved with  i.e. Jonny Pettersson, Kam Lee and their noted and respectable associates in the death metal scene. As it stands, Carnage is a solid EP of crusty and thick raging extremity that simply is what it is, nothing less and nothing more.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Kristofor Allred
September 5th, 2019

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