First snowfall in Guelph happened just a couple days ago, so I think it's appropriate for another black metal review, no? There's no other genre more appropriate for the cold, blustery winter season, so let's embrace the frost and dive into Cryptic Communication, Shadows in the Crypt's newest full length!
Shadows in the Crypt is another American black metal band who have nailed that dark Scandinavian sound with modern production, much like their labelmates Fiends at Feast. Cryptic Communication is ripe full of brutality, pure evil and hate, and musical technicality to boot.
While I would say Shadows in the Crypt have a much more traditional black metal sound than Fiends at Feast, there's still no shortage of catchy riffs and face melting solos here. I have to applaud guitarist Lawrence Wallace for his mastery of the instrument, because while many of the riffs are tremolo picked, classic to the black metal style, they're also very hook laden, sometimes with melodies very unorthodox to black metal. The final track, "Disgracing the Pulpit" has probably my favorite riffs on the album. I can't really choose any individual riff off the song to praise the most because they all flow so perfectly together. The solos are wild and ripping, which I think is great considering black metal's lack of solos, let alone ones that shred.
Unfortunately, Wallace is the only shredder on Cryptic Communication. The drums are wickedly fast and perfectly on time, not a common combination when it comes to black metal. As the old saying goes, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is, and since the drums sound absolutely flawless, it doesn't come as a shock that they're programmed. That being said, they aren't too over the top and crazy (a la Agoraphobic Nosebleed's grind classic, Altered States of America), but if you listen carefully, you can tell they're just a little too inhuman. It's nothing too distracting from the music, and for the most part, the ridiculously fast playing is kept pretty tasteful. [EDIT: I've just been informed that the drumming is not programmed, but is handled by Jesse Beahler. This proves that Mr. Beahler is a fucking beast on drums. I'm sorry for the mix up, everyone.]
Bomb-Ass Tracks: Baphomental Affliction, As Shadows Cover, Disgracing the Pulpit
On a Playlist With: Fiends at Feast, Emperor, Taake
Shadows in the Crypt do a pretty good job of making a modern black metal album with Cryptic Communication. Any fan of black metal will definitely enjoy it, and even if you aren't a big fan of the genre, the phenomenal guitarwork should be enough to reel you in.
You can find Shadows in the Crypt on Facebook here and you can pick up Cryptic Communication from Horror Pain Gore Death here.
That's all for now, folks!