The EP is an interesting piece of the music industry. It can be the perfect place for experimentation or introduction. It’s a playground where a band can try new things with their sound. The split is even more so a playground where two bands can introduce you to their music for mutual benefit. In the case of Ashtabula, OH’s Crypt Rot and Cringe, it’s to introduce you to the northeast Ohio death and thrash sound. These two bands from the small blue collar town show off developing sounds that have not quite reached maturity yet but have a lot of potential.
Crypt Rot’s two contributions to the split, “Butchered Slumber” and “Serpentine Atonement,” show a band fully capable of absolutely pummeling brutal death metal. The foursome creates a nearly impenetrable wall of crunchy distorted guitars and blast beats. “Butchered Slumber” is absolutely punishing with its riffs. The song undergoes several tone changes throughout its 3:45 playtime. The pace changes could spin your head.
“Serpentine Atonement” is a different beast altogether. It’s seven minutes and twenty-three seconds of surprisingly sophisticated prog-death songwriting. While there are still the hallmarks of a traditional death song with its riffs and vocals, it’s made up of enough varying parts that it makes a very interesting listen. The thing to note here is Allie Dioneff’s vocal section of very competent singing. It’s a nice extra thing Crypt Rot can do to differentiate themselves from their peers.
Crypt Rot has such great potential. There seems to be a feeling with them that they should try a lot of things at once. Mastering the death metal sound while also maturing their songwriting. Using their vocalists to cut through the mix in much the same way a guitar solo works. As this band continues to grow, it will be very interesting to see where they take their sound next.
Cringe’s Memento Mori shows off a certain old school thrash metal contribution to the split. It’s very reminiscent of early Slayer and Metallica with their lightning fast riffing and solos and vocalist Hector Rivera’s shouting style. Their contributions to the split show of an organized chaos that some metal fans desire. If you are looking for some old school thrash, Cringe is what you wanted and didn’t realize yet.
The surprising thing about the band is just how fleshed out their sound is. Cringe knows exactly who they are and the sound they are going for. They have been together since 2014 but have only released 3 EPs of 12 songs in that time. Despite their collective youth, Cringe has put together a solid thrash sound from talented musicians. Their first track, “Searing Sin,” has that signature sound we crave. Fast riffs, steady but quick punk drumming, and those shout vocals that feel like a heavy metal drill sergeant barking out orders.
Any way you slice it, this is a split worth hearing. You like thrash? You’re covered. You want death? It’s got that, too. Maybe you are just that supportive of small towns in the Midwest. It doesn’t matter really. If you’re a fan of metal in general, take a listen to Crypt Rot and Cringe.