Into the Grasp of the Starving Dead
Dark Descent Records
Since its inception in 2010, Dark Descent Records has managed to prove themselves to be one of the best upcoming labels, with brilliant releases from bands such as Mitochondrion, Goreaphobia and Undergang, among many others in the short 2 years. Cryptborn this year sees their debut EP, Into the Grasp of the Starving Dead reissued by Dark Descent Records, and listening to this EP it is easy to see the reason behind this.
Finland’s Cryptborn plays dirty and gritty old school death metal. Right from the opening track A Feast for the Grave, there is no stopping the band as they crush all that hinders them in their path. Guitarists K.L. and V.M. take the charge in the band’s music, with the trem-picked riffs and the raw guitar tone sounding like a buzzing chainsaw, so heavy that it crushes the listener, almost making it hard to breathe when played at high volumes. The style that the band plays in sounds almost like an American old school death metal band playing their songs with a tone more common in the Swedish style of death metal (think Incantation playing in a Bloodbath tone, if you get what I mean!). There are also rare moments when there are guitar solos, such as on In the Grasp of the Starving Dead. Unfortunately, the lead guitar is usually at such a low volume, buried by the heavy riffs that wreck chaos above, burying the lead guitar beneath it.
The band also makes use of various sound effects, such as the tolling of the bells on tracks like In the Grasp of the Starving Dead, reminding listeners of Finnish black/death metal bands such as Archgoat. There are also moments when the band drone on at a doom-pace, such as on A Nebulous Parting, leaving listeners to slowly rot to death. One thing that could turn some listeners off is how the rhythm guitars and vocals are mixed extremely high on the record, at times almost threatening to drown out the rest of the instruments such as the drums, which, unlike many other death metal records, are given high prominence in the mix.
With the recent surge of old school death metal bands, it is definitely hard to make one stand out from the rest, with many bands sounding similar to each other. However, Cryptborn brings a whole new game to the table with the high intensity and the heaviness of the music, coupled with a short run time, preventing things from getting too repetitive and predictable, therefore making this one of the more memorable releases in the new wave of old school death metal releases so far.