The Unspoken King

Dwelling on the past will never, ever change anything. Sulk all you like but when a band that was so important and so vital in the formation of modern day death metal comes along with a record so alien to their former glories it can be a bitter, bitter pill to swallow. Even if the new direction isn’t as sacrilegious as the purists have been proclaiming but is still not quite the record that a band as experienced and revered as Cryptopsy should be making at this point in their career.

Although The Unspoken King, is stronger in the areas that its predecessor was flawed in (hammy production, a weakened Lord Worm, at times meandering, aimless song writing) when you sit back, digest fully and then objectively observe what has unfolded before your ears, the verdict is obvious, its not only not what you expected, its not what you truly wanted.

Aesthetically it’s so much stronger. Flo’s drums clatter, smash and roll with relentless thunder and there is plenty of earth shattering chug and squeal presented in the album’s seething guitar work, all of which is beautifully captured in a glistening, shiny production which enunciates every passage of the album. But, and this is not just any but, it’s a colossal one, it just seems that the sheer weight and overwhelming presence that flowed throughout Cryptopsy’s previous works is no longer present. The opening one two of ‘Worship Your Demons,’ and ‘The Headsmen,’ come cascading out the blocks relentlessly and seem to suggest that the legendary Canucks are back to crush all. 

Despite this, the replay value, is decidedly lacking, and each new spin doesn’t reveal new layers of intricacy that was such a feature of previous compositions but instead, blossoms a nagging, pinching doubt that neither of these two numbers, even when combined together can match ‘Crown of Horns,’ or ‘Emaciate,’ for their bludgeoning, opening impact.

Thus, there in lies a salient problem, given our nature as music listeners we are almost defined deterministically to refer back to the past, to rate the current against the former. That though is not just expected but habit, and is present in pretty much all aspects of life, but one cannot be left wondering, that if these thoughts are buzzing around your head, then what the hell what Cryptopsy thinking when penning The Unspoken King?’  Furthermore, you would have thought that remembering their legacy would have been paramount, as it seemed this was the case as each new opus (until ‘Once was Not,’) surpassed its precursor.

However, it’s by taking this cynical train of thought that the fundamental problems presented by this record are revealed and a dramatic conclusion is unearthed, this being if you were to subtract the name Cryptopsy from this equation, the end impression and feeling towards The Unspoken King, would be inherently different.

Anyway, enough digression, this point can wait till the end, as another more pressing matter has to be addressed. This being that clean singing does not (and this is key) belong in the most extreme stratum of death metal, you can get away it within the more melodic realms, but when it comes to head caving brutality, it does not belong.

Fair enough, new vocalist Matt McGachy proves he can spit raw venom competently enough in the first two numbers and then demonstrates that he has a range and the ability to swing from clean vocals back into a seething rally of rage on the album’s first (note first, there are plenty more) controversial number ‘Bemoan the Martyr.’ Now, let it be made clear that this is not pouncy dabbling ala Skinless on their From Sacrifice to Survival, no, no, no, this is far more full blown, far more risqué and far more controversial (that word again) as his voice slimly slithers through the speakers, backed by spongy rhythms that cushion and pronounce the phrasings.

Had this been any other album, it would work, hell, it would probably be even considered impressive, but Cryptopsy?

As stated above, had this been the debut album by a new band then it would be received differently and undeniably, positively, that is a given fact. The truth though, is this is Cryptopsy’s 6th album, it exists and is well and truly in print, and no matter how much you turn up ‘Graves of the Fathers,’ in the vein attempt to bury the past, the fact is, it will always, always be there.

Still, in ten years it will probably be heralded as a misunderstood classic.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Benjamin DeBlasi
July 21st, 2008


  1. Commented by: swampthang

    their a shitty deathcore band now which means their one of the
    – Cryptopsy
    – Bring Me The Horizon
    – Through The Eyes Of The Dead
    – With Blood Comes Cleansing
    – Waking The Cadaver


  2. Commented by: Dan

    Well done Ben. People have been jumping on the Plater Haters Bandwagon in droves since this album hit the net. It’s nice to hear a more thoroughly thought out assessment. I admit I haven’t heard much of this record, but the songs that’ve graced my ears didn’t seem particularly offensive. Certainly no worse than some of the deathcore bands people hail as heroes these days.
    Oddly enough, I own every Cryptopsy album (The Unspoken King excluded), yet I would never call myself a fanatic, or even an avid fan. I guess I’ve picked them up over the years simply out of curiosity. Each album has been different and it seems like this new one is no exception. Though I’m sure the criticisms regarding the songwriting and memorability are valid on some level, I can confidently agree that history won’t judge the album quite as harshly as some of its more fervent detractors would like.

  3. Commented by: Shockwave

    Good review. It has become a real fashion for the cvlt boys to label this as fashion, and they fail to see this, which is quite hilarious.

  4. Commented by: Dan

    i meant to say “PLAYER Haters Bandwagon”

  5. Commented by: xbenx

    Thanks for the comments guys! Much appreciated! Dan, I couldnt agree more, I guess we shall have to say where it stands in 5 years time, could it ascend to ‘Cold Lake,’ turkey status??!!

    Swampthang, harsh, harsh, harsh :) I would still say that this album is 100 times better then anything Bring me the horizon pen!!

    Its true shockwave, its totally, totally hilarious!

  6. Commented by: Red

    I actually like this album. Yes, it is (a little)different than what we are used to from Cryptopsy but so what. My only complaint would be the clean vocals. Not that I have a problem with cean vocals, it’s that they just don’t fit well with the album as a whole or with any of the songs individually.

  7. Commented by: Dimaension X

    This album has been reviled and written-off as utter crap by most people who haven’t even heard it.

    Listen with and open mind and forget about comparing it with the past albums by this band. It is completely different, and should be treated as so. As an album on its own, i think its “okay”. The drums are still WAAAYYY too loud in the mix, drowning out everything else, same as “Once Was Not”.

    Time for these guys to get a producer who will work out this problem, and help them figure out just who they are and what they want. Pierre Remillard did a great job with “And Then You’ll Beg”.

  8. Commented by: Erik Thomas

    I gave this album many listens. its not that bad, if it wasnt Cryptopsy-take out the whiny tracks and its pretty stout.

  9. Commented by: Desperado

    Intereting review.Being a fan I deal with other fans bitching about the new album too.I don’t mind the new cd,but I’ll miss Lord Worm out of personal preference.Once Was Not is my favorite cd by them suprisingly,and it coupled with None So Vile is all I’ll ever need.You’re spot on with the replayability.

  10. Commented by: xBenx

    I gave this some more listens on holiday and I do think they could have done a lot, lot better given the direction they were aiming for, we’ll have to see if they hold it together for another record.

    Dimaension, good point made, I still think the production is sleek and pretty perfect, but then, when listening back to this one against ‘Once was not,’ then most things would sound infinitely better.

    Desperado, the thing I find with ‘Once with not,’ as I said, is that its was flawed, and its so, damn, INFURIATING, because at its core, its a brilliant record that should be held in the same regard as ‘None so Vile,’ and ‘Whisper Supremacy.’

  11. Commented by: vugelnox

    The almost universally negative response this album received immediately piqued my interest as often throughout its history great metal albums have been greeted very derisively on their initial release by those who supposedly are in the know. I can count on both hands (with fingers to spare) the number of folks I can really trust to give an intelligent and honest assessment of an album. So I was hardly surprised to find that while this isn’t a great album it is nowhere near as bad the hordes of screaming morons proclaiming it to be their St.Anger made it out to be. Hell I’d likely put it above Once Was Not (which in fairness was a terrible album, myself a proponent of the “Lord Worm is grossly overrated” camp) but still below their other four albums. Would I go out and buy my own copy? Very unlikely. Is it better then Job for a Cowboy, Whitechapel, Despised Icon or The Faceless? Not by much, but it definitely is.

    If nothing else the comical attention this album has been drawing plainly illustrates why its foolish to trust the musical opinions of an overwhelming percentage of internet metalheads.

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