Cryptopsy - Once Was Not review
|Album:||Once Was Not|
|Release date:||October 2005|
02. In The Kingdom Where Everything Dies, The Sky Is Mortal
04. Adeste Infidelis
05. The Curse Of The Great
06. The Frantic Pace Of Dying
07. Keeping The Cadaver Dogs Busy
09. The Pestilence That Walketh In Darkness (Psalm 91: 5-8)
10. The End
11. Endless Cemetery
I have spent a lot of time with this one. When it was first released, it never left my stereo. So, not to jump the gun, but it's needless to say that I liked it. It wasn't ALL honeymoon, though. A lot of the listening hours were put in trying to get comfortable with it. I also knew lots of other Crypt-dwellers were struggling in their re-marital bliss. "Is it as badass as I want it to be?" we asked ourselves. I still remember the widespread uproar and gleaming hopes for this to be the ambrosial nugget of death metal majesty that would astound and amaze all that beheld it. Lord Worm was back, and many were relieved; yet, some (like me), were just glad it was a familiar front man, and that it was certain to be dark and insane for this. You see, I personally loved DiSalvo's percussive ogre-like grunts, as well as his provocatively psychological lyrics. I was never as angry at Worm's absence as most fans were. However, if there was to be another at the helm; I wouldn't have wanted it to be anyone but the maniacal intellectual that is Lord Worm.
With the obvious topic out of the way, I do plan on analyzing this monster for what it is. It is a new start, per se, but it most certainly is Cryptopsy. Let's let that fact be known from the get-go. The extremity that one would expect from the group is definitely delivered as viciously as a rabid pitbull fighting a wolverine, and progressive exploration of the virtuosic instrumentalists is sprinkled into the recipe nicely. It's just that a couple things (for better or worse, depending on taste) seem odd. Vocally, Worm is back to his Blasphemy Made Flesh tones for the most part, opting for his mid-range much more often than would be expected. Sure, the lunacy of his all-over-the-place style is present, yet what is missing is the frequency of his bestial low-end. This isn't a total loss to my ears, though, as screeches, growls, hacks, grunts, and even spoken-word are what the listener is treated to. There is no lack of variation from the man. His trademark twisted poetry is also tweaked a bit, leaving out a good portion of grossness, yet supplying enough darkness and macabre imagery to satisfy his long-time fans.
Another oddity here lies in the production. Any fan of the band is well aware that [band]Cryptopsy[band] is known for inhuman and spastic drums. We get this. So my question, at least initially, was: Why place them so high in the mix? A few notches down would surely not detract from the stellar performance of Flo Mounier. You just CAN'T ignore the guy. There are some of the band's most creative and prolific riffs on this album, yet they have to be listened for actively, as if searching for a ghost in the background of a fuzzy picture. Perhaps this was intentional. Maybe the gang wanted the listener to spend a lot of time dissecting the listening experience with a fine-toothed comb. I got used to it, eventually, and used the fact that I know what I'm looking for to help me through what would be an otherwise awkward time. It didn't ruin it for me completely. Besides, someone wanting an easy musical fix would most likely not be listening to Cryptopsy in the first place.
There are many highlights, some head scratchers (like the flowing, shoegazey main-riff of "The Pestilence That Walketh in Darkness"), one big disappointment (Jon? Why did you only play the intro? WHY?!), and many twists and turns to be found on Once Was Not. "Endless Cemetery" could arguably be claimed as a magnum opus, both musically and lyrically. My final thought is that the material contained within this release is some of the best death metal a fan of extreme music could ask for. So, initial cosmetic detractors aside, Cryptopsy brings the pain...one way or the other. It just so happens that this time; I am a sadomasochist.
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