CRYPTWORM – Spewing Mephitic Putridity (2022)REVIEW

Grease slicked and bubbling puke slurries out the holes in their cheeks. A deep red caked wound eyeballs us from afar — Smeared with a chunky-black sludge of reeking spume and clotted blood the flayed open flesh-eye throbs as it splits, purple-veined n’ bloated intestines straining to hold the pulse of gaseous, anaerobic verminous expansion under the gravity of our lumbering, hungering guest. The gunked over ever-smiling pestilential horror of the living dead greets us engorged guts first as this much anticipated debut full-length from U.K.-based gore-drooling death metal duo Cryptworm rolls right into action. In fact ‘Spewing Mephitic Putridity‘ righteously benefits from how direct-to-brain its simple, polished stabbing motions are from start to finish as these guys serve a thousand maggoty slashes to the timelessly visceral appeal of underground death metal’s obsession with riff-directed moshable brutality.

Concocted in a Bristol-area lab as a vessel for the brutal, twisted grooves of ‘old school’ death metal circa 2014, Cryptworm features Hungarian bassist, guitarist, and vocalist Tibor Hanyi (Rothadás, Tyrant Goatgaldrakona) alongside drummer Joe Knight (Pale Mist, Swarost) both of whom have impressed the general black and/or death metal underground with several stellar releases over the last couple of decades. With that said, I wasn’t all that scorched over their early material beyond a few quick and sludgy stabs at death metal classicism on their split EP with Archaic Tomb, a decent enough first impression. When their ‘Reeking Gunk of Abhorrence‘ EP released in 2020 I’d been much more on board as they approached an angle that made sense as a sort of pure distillation of a few specific tastes; Consider Cryptworm‘s sound heavily influenced by the odd-angled technical riffing of Demilich‘s more primitive beginnings (and ‘Reek of Putrefaction‘ by association) with the brutality of formative groups like Rottrevore and Infester emerging somewhere in the back of their minds. It is a sound that fans of groups like Undergang, Cerebral Rot and Fleshrot will understand immediately without sounding like imitation or hanging-on thanks to their mixing it up and performing the -hell- out of this debut full-length with a tightness unheard of by today’s standards.

Nobody would blame you for feeling a bit of déjà vu when landing upon the familiar opening riffs of “Disgorged Chunks of Life” if you’re either already a fan of the band or this particular style of death metal as they’ve chosen a running order that first flexes its tonality, groove and barbarism before transitioning into increasingly complex and intensive movements. It’d also be fair to state up front that ‘Spewing Mephitic Putridity’ might read as just short of ‘variations on a theme’ at face value, at least until you’ve sat with its quick flash of a ~34 minute runtime and begun to note the details that surround its well-featured elastic in-the-pocket 24/7 riffcraft: Low-set and low growled vocals, crystal clear drum production, and abyss-tuned bass guitar bounce set …somewhere inside the bowels of endlessness… Cryptworm completely avoid the current state of ‘new old school’ death metal where primitive brutal death riffs feature in plain hardcore song structures (or without structure at all) while still appealing to those same implied ideals via actual substantial arrangement.

Once the crisp and somewhat distinct production values of this album sink in it becomes obvious that this isn’t part of any trendy, low-calorie modernism. “Reduced to Liquified Mass” caught me off guard in this respect, sounding like an mid-album burner from ‘Iniquitous‘ and featuring some great emphasis on Knight‘s handle of the kit as he swings, blasts, and transitions with brutal precision and, well, a mean as fuck sort of swagger that ultimately defines the experience for me. “Premature Entombment” continues this thread, going a bit harder on the fills and easing into its slowest, grimiest verses between blasts in such a satisfyingly heavy way that I’d found myself in rare form hitting repeat a few times on the first listen. From that point I’d felt like the full listen only improves with each song landing in a similar zone but with a more severe impact each time, peaking with the wholly representative doom, slap and stomp of “Amorphous Transmutations”. Of course I know what every death metal guitarist out there will say, after a couple spins, that this could be more cryptically writ or convoluted by more notes or atmosphere but there is something too damned satisfying about the naked punchiness of this record and its blend of brutal socked-out groove and writhing riffcraft.

As a listener always looking for death metal that counts rather than blows on past with a trick or two up its sleeve I’d found the potential Cryptworm have presented here in terms of sheer mileage somewhat ridiculous thanks to how approachable ‘Spewing Mephitic Putridity‘ is, a pleasant surprise since I’d not been sure they could pull of a solid half hour plus without running out of gas. As is, they’ve severed it right above the point of rot and kept a stump of meat to grow on. Pure pleasure listening for ‘old school’ addicts seeking a new angle on classic sounds and hey, without any dumbed down nonsense thrown in to cheapen a good time. A very high recommendation.

Very high recommendation. (85/100)

Rating: 8.5 out of 10.
Info:
ARTIST:CRYPTWORM
TITLE:Spewing Mephitic Putridity
LABEL(S):Me Saco Un Ojo [LP]
Pulverised Records [CD]
Extremely Rotten Productions [CS]
RELEASE DATE:March 11th, 2022

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