Crypta
Shades of Sorrow

I stand by the sentiment in my review of Crypta’s debut, Echoes of the Soul. There is room for them, as well as Nervosa. However, I took the diplomatic approach and didn’t take a solid stance on which album is better. That was a mistake because Echoes of the Soul is better and holds up quite well. After seeing these ladies crush the venue opening for Morbid Angel, I became a bigger fan of them. Suffice it to say anticipation is high for their new one.

The first item I want to get out of the way is the production. If you caught the first track on YouTube as I did, it sounded compressed and awful. I also didn’t quite get that BDM snare sound. I am happy to report the production on the album does leave something to be desired but doesn’t distract from the whole.

You get a brief intro, two bruisers in a row, and then “The Outsider,” which is even heavier than the previous two. There’s a melodic intro, but Fernanda’s vocals are brutal. Perhaps her lowest I’ve heard. If you haven’t seen her playing the bass like a woman possessed and growling her vocals live, just know her facial expressions are what tie it all together. The solos on this track from new guitarist Jéssica di Falchi are nothing short of mesmerizing. The guitar melodies overall have taken a massive, melodic step forward.

“Stronghold,” which is the very next track, may be the best they’ve recorded. Although it isn’t an instrumental, the music is allowed to breathe much more than in most of their others. The solo section ending around 4 minutes in makes Fernanda’s vocals when they come back sound even harsher. Then, it goes into the excellent chorus and another killer solo.

Despite it beginning with a whisper, “Lullabies for the Forsaken” is no ballad. With that snare sound, if Fernanda made some pig squeals, one could mistake it for a BDM track in a few sections. The production would have to be different and have some bass drops added though. However, you’re just going to have to settle for another badass solo to end the track.

If you ignore the brief outro, the real closer is “Lord of Ruins,” and it’s worthy of the distinction. The bass sound mixes incredibly well with the drums, but both are still audible. I’m guessing the frequency blending is the reason for the snare sounding the way it does. This track is an absolute monster, with more of that melodic sensibility they’ve embraced throughout, but it’s also heavy.

That about sums it up, but I do have one complaint. The length. It’s 13 tracks and 52 minutes, which is a little tiring for my poor attention span. Somehow this isn’t as much of an obstruction as it used to be for my enjoyment of an album. However, one could speculate if maybe one or two tracks could be removed to make it shorter and more impactful. I won’t lie. It’s a valid point. However, this is a more complete album than their debut. It’s more confident, heavier, more melodic, and hopefully a sign of things to come. I’m excited to see how far these ladies can go.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by J Mays
August 31st, 2023

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