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CRYPTAE - Nightmare Traversal

At this point I can't even say whether it's just the natural progression of my music taste or if it's one of those 2020 things, but I have noticed that a lot of the stuff I'm drawn to these days tends to be either on the meditative, other-worldly, transcendend side - or from the complete opposite end of the spectrum.

Well, in case you're familiar with their "Vestigial" EP you already know that Cryptae are operating on the rather agitated side of this balance. This band is yet another outlet for René Aquarius' (Dead Neanderthals) love for sonic extremism after all.

CRYPTAE - Nightmare Traversal (Tape) (2020)


That's probably the first impression most listeners will have as soon as "Nightmare Traversal", the opener and title track of this album is unleashed upon them. And if not - wtf is wrong with you?

The distortion is so misanthropically loud and overdriven, so absolutely over the top exaggerated, that you can easily miss what kind of music is actually played here.

It feels a little like one of those 1990s extreme metal demo tapes, where the band was too inexperienced to realize that apart from themselves noone could understand a thing, because the fucked-up production ruined fucking everything.
Cryptae have somehow captured this spirit on purpose and made it work. Because even though this shit sounds abrasive and sick in the head as fuck, you can actually identify what is happening here.

Which despite the alienating layer, which the ferocious sound puts around it, for the most part is pretty straight-forward, traditional old-school in-your-face death metal with grindcore attacks and vacuum cleaner vocals. Zero melodies, crude transitions and all.

Compared to the nineteen-minute longtrack of "Vestigial", which immediately cried avantgarde, assholes! and hinted a lot more the aestheteics of black and post metal and even tiny traces of jazz infuences, the seven shorter pieces of "Nightmare Traversal" rather seem to be a recontextualization of a very pure, classic style.
Even though the second half of the album more and more voivodish ("Monastic Tomb") or even not-sure-if-even-metal parts ("Cronos") sneak in, it always returns to orthodox 90's death metal mayhem.

The only difference is that back then it just wouldn't have sounded that bonkers infernal.

Ok, that's not wholly true. It could have sounded similarily extreme, yet would have been utterly unlistenable, because the rehearsal room home studio concept just miserably failed. Yeah, I know, I'm repeating my point here.

Ultimately Cryptae are just an outright brutal, immensly satisfying joy of a sucker punch on the ears. 

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