|Review: Cryptopsy - Once Was Not|
|Once Was Not|
Label: Century Media
Year released: 2005
Genre: Death Metal
Review online: September 12, 2006
Reviewed by: Lars Christiansen
for:Once Was Not
Rated 2.73/5 (54.67%) (15 Votes)
Firstly I'd like to point out that after four excellent albums (and in my opinion, the crème de la crème of technical death metal for the most part), I can't help but feel somewhat let down by this, Cryptopsy's fifth effort. None so Vile is a near perfect death metal album in my opinion, and usually gets at least a weekly spin from me. OK, so this time around it seemed that all the hype was around the return of Lord Worm's lacerated lungs to the microphone stand, but what of the departure of long term six string wizard Jon Levasseur after the recording/writing process? Possibly a sign that the rot had begun to set in with regards to the songwriting process? Who knows.
I can't put my finger on exactly what the problem is here, because on the surface of it, all of Cryptopsy's standard trademarks are present and correct (i.e crazy time changes, jazz breaks and supreme lead work). However, if you delve deep enough under the veneer of this album's face value, some things are glaringly apparent to me. Firstly, the production is flat compared to their previous releases (especially noticeable on the most important instrument – the guitar). Often the controlled chaos of blasting strings just gets lost in the mix sadly (something that never happened on any of their previous releases), and Lord Worm's sometimes muffled vocals do not help this one bit. Also, this time around, there seems to be a distinct lack of cohesion in the song composition (quite shockingly so for Cryptopsy's standards). The songs are inconsistent, and dare I say it, quite poorly structured pretty much throughout the album. Whereas in the past, the over the top dynamic of the songwriting shines through, with ridiculous time changes seeming perfectly correct in the context of the songs, here they all sound out of place, stuttering and flawed.
There are a couple of points of value however, where a slimmer of the Cryptopsy of old re-appears, most notably on the 3rd track 'Carrionshine', the bass explosion just before the 2nd minute of the tracks breakdown is immense, surely measurable on the Richter scale. Also, the acoustical introduction is sublime, in a 'calm before the storm' type of way.
Let's put this into perspective however, if this had not been a Cryptopsy release, I would've simply judged it as a mediocre album, brimming with technical ability, but with not much else behind that to back it up. Technicality for technicality's sake alone does not make a good album. As this is an actual Cryptopsy release however, I find this stingingly disappointing, knowing the sheer class and quality that has spread throughout all of their previous efforts, I'm sorely disappointed at this weak and bland attempt at a Cryptopsy album. Shame on you guys, try harder next time.
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