The rattle against he coffin lid at around a hundred beats per minute is not the wings of death or the unholy vengeance of a skeleton perverted alive by all manner of insidious sorcery but rather the gangly limbs of very young maniacs creating violence & force as a trio who’d birth their creation in the spirit of extreme metal’s unceremonious beginnings. Punk rock at its most violent and bloody defiant, heavy metal at its most ear-piercing point of ugliness, and the morbid speed metal resultant is where Karlsruhe, Germany based street thugs Crypt Dagger have risen to shrieking infamy. Simple, unoriginal, and mangled by drunken fists the band would strike out into the world as a duo, releasing the ‘Residual Alcohol Rehearsal‘ early last year championing first wave black metal in its most pure, thoughtless stage of brutality. Their first EP, ‘Tales of Torment‘ came a month later sounding largely self-recorded once more but this time featuring a bassist who has since joined the band. Just as primitive as the rehearsal before it the only reason that first EP was notable beyond came with the vocalist’s use of Sheepdog-esque, as in the classic Razor vocalist, shrieks that punctuated certain lyrics. Today we receive the trios first professional recording, ‘From Below’, an EP that unveils their distant Hellhammer and Venom influenced speed metal antics as barenaked tribute to the old ways baring a punk rock soul delivered through a heavy metal payload.
‘From Below’ speaks the language of the auld Swiss rhythms immediately and although there are similarities within that are comparable with early N.M.E. demos b/w ‘Unholy Death’, the earliest days of Necronomicon (Germany), and even some more ‘straight’ speed metal a la Carrion‘s ‘Evil is There’, these examples all speak to a shared phenomenon of simple song structures that guide the experience which all owe a great debt to Hellhammer‘s gigantic sphere of influence in the context of speed metal and ‘old school’ black metal style. What makes Crypt Dagger interesting at all comes from an uncalculated rawness, a brutal attack that is punk as fuck a la Slaughter but solely aimed at the basal requirements for black metal before it was necessarily a fully formed concept. So, evil speed metalpunk undoubtedly has its turds of vanilla worship and I wouldn’t argue that but ‘From Beyond’ has the right energy, isn’t too blatant when borrowing rhythmic structures (‘Morbid Tales’ is very important as a reference), and still features the endlessly entertaining shrieks of the vocalist. No doubt that’ll be a dumb detail to some but I absolutely love it as it adds this authentic feeling coked-out 80’s extremity that was so key from taking early Venom and Slayer-isms to a more extreme highs. That shriek is pure black magic!
They did it, I loved it and I would highly recommend the simple appeal of what Crypt Dagger have managed on ‘From Below’. With that said if we’re leaning into this whole black metal via primitive Satanic speed metal angle the next fork in the road is either retro speed metal, even more punk-fucked metal, or the second coming of ‘Under the Sign of the Black Mark’. I know what direction I’m voting for but more importantly, this is a great EP with tons of wild child energy and musty, restless personality that so many ‘old school’ retro-minded metal bands never manage. A moderately high recommendation, with an emphasis on standouts “Rape From the Grave”, “Blood for the Crypt Dagger” and very inspired Dead Moon cover “54/40 or Fight.“
Moderately high recommendation. 3.5/5.0
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