Tech Death Thursday: Crypteria

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Folks it’s Thursday, you’re feeling tech as heck, and I’ve spent all week praying for death. This is Tech Death Thursday (hijacked by McNulty). It happens to be a combination of TDT and In Case You Missed It, as I’m here to tell you about an album released in October of 2018 to which I am just now getting around to reviewing (however, and sort of to my defense, the promo didn’t arrive until February 2019) which is the self-titled debut from Jacksonville’s Crypteria (good state for death metal, am I correct). But first the news:

  • The best news of 2019, thus far: Inanimate Existence have announced their fifth record – to be released in May of this year – titled Clockwork. Spear loves them. You do too. All the details can be found on their BandCamp page.
  • Speaking of Inanimate Existence, they’ll be joining a MASSIVE tech death tour across North America with other titans of the genre including the following: Warforged, Aepoch, Flub, Eye of Horus, and Aethereus! Click here to open up an image of the current tour dates in a new browser tab (I figured this was the best way I could inform you all…). There are a ton of dates. Please find other TovH readers and meet them!
  • Speaking of Warforged, earlier this week No Clean Singing premiered a new video from their upcoming album. I imagine some of you would be interested in the band, as it features some nerd named Kevin Hufnagel and a thousand other power players in the genre (FOLLOW THAT LINK RIGHT NOW). I’ll wait right here…
  • Speaking of Flub, it was announced on Wednesday that they have signed with god-like TDT label The Artisan Era. According to the e-mail announcement, “The group boasts a powerful line-up which includes Alterbeast vocalist Michael Alvarez, ex-Vale of Pnath guitarist Eloy Montes, Rivers Of Nihil drummer Jared Klein, and bassist Matthew Mud.” Wholly shiite!
  • Does the mere mention of the name Victor Wooten make your loins tingle? It just so happens he is in a progressive metal band called Octavision and they have just added vocalist named Jeff Scott Soto to their lineup. Now I’m not going to sit here and act like some kind of Octavision expert, but I love me some Vic and they sound like what if Dream Theater but good. Watch the video for Three Lives here if you’re a prog rock nerd like me.
  • The band with the funnest name in the world Eximperituserqethhzebibšiptugakkathšulweliarzaxułum have announced a new single called “Tahâdu”, and there’s a preview hosted over at their BandCamp page. I haven’t seen much coverage of them on this here blog, but check them out if you want to near Nile as interpreted by a br00tal/slam band. Their LP Prajecyrujučy Sinhuliarnaje Wypramieńwańnie Daktryny Absaliutnaha J Usiopahłynaĺnaha Zła Skroź Šaścihrannuju Pryzmu Sîn​-​Ahhī​-​Erība Na Hipierpawierchniu Zadyjakaĺnaha Kaŭčęha Zasnawaĺnikaŭ Kosmatęchničnaha Ordęna Palieakantakta​.​.​. is fucking rad and I cannot wait for new material!

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I’m late to the Crypteria party, don’t judge me, in the end they were worth the wait tbh. The best way I can describe the band is the absolute perfect balance of A) technical ability, B) catchtness / memorability, C) song composition, D) production / mixing. For this review I want you to picture a series of sliding scales, one for each of those categories. Each scale goes 0 – 100, depending on how moderate or extreme it is. Many bands might have a higher rating of technical ability, and almost no catchiness. Well Crypteria is a great find in that their music pretty much slides each of those four scales smack-dab in the middle. Every element is balanced so well, kind of like making the stars lineup.

Technique – I’m writing this for a series devoted to the more technical bands in the genre, because these fellas can certainly play. They don’t push the tech death envelope as far as a band like Equipoise or Spawn of Possession, but it’s still impressive. Let me make an analogy to Rush, another band who possessed a TON of skill but rarely felt the need to show off for the sake of showing off (looking at you Yes and Emerson, Lake, and Palmer). Incredibly tight musicianship, tons of tempo changes, unpredictability yet full of precision. My vocabulary on the technical aspects of music is limited, so I’ll stick to this: it’s incredibly impressive to these ears. There’s also some excellent, traditional metal guitar solos in it (listen to “Immersed in Emptiness” below plz).

Memorability – Crypteria is for fans of modern, catchy death metal acts like Revocation and Aborted. It’s extremely heavy death metal, and often there are little catchy hooks scattered within their songs. Why I put them right in the center of a 0-100 scale of memorability is because we don’t need a thousand hooks per song, as thing that some modern metal bands seem to forget. A few incredibly memorable hooks, placed in strategic points across the album, to amplify its effectiveness as a cohesive whole, rather than just a collection of songs. In fact that is a perfect segue leading to my next talking point…

Composition – Listen to this album from front to back to get maximum enjoyment out of it, for it was written to be listened to in one sitting. Each song is an integral piece to the overall composition, and leads into the next one quite seamlessly. When I hit play on the album, it’s never “which track do I want to hear today?”, it’s “start at the start and enjoy the next 30ish minutes.” The songwriting is phenomenal — OH! I just thought of the perfect comparison, it’s to The Red Chord! Shorter songs, more of them, with no repeating motifs throughout. You never quite know what’s coming next, but you know you aren’t going to hear it again for the rest of your listen — except for those rare, expertly placed hooks. I can’t heap enough praise on this band for not being too hooky, and there are NO pop structured songs. The whole thing is expertly crafted with attention paid to the overall experience. Whether they intended it or not, to me this feels like one really long song, something similar to what Gorguts did with Pleiades Dust.

Production – I’ll make this one short: it sounds terrific. Every note of every instrument is so well recorded and reproduced. You can actually hear the bass guitar, and Kevin is a fantastic player. The guitars have the perfect amount of crunch, not too sterile like some unnamed bands (seriously, it would not benefit anyone to name names so I won’t). Though I had used Revocation and Aborted in a previous comparison, I’ll use them both as examples right here as well: if you think their recent output sounds good, it’s exactly on par with those. The bass drums pack quite the punch, making this one amazing sounding CD when blared out the speakers of a great car audio system, windows rolled down.

So there’s me gushing about the record as a whole. It’s a good’un. Austin from Crypteria tells me that they’re already working on new material (I’ll keep you updated)! This is an easy 4/5 emojis. If you like death metal, this one will be right up your alley.

Find Crypteria on BandCamp (the most wonderful music invention in the history of the world since vinyl).

Stay Technical Death Merol.

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