Monday, February 25, 2013

EP Review: Cryptodira - "Recursions"

Hey everybody! It's been like fifty thousand years since my last post, and for that I apologize. I had some intense school work cut out for me, and then reading week (read: sleeping week) happened. None of that matters anymore though, because I'm back, and I've got a bunch more reviews (and some special new stuff!) lined up for you guys!

Let's cut the crap and get this old ball rolling again with a good one.

Cryptodira is a four-piece progressive death metal band from Long Island, New York who've combined Between the Buried and Me levels of progginess and Intronaut levels of spacey mindfuckery into an unholy beast of wonky, off kilter metal.

Even though I call them a death metal band, I wouldn't describe their music as "brutal" or "crushing". Everything sounds open and feels like it has a lot of room to breathe. Even though the actual music can get really chaotic sometimes, the production keeps it sounding like a raging storm, just looming on the horizon. Honestly, I have mixed feelings about this. When the band isn't going full steam, things sound great. The guitars, drums, and bass all sound organic and natural. A couple of the guitar riffs here and there, as well as a fair few bass lines have some chugging in them, and it's really nice to hear the guitars and basses sound like guitars and basses. Y'know, instead of massively high gain, noise gated, super-compressed shit, like most chugging bands do nowadays. So in that aspect, I love the production here. The only killer is the heavy parts. They sound like they could be wicked mosh parts. The music is all there, I think they just need to thicken everything up to make it really sound like you're suffocating in the slams.

Production aside, this EP is freaking great. There's some room for improvement (I'll touch on that later), but it's a damn solid effort from Cryptodira. Songs fly all over the place on Recursions, ranging from just under two minutes to about eleven and a half minutes. There are odd time signatures, polyrhythms, brutal growls, squeaky clean singing, massive grooves, and everything else that a BTBAM/ Intronaut mashup would sound like. I know I already compared Cryptodira to those bands, but seriously, the BTBAM/ Intronaut vibe I get from these guys is immense. Check it:

Yeah. I know I'm right. Apology accepted.

Cryptodira send you to space and back over Recursions' 35 minute run time. Their heavier moments are the aural equivalent of a colossal killer robot mechanically lumbering towards you, with only coldblooded murder in its lifeless eyes. They can shift gears and turn on a dime though, turning you away from this soulless crushing machine and throwing you into a sea of shimmering star clusters and warm, embracing light. These sparkly chords, floating basslines, and swerving drums make you feel at comfortable, at home, and at peace. I find that these dudes are at their best when they mix these two extremes together. It only happens a couple times on Recursions, but when it happens, it'll blow the shit out of your ass.

I honestly really only chose to include this picture because of the dude creepily hugging the speaker in the corner and the other dude that's just standing there, creepily watching him.
So, the couple things I think need improvement on this EP are mainly with the vocals. Both the clean and the dirty vocals are for the most part great, but I've just got a couple suggestions. As far as the dirty vocals go, I'd love to see some more variation. For the most part, it's a mid ranged throaty growl, and although I like it, I'd love to be able to hear some higher register screams and deep gutturals thrown in there too. I just want to say though, at the end of "Either Fly or Fall Faster", the vocals sound like they belong in a '90s powerviolence/ hardcore band. And that's awesome. As far as the clean singing is concerned, there's only one bit I have a problem with. On the final track, "The Affirmation", they fall just ever so slightly out of key during the same part of chorus every time (the word "measure"). Now, because it happens each time, I don't know if it was planned or not, but either way, I don't like it. It's honestly only one word of the chorus, but it hits such a sour note for me that it pulls me out of the immersive song that it is.

Bomb-Ass Tracks: Either Fly or Fall Faster, On Sleepwalking

On a Playlist With: Intronaut, Between the Buried and Me, Cynic

Overall Score


Cryptodira have laid down some freaking great progressive metal with Recursions. It's a blend of two beloved styles of prog fused together with the band's own characteristics and traits, making for some truly awesome music. I'm going to keep an eye on them, and you should too.

Recursions is a name-your-price download over at Cryptodira's Bandcamp. You can pick up a CD and a t-shirt there too if you're so inclined. These fine bros also have a Facebook page and Twitter account.

That's all for now, folks! Praise be to Basedgod.

-Grave Dave

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