CRYPTUM – Vile Emergence (2022)REVIEW

Mutants malformed by the wretched effuse of a caustic age, er, formed in the southwestern suburbs of Chicago circa 2020 featuring at least two folks who’d joined the death-thrashers a few miles west in Molder within the last few years, Cryptum are readable from a mile away as an underground ‘old school’ sauced death metal filth wagon. Wildly detailed surrealistic sci-fi horror artwork from Rotting Head on the cover of this latest EP ‘Vile Emergence‘ does a fine job of getting us there before even the first hit of groove-clobbered clandestine riffcraft can sink in — A scene of morbid transformation under a dead alien moon and on a grime-smeared planetoid. Their riffs aren’t that far-out, though. I mean they’ve got the knack and have had the right stuff since their first tape (‘Enter the Cryptum‘, 2021) landed but this isn’t a psychedelic spaced adventure so much as a pretty straight-forward hammer upon the high standards of 90’s death metal given a slime-slick wash of quick cut and moshable nowadays death metal snuff.

Since I’ve not mentioned mosh metal, slam, or 90’s hardcore yet you’ll have hopefully deduced Cryptum are taking a shot at the real thing when it comes to rapid fire pure death metal riffcraft but that is really only the heart of their gig hitting my own nostalgic triggers up front. Much of the virtuous classicist signaling done throughout ‘Vile Emergence‘ takes note of the slippery fingered chord-raking grooves on records like ‘Blessed are the Sick‘ and ‘Dawn of Possession‘ before building upon that foundation with seeming infinite loopable chug-and-slide expansion. The result isn’t far from what Undeath were doing on their first album minus the leads and speed, the major difference being Cryptum seem to have deeper interest in finding a Suffocation-level riff pocket and leaning into it hard. “Torrent of Infinite Time” should tip you off in this direction but “Dead Celestial Bodies” is the big neck-twister set to turn heads in the right direction. The alternation between two-stepping thrash beat and grotesque ‘Human Waste‘-esque roar n’ blast movement kinda -makes- the EP for my own taste and frankly has me hoping they’ll lean into this level of catchier, semi-laid back brutality more often without losing that classic death metal touch they’ve built upon.

Again, ‘Enter the Cryptum‘ had the right stuff last year but this EP reads as the suggestion of some manner of inventive breakthrough coming out of the quintet’s efforts in the future. I see the potential for greater signature on the horizon but as is, this is still pretty entertaining death metal in and of itself. Beyond that I hear a solid work ethic here in terms of the rhythm guitar tightness and especially the drummer’s oeuvre opening up to all manner of turn on a dime hysterics beyond their demo tape. If they intend to keep the gears turning and continue to develop this huge point of launch then I can’t wait to see what Cryptum do next. A blast of a ~16 minute EP and a damned impressive official start for such a new crew. A high recommendation.

High recommendation. (79/100)

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.
TITLE:Vile Emergence
LABEL(S):Caligari Records
RELEASE DATE:February 24th, 2022

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