Cryptopsy
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Cryptopsy

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It's been a long five years since And Then You'll Beg, but one listen to Once Was Not makes the intervening half-decade more than worth it. Seriously, this new Cryptopsy effort is such a multi-faceted listen that you'll wonder why more bands don't put out records as good as this. Combining seemingly all eras of Cryptopsy, Once Was Not harbours the complexity Flo Mounier and company are known for, but also brings some straight-forward material to the table, giving the upcoming live audience something to chew on. These tracks are so epic and so grand, yet also so down-to-earth and listenable: Cryptopsy has crafted the album of its career, with brutal death, grandiose moments and even those rad little jazzcore and punked-up bits all completely accounted for. 9/10





- David Perri


It has taken a while for Canadian death metal techsters CRYPTOPSY to get back on track after the departure of Mike DiSalvo. The last studio album was 2000's "And Then You'll Beg", after which vocalist Martin LaCroix entered the picture, lasting long enough to perform on concert LP "None so Live" and eventually departing. It was time for the return of original singer and conspirator in CRYPTOPSY's genre defining death metal firestorm. Lord Worm's scratchy growls and schizoid screams on studio masterwork five, "Once Was Not", make it seem as though he never left.

The album is based around the concept of fear, its 50 minutes of devastation fueled by Worm's throat-shred terror tripping. A Latin-flavored acoustic instrumental, "Luminum" begins the album by creating a sense of dread for what lies ahead. As the bombing runs commence on "In The Kingdom Where Everything Dies, The Sky is Mortal", Lord Worm's scream acts as an announcement of his return, warning all to take cover. From thereon out, it's time signature blasphemy, rib-spitting riffs, and bouts of unpredictable musical passage. The clean guitar break and off-time beats during one part of this particular track are PRIMUS-like in their oddness, the first indicator of the madness to come. The French and English spoken word parts on "Carrionshine" are chilling, a seething guitar solo providing the exclamation point. A short break for jazzy licks and drums explode into refulgent savageness on "Keeping the Cadaver Dogs Busy" and fusillades of shred slice the air on "Angelskingarden". The creepy sound effects and middle eastern instrumentation of "The End" provides one last respite before the world implodes on "Endless Cemetery".

"Once was Not" is an album that envelopes, battering the listener with any number of rhythmic weapons from Flo Mounier's impressive arsenal, Alex Auburn's terrifying riffs, and a bassist in Eric Langlois who flatly refuses to bow to convention. Lord Worm's skillful maneuvering through the battle zone is the pinnacle of the band's hard fought victory and the listener's ultimate demise. Debates will rage over the place of "Once Was Not" within CRYPTOPSY's impressive body of work, and many will be blinded by nostalgia for the earliest albums. Whether the disc is seen as legacy defining (I'm leaning that way) matters little when one considers that few death metal acts can match the brilliance of CRYPTOPSY. 9/10
- Scott Alisoglu


Rating: 10/10

Recommended Tracks: motherf*cking all of them!

"...Can you smell the fear?" hisses returning original vocalist Lord Worm at the beginning of the second track on Cryptopsy's exceptional new album Once Was Not. If you're a fan of shitty metalcore then the answer is yes, because the masters of technical death metal are back to obliterate your ears with quite possibly the most focused album of their career. It's been 5 long years since their last opus...And Then You'll Beg was released in 2000 - the scene has since been overpopulated with a million annoying metalcore and At The Gates clones each more unoriginal than the last. Thankfully Cryptopsy has returned to lay complete fucking waste to the extreme music scene (again) as this album is head, shoulders, feet, ass, and every other body part above everything every single other technically proficient metal band is even thinking of doing today.

For starters, the immortal Lord Worm has returned to his rightful place as the master of ceremonies for the cacophonous chaos Cryptopsy creates. His trademark ear splitting shrieks and bile-gurgling wails are still as terrifying and intense as they were back when their benchmark album None So Vile was annihilating speakers back when it was released in 1996. Even more surprising is the fact that he finds a little time to explore his vocal range (!?!) on the new album, with some songs punctuated by eerie whispers and solemn spoken word-passages. Pay attention, previously mentioned shitty metalcore bands - this is the proper and only acceptable way to use clean vocals in your music, not to promote how much of a sensitive pussy you are.

Former vocalist Mike DiSalvo (who was hand-picked by Lord Worm as his replacement years ago) did a serviceable job on his two albums with the band, but Lord Worm, for all intents and purposes, is THE tormented voice of Cryptopsy. For comparison's sake imagine if the recent Emperor reunion shows had been played with Mike DiSalvo on vocals - you'd have still went to see them because it's fucking Emperor, but something would have been a little out of place without Ihsahn rasping away at the mic. Lord Worm's harrowing vocal poison, reminiscent of the voice inside the head of a serial killer commanding them to murder, is a much better fit for the destructive wake Cryptopsy leaves in the listener's ears than DiSalvo's traditional death metal grunting/bellowing. Let's be honest though, there's nothing "traditional" about either Lord Worm or Cryptopsy, thus they're a match made in bizarro-world death metal heaven.

As for the music itself, insanely tight and precise technical death is the order of the day on every track. Over the years Cryptopsy have sacrificed some of the brutality of their early years for more technical passages (and truth be told, 2000's ...And Then You'll Beg got bogged down in over-technicality at times), but this album plays like a perfect union between their death metal heyday of the first two albums and the stunning musicianship of the last two albums, sort of a bridge between the two eras. Guitarists Alex Auburn and Eric Langlois provide masterful shredding in each song, but the highlight of the album, as with all Cryptopsy albums, is the absolutely inhuman performance behind the kit of drummer Flo Mounier. The man is an absolute monster with a pair of sticks in his hand, and his amazing work takes on a life all its own on every single non-instrumental track on the album for your ears to behold. It is literally impossible to explain or put into words what he is able to create with his hands and feet - you simply have to hear it and/or see it for yourself. Flo has his own website now up at www.flomounier.com in which you can order an instructional DVD from him as well as check out his kit and watch part of one of his amazing drum solos, which is good because you'll want some sort of proof that there is an actual human being behind the drums after your first Cryptopsy experience.

...And if this album is your Cryptopsy cherry popper then you're gonna need a towel when you listen for the first time because you'll need to clean up all that blood, and you'll need a good dentist to put your teeth back in your mouth from your jaw hitting the floor so many times. Welcome back boys, the metal world has been waiting a long, long time for you to kick its ass again.
- Greg


One of those bands that needs very little introduction, CRYPTOPSY unleashes their 5th full-length studio album upon a well-prepared pubic. The much-anticipated return of Lord Worm on vocals has made this an important album for the band and all in all it’s done its job. The trademark schizo-riffing and general pandemonium that is CRYPTOPSY is here in full glory, along with some elements that are less associated with this band. The advance pirate verdict seems to be that this album is a disappointment, but this seems more a reflection of expectations (ie “None So Vile Part II”) than quality.

I have to admit at this point that I am not overly familiar with the band’s entire discography and, while I do appreciate their music, I am not a rabid fan of the band. Awe-inspiring in its technicality, their music lacks emotion and focus in my opinion; I never feel anything when listening to CRYPTOPSY (and a lot of the bands in the technical death genre) other than confusion and bemused admiration. Every time something cool starts happening they’re off somewhere else. “Once Was Not” (especially in its latter phases) radically changes this opinion. The production is excellent, if a little drum-heavy, but that is like complaining that the jack hammer is louder than the drill on a construction site.

Goddamn rights it is because it is tearing shit up. I am assured by everything I’ve read that Lord Worm is THE throat man for CRYPTOPSY and, based on the non-Worm tracks I’ve heard, I have to agree. The guitars sound good and are played extremely well with some tasty soloing hidden among the squirrelly picking. I’m crap at picking out the bass, but when it’s heard it’s well mixed and if the guy is keeping up with the machine, he rules too.

Opening with the tasteful flamenco-style acoustic piece “Luminum”, “Once Was Not” takes about a minute and half to warm up before kicking in to full-on mind assault; Lord Worm’s vocals skipping from guttural growl to pervert barking, guitars and bass creating the expected wall of barely controlled noise and Flo Mounier’s manic and disgustingly tight drumming driving the bus. This is CRYPTOPSY, no question there and the more I listened to the album, the more I began to discern elements of genius, the well placed breaks and scattered chugging mid paced riffs breaking up the speed a little here and there. While they are good tunes, nothing really blew my mind during the first 6 songs.

As intense as the first six are, the second half of the album slows down a lot, becomes more atmospheric and this is where things got interesting for me. “Keeping The Cadaver Dogs Busy” actually grooves in the middle and seems to be the agent for change on the disc. This “slower” trend continues into “Angelskingarden” with it’s almost Thrash verse and fluid lead guitar break and is (no surprise) my favourite tune. This leads into the more experimental and haunting “The Pestilence That Walketh In Darkness”. A creepy almost epic riff under a spoken word verse linked by blasting, growling passages; this seems to be the one that has diehard fans scratching their heads, but widens the appeal of the band for me. A short interesting Eastern-flavored instrumental follows before the album closer “Endless Cemetary”, which again keeps the same pace begun with song 7. Here we are treated to a doomy, keyboard accompanied riff which blends into a MAIDEN-ish guitar harmony and slowly marches towards a perfect blast beat finish.

Like any great band with a past, a new album seems to really polarize long-time fans. I think with repeated listens, anyone –speed freaks included- should be able to appreciate this for the well-rounded slab of brutality that it is. (Online December 10, 2005)
- Todd


Discography

Once Was Not (2005)
None So Live (2003)
And Then You’ll Beg (2000)
Whisper Surpremecy (1998)
None So Vile (1996)
Blasphemy Made Flesh (1994)
Ungentle Exhumation demo (1992)

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Bio

“Extreme metal champions, the planet’s most technically proficient and mind-jarring death metal band.” (BW&BK)

Reinventing and redefining metal’s boundaries, CRYPTOPSY, recognized worldwide for infusing extreme music with awe-inspiring precision, rabidly dynamic rhythms, and mouth-foaming viciousness, have earned music fans respect inside and outside the metal community. The band’s viperous recordings and punishing live performance have confirmed their place in music’s elite.

From Montreal, Quebec and founded in 1992, CRYPTOPSY were launched into the international metal scene following their “Ungentle Exhumation” demo release and debut CD, “Blasphemy Made Flesh”. Quickly signed to Sweden’s Wrong Again Records (who also discovered In Flames and Arch Enemy), the band issued the underground classic “None So Vile”, which severely outclassed peers and resulted in the band being cited as having reinvigorated the style. Their intense energy and musical superiority led to their Century Media international record deal and also the American re-release of their previous two CDs.

Hand-picked by departing vocalist Lord Worm, Mike DiSalvo (ex-Infestation) recorded with CRYPTOPSY on their following albums “Whisper Supremacy” and “And Then You’ll Beg”. DiSalvo performed on the group’s numerous tours across Europe, Canada, the U.S. and Japan. Vocalist Martin Lacroix filled in for their 2002 touring and performed on 2003’s None So Live concert experience.

In its association with Century Media Records, the group achieved world distribution for “Whisper Supremacy”, meaning they were able to put on shows on several continents, including Asia, Europe and North America. In Japan just three weeks after its release, 6,000 copies had already been grabbed up in the land of the Rising Sun and total sales around the world have exceeded 50,000 copies - quite an exploit in this musical niche. Cryptopsy is the first Quebec metal group since Voïvod to make such a significant impact on an international level.

Since their 1998 release of “Whisper Supremacy”, significant events have multiplied at an accelerated speed. After their American and European tours, their participation at the famous Dynamo Festival in Holland and shows in Japan, the quintet went back into studio to record “And Then You'll Beg”, a fourth opus in six years. Once again, this album was produced by Pierre Rémillard (“None So Vile”, “Whisper Supremacy”) and was released worldwide in the autumn of 2000.

In August 2001, the vocalist Michael DiSalvo left the band after a performance at the German Festival Wacken Open Air. He was then replaced by Martin Lacroix from the band Spasme. On June 1st 2002, Cryptopsy put an end in Montreal to a world tour of 150 concerts through North America, Europe and Asia. The album “None So Live” was released in May 2003 and since then all the fans of extreme music around the world can experience this memorable concert.

Injecting renewed excitement into their committed fan base, at the end of 2003, Cryptopsy were proud to announce the return of the original member and legendary vocalist-lyricist Lord Worm. Much touring across Canada and the U.S. followed, but not before the departure of long-time guitarist and composer Jon Levasseur in August 2004.

Early in 2005, CRYPTOPSY recorded their next CD at Studio Vortex in St-Constant, Canada with producer, Sebastien Marsan. “Once Was Not” is an album representing the band’s power and versatility. Lighting the album’s fuse is an acoustic/electric guitar intro entitled “Luminum.” Descending with whirlwind intensity, “In The Kingdom…” embodies the entire CRYPTOPSY experience: acid-jazz infused extreme technical metal, battle-honed guitar riffs, strategically supportive and deadly effective bass guitar, culminating in the omnipresent rhythmical onslaught from drummer Flo Mounier.

The October, 2005 release of “Once Was Not” demonstrates the licentious cohesion years of touring and performing has given CRYPTOPSY. Hear why CRYPTOPSY are one of metal’s defining acts and why they have earned the distinction of being mentioned in the same breath as Mesuggah, Cannibal Corpse, Morbid Angel, and Dillinger Escape Plan, as well as selling over 275,000 albums to date.

A live DVD of their headlining show at the Trois-Rivieres MetalFest was filmed in November of that year, and released in February 2005. Flo Mounier also released his Extreme Drumming 101 2 DVD set in 2005. On disc 1, Flo discusses the basic elements fundamental in playing extreme metal as well as showing exercises, routines and tips facilitating speed, endurance and control. On disc 2, we see Flo in action performing some over the top solos and extreme songs.

In early 2006, the band heads to Europe for the first time in four years for a 31-day, 12 country tour, returning to Canada to perform a showcase at CMW on Saturday, March 4. Soon after, the band heads to across the Atlantic for tours in Australia, New Zealand, I