It’s always interesting to see an established act attempt to align itself with a musical trend, for better or worse. In retrospect, divorced from the reaction by fans and the band’s response, Cryptopsy’s 2008 release, The Unspoken King, wasn’t the Worst Album Of All Time Ever. It was a decent, if repetitive, technical deathcore album that sounded and felt like an attempt to shift sound and band lineup with the prevailing musical winds of the time. Many bands have done this, but few are able to right the ship when they realize that trends are often fleeting.

Cryptopsy, then, should be commended for the stellar return to form that was their 2012 self titled album. An enormous sounding, perfectly produced homage to their older material that sounded both classic and fresh, it was received with enthusiasm by fans and press alike. 

Now, Cryptopsy have finally released the follow up to that album, with an EP entitled The Book of Suffering – Tome 1. The first in a planned series of EP’s, it’s a phenomenal continuation of the sound the band pioneered, as well as one of the best modern tech-death releases ever.

The EP begins with a short sample, after which it immediately kicks everything up to eleven and stays there for almost every second of it’s all to short four track run time. The band may be firing on all cylinders all the time, but they know how and when to scale back the crazy technicality without sacrificing the intensity and flow of the song. Nearly every track has at least one, and often two, sections that could ostensibly be called breakdowns, but are really just a transition to a different riff that, while still plenty technical and interesting, only sound simple when contrasted with the absolute insanity on display in every element of the music.

Perhaps the most impressive element of the entire package is vocalist Matt McGachy’s performance, sounding as aggressive and confident as any in the scene. That he’s developed from the average yet spirited performance on The Unspoken King to his current level of skill in only a few years is nothing short of incredible. 

As for the rest of the band, they’ve written an EP that carries on the fusion of modern and classic that began with 2012’s self titled album. The EP has so many moments that stand out (bass riffs!) that it’s hard to point to just one or two and say “Here, this is why you should listen to this”. Instead, The Book of Suffering – Tome 1 is a complete package of some of the best technical death metal ever released, and every song is a unique and exciting experience. The only criticism that could possibly be leveled at it is that the short, four-track, sixteen minute run time just isn’t enough, leaving the listener desperate for more. A trifling complaint, really, especially considering the instrumental and songwriting skill on display. The Book of Suffering – Tome 1 is an absolute masterclass in modern technical death metal, and is absolutely worth your time and money.

Cryptopsy’s The Book of Suffering – Tome 1 gets…

5/5

-CK

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