Unimaginable barbarism and outright hostility…
Review by Paul Castles
Release date: 30 October 2015
When it comes to extreme death metal of almost unimaginable barbarism and outright hostility then put Cryptopsy at the top of the putrid pile. The Canadians rip your fucking arms off and smile while they do it. It’s grotesque savagery at its brilliant best. The Book of Suffering is a four track EP carrying the sub-title of Tome 1. This suggests there’s more in the locker. While nothing’s confirmed yet I think we may be looking at a series of three EPs.
Cryptopsy’s name has gone hand in hand with pulverizing but technically inspired death metal, since they first kicked down the door with their debut album Blasphemy Made Flesh in 1994. Two years later they followed up with None So Vile and it was that sophomore album above all others, featuring such inhuman blasters as ‘Dead and Dripping’ and ‘Orgiastic Disembowlment,’ that really marked Cryptopsy out as major players in the extreme death metal ballgame.
Original vocalist Lord Worm had two periods with the Montreal men, his second coming to an abrupt end in 2007, since when vocal duties have become the responsibility of Matt McGachy. The first album with McGachy at the helm, The Unspoken King (2008) was less than well received by devout Cryptopsy fans due to its shocking change in musical direction, even featuring (horror of horrors) clean singing in contrast to Lord Worm’s garbled monologue.
Lessons learned, knuckles rapped, Cryptopsy’s 2012 self release album saw them return to the traditional Cryptopsy sound as anyone who saw them perform at the Robin2 last year (with Jungle Rot and Disgorge) would testify. What’s more, McGachy with his waist-length hair, is a ferocious presence on stage. And his insane vocals are probably even more out there than Lord Worm, and that takes some doing. As far as I’m aware McGachy abstains from the on-stage diet of earthy wrigglers that gave the noble Lord his name.
The Book of Suffering features four songs and lasts around 16 minutes. Before a note is played in anger a voiceover warns the listener to expect ‘something very different indeed’. The dude’s not wrong! ‘Detritus is a GBH of a song and leaves you feeling you’ve just been in the ring with the local amateur boxing champ. It’s a full-on barrage with machinegun blastbeats almost climbing over each other to get to the end first. A mid-track breakdown eases off the gas a little but the pounding is relentless and anvil heavy.
The incendiary tempo is maintained with ‘The Knife, The Head and What Remains’ with a crucifying riff pinning you to the wall as McGachy’s spittle fuelled onslaught leaves you cowering. While the breakdown offers some sanctuary from the carnage, McGachy’s maniacal growls sound like a man munching on a pint glass, shredded raw. ‘Halothane Glow’ and ‘Framed by Blood’ maintain the disturbing level of viciousness, the former bolstered by a mid-song drum barrage that threatens to rip the skin off the toms. Tome 2 is eagerly anticipated.
9 out of 10
- Detritus (The One They Kept)
- The Knife, The Head and What Remains
- Halothane Glow
- Framed by Blood