Cryogen
Psalms of Deceit

Cryogen’s last release, This Nightmare EP, was one of the first I reviewed for this site, back when it was still Digital Metal. In the two years since, not much has changed in the camp musically – they still play a slightly Americanized brand of melodic death metal, drawing influence from In Flames and the like. Psalms of Deceit is another six tracker, but only three are new. The other three are rerecorded tracks from This Nightmare, making this feel kind of redundant and pointless.

One thing I should mention right off the bat, is that the band has released this effort as a “pay what you want” release through their website, meaning it can be downloaded for free if you so choose. The press sheet accompanying the promo says it’s one of only thirty hard copies in existence. There are things I like and loathe about this. On the positive side, I dig the fact that this band is forward thinking. The money, time and effort put into all the aspects surrounding the music is impressive to say the least, and goes a long way to show that they’re in this for the art, rather than money or some silly rockstar pipe-dream. It’s apparent that they bust their ass to promote their art, and care about what they are doing. On the negative side, I’m am not a 100% supporter of the digital age – I prefer a physical product that I can hold in my hands, read the lyrics and liner notes, study the artwork and display in my collection. Looking over a bookshelf or a wall full of CD’s or albums or even cassettes can be quite impressive. On the contrary, telling someone “hey, check out my music collection on my computer!” is fucking lame. Downloading an image of the “album” art is fucking lame. Downloading a PDF of the lyrics is fucking lame. Especially in metal, where there are more collectors than most likely any other genre of music. *sigh* Rant mode off.

Onto the review. The first thing I noticed on Psalms of Deciet is that the production is a step down from their prior effort. All the levels are cranked through the roof, the bass is of course buried, leaving the drums, guitars and vocals fighting for your attention at a nearly annoying level. The cymbal hits in particular are sharp and distracting. With this in mind, I can’t begin to understand why they chose to rerecord tracks from This Nightmare. Of those songs, “Man is War” and “This Nightmare” are virtually unchanged, except perhaps some slight vocal approach tweaks. “Break These Chains” on the other hand, has been expanded by about a minute and half to now include some simple chug with a melody laid over top – it’s pointless and adds nothing to the song except length.

As far as the new material goes, it’s really just more of the same American styled melodic death metal – there’s really nothing new on offer, and they could have easily just added these three tracks to the six from the previous EP and released a cohesive full length without any major stylistic jumps or departures. I suppose “Faith and Suicide” has a slightly more technical bend to it, but it’s subtle, and “Omega” is maybe the best song I’ve heard from them thus far.

While I found Psalms of Deceit to be a fairly enjoyable listen (despite the production issues), it’s far from essential listening, even for fans of the genre. Taking into consideration the effort put forth in all aspects of their band, and the fact that they’re offering it for free on their website, I’d say it’s worthy of at least a play or two, if the style suites your tastes.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Larry "Staylow" Owens
May 17th, 2009

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