Say your piece, objectors: yes, Lord Worm is still out of the band, which leaves Flo Mounier as the only original member, and he’s the drummer to boot; yes, their undisputed classic, None So Vile, is twenty years old; yes, they chased trendy deathcore and ran their name into the ground in 2008 with The Unspoken King; and finally, yes, the title of this EP is nonsense. Done complaining?
Good. Because Cryptopsy v.2015 does not give a fuck about all that. The new line-up? Flo’s a living legend whose style is as subtle as a battering-ram, and he’s surrounded himself with more than capable players from Quebec’s deep and dynamic scene. None so Vile? Yeah, they’ll still play a few songs from that album at every show to justify their name, but they know it’s been twenty years, too, so it’s all about right now for them. Deathcore? Yeah, they did that – and your favorite band’s attempt to shake up their style, how well did that go? Oh, it’s the album you never listen to?
I’m with you that the title is nonsense, but because so much of metal always has been, it doesn’t matter. Calling it The Book of Suffering (Tome 1) hints at the contents, which are deadly serious but immensely fun. This is powerful stuff, full-volume tech death but with fists in the air. Four songs of structured chaos and immense, atmosphere-shattering sound, burning hot 99% of the time, all without resorting to pointless guitar noodling or wonky space sounds.
Regardless of what this band is called or their lineage, the interplay between these musicians is amazing. Tech death usually sounds like a bazillion things going on at once for no reason: it’s competitive noise, flash n’ bang chaos, and the end goal is only to impress and stupify. Certainly, Cryptopsy have written music like that, but this version of the band ignores the genre’s penchants for jazzy breaks, programmed blast beats, and indulgent fret board runs. Instead, it simply goes for the jugular.
This version of Cryptopsy follows what the best iterations of the band have done by emphasizing melody and memorable sections. It’s conventional for Cryptopsy, but its miles ahead of the competition. They play to their strengths by using their most reliable tools. Flo’s drums lead the charge while tremolo-tinged leads scrape and flagellate a melody overtop. The bass work rumbles and roars almost at the same volume, which means that it punches through to add depth and groove to the carnage. Add in vocalist Matt McGachy’s feral bellow into the mix, and you have a band that strikes hard enough that comparisons to the past are irrelevant.
Four songs in seventeen minutes is ideal as you can’t get lost. Each song has enough swagger to stand up and stand out, which makes this EP a delight. Less is more, as even when Cryptopsy go for the throat, this leaves you room to breathe and appreciate. Pick whatever verb you want: pounding, pummeling, devastating, smashing, it doesn’t matter; Tome 1 will cause you more than enough pleasing damage for you to anticipate the arrival of Tome 2.