Cryptopsy’s 2008 album,The Unspoken King, was a polarizing album at best, an absolute abomination at worst.  Right or wrong, that output earned the band the dreaded deathcore tag, and the clean vocals of new frontman Matt McGachy (3 Mile Scream) went over like a turd in a punchbowl.  Fans expecting the brutal death metal that put Cryptopsy at the top of the genre were amazed at such a drastic style change.  So here we stand four years later, and one of the death metal godfathers has released their newest, self-titled and self-released full length.

After listening to this album many times over, it seemed that following the bashing their last output took, the band held a meeting and said: “Ok guys… the last album sucked in the eyes of most fans, so this time we need to put out something as brutal and chaotic as humanly possible to atone for our last mistake.”  Now that is not always a bad move, as an end-to-end punishing full length can be done very well (Antropofagus, Hour of Penance).  But when Cryptopsy try it here, something seems to be missing; the ‘it’ factor just isn’t there.

It’s not due to lack of talent by any means.  Drummer Flo Mounier continues to play like a man who’s been mainlining Red Bull for three days, and original guitarist Jon Levasseur is back, with Christian Donaldson backing him up (who made his first appearance on King).  Matt McGachy is behind the mic once again, and most fans will be delighted to hear that he has mothballed the clean vocals.  Lone newcomer Olivier Pinard (VengefulNeuraxis) handles the bass work.

The issue is they throw so many things together that the album as a whole seems to lack much focus on structure or songwriting.  Right from the beginning, “Two Pound Torch” sets the (light-speed) tempo that defines most of the album.  It’s the death metal we all know and love, the problem being that a large portion of the album follows this same chaos, causing tracks to blend together.  Sure there are variances, such as “Red Skinned Scapegoat”.  The longest track on the album, it features some wicked lead guitar work and even a jazz interlude before the outro.  “Ominous” sees the band stray into mid-tempo pace for a painfully small portion of that song, which provided one of the very rare head-bobbing moments.   There are no breakdowns for the haters out there to jump on, but seeing the band slow things down a little bit and let some of the tracks breathe a bit more would have really helped.  And while McGachy doesn’t display any clean croons on this album, his monotone delivery definitely starts to get old.  It’s very similar to Aborted’s Sven de Caluwe, but not quite as well done.  Mixing that up or even having a guest vocalist or two might have been an idea worth exploring.

Again this album is not bad, it’s just not that good.  Due to their lauded back catalog Cryptopsy have set the bar very high for themselves, and come across as a band that have lost their vision, but have the motivation to try and recapture it.  This new output is a step in the right direction, but there is still definitely work to be done.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Kevin E
September 11th, 2012


  1. Commented by: Noch

    I agree completely with your comments on their lack of focus/structure and the need to put in a ton more work. I remember popping this one in and going ”they’re trying too fucking hard – brutal for the sake of brutal, but it doesn’t make one lick of sense except for some timid moments on the record that have brill melody” my review would pretty much express the very same thing in a different way. Nice work.

  2. Commented by: AARONIUS

    I think this album will get reviews like this no matter what.

    Metal fans are just too snobby.

    They tried to experiment with their last album (and I’ll admit a lot of it didn’t work), so with this one they decide they’ll go back to their “roots” and get all death metall-y again. Now they aren’t experimental enough.

    It’s pretty hilarious.

    I’m kind of interested to hear that there seems to be a lack of focus or structure in these songs, I mean we’ve all heard the albums with Lord Worm on them right?

    Unfocused and unstructured is kinda Cryptopsy’s MO.

  3. Commented by: gabaghoul

    “Unfocused and unstructured is kinda Cryptopsy’s MO.”

    Precisely why this band has never clicked with me.

  4. Commented by: Cynicgods

    I will never take Cryptopsy seriously again unless they get rid of McGachy. I dunno, he might be a nice guy but I just can’t stand his voice at all. I’ll still give this a fair shake but I don’t expect my opinion to change.

  5. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    I was just astonished with their last release. completely horrified.

  6. Commented by: Staylow

    I’ve listened to this in it’s entirety once thus far, and I dig it. Never been much of a fan prior though.

  7. Commented by: Diggedy

    Levasseur leaving was the problem with both Once Was Not and The Unspoken King. He was the brains behind Cryptopsy’s “no rules” approach. The tunes I’ve heard off of this seem to pick right up where And Then You’ll Beg left off and I can’t wait to hear the rest…although quite frankly I’d like to hear DiSalvo’s vocal approach over the music, the kid seems to have partially redeemed himself.

  8. Commented by: E. Thomas

    Im digging this- got a bit of whisper supremacy vibe with the chaos. Mcgachy is fine on this too.

  9. Commented by: jerry

    as far as i know, levasseur wrote almost everything on Once Was Not aside from that boner song they made a video for. too bad the skullet chump guitar player recorded everything on it so it sounds like a sack of bees.

  10. Commented by: Diggedy

    I finally was able to hear the whole thing, and IMO the second half of the album, where Cryptopsy goes the more pummeling route, is killer vintage Cryptopsy. The first half is somewhat conventional-sounding to me, or maybe it just took that long for the sting of “Unspoken King” to finally wear off.

  11. Commented by: Biff_Tannen

    This is the absolute worst vocalist I’ve ever heard in my fucking life.

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