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cassette craze chronicles III (feat. CRYPTOSIS, THE AMENTA and VEKTOR)


Aaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh... *highthrashmetalscream*

It's time for some cassette craze again. This time it's a smaller and a little more homogenic bunch, as all these three new releases dwell within in the realm of technical over-the-top metal.

Let's start with a sci-fi thrash metal split EP, which marks the return of prime Voivod worshippers Vektor five yeary after their masterpiece "Terminal Redux".

VEKTOR / CRYPTOSIS - Transmissions Of Chaos (Split) (2021)

Even though guitarist/squaller David DiSanto has started over with three new band members, the Canadian quartet's technical thrash metal with tons of lead guitar action remains instantly recognizable.
The only thing which has changed quite a bit is the average pitch of DiSanto's screaming, which is no longer as excessively high as we are (or have never gotten) used to. While this takes a bit off their originality during the verses, it's not a change I really mind, as his voice is still very poisonous and aggressive.

The longer track "Dead By Dawn" begins with an even bigger change of pace, albeit one which isn't totally new for fans of "Terminal Redux". During its slower passages it features pink floydish influences and even clean singing. Not with the most spectacular voice of course. But it's ok, it's cool. It remains to be seen in which capacity these ten new minutes of Vektor foreshadow their next release.

The neon green cassette looks cool, but if you have enough space to fill two booklet pages with a hardly perceptible band picture, maybe you could also include the track titles somewhere?
Sadly apart from its collector's value this whole release is a little redundant anyway, since Vektor have also released their half of it as a single.

And what about the other half? Well, I haven't even mentioned it yet, because the two Cryptosis tracks are also featured on their debut album, which I conveniently ordered together with it...

CRYPTOSIS - Bionic Swarm (2021)

It's quite fitting that this Dutch trio was introduced on a split release with Vektor, because on paper they are doing almost exactly the same thing: high speed thrash metal with off-the-charts instrumental chops, equally based on Slayer, Atheist and Voivod with dystopian science-fiction themes. But luckily you can distinguish them. And not only by the vocals.
(For all who miss the high frequencies vocals in new Vektor - Laurens Houvast has you at least partially covered with the occasional super-high Araya screech here and there.) 

On the instrumental side this shit is an absolutely frantic ride, which never really takes a break to let you breathe. Cryptosis include a lot of synthesizer sounds, which often makes them sound like a thrash version of Nocturnus. There's also a lot of stuff which tonally brings up the "Odium" phase of Morgoth.

Every detail on "Bionic Swarm" has been meticulously refined, these guys are definitely perfectionists. And luckily the precision and clarity in everything does not take away from the impact of the album, but only enhances it.

It doesn't happen too often that I hear a thrash metal tune and immediately think whoa, I got to have this, but this one absolutrely triggered that reflex. Luckily. Because this is a killer that will surely turn some heads and relocate some necks.

THE AMENTA - Revelator (2021)

Last but not least let's get a little more extreme with the Australian group The Amenta, who definitely share the more is more approach with Cryptosis and Vektor, but indulge in a wider and probably more modern spectrum of extreme music, in which thrash metal is only one flash among many others, like death metal, post metal/hardcore/everything, all delivered with a heavy dose of dillinger escapish panic (including a similar variety of vocal styles) and devin townsendish production overkill.

Even though the print on the cassette booklet may be a little too small for eyes older than 16 years, it's very well worth checking out the lyrics of tracks like "Parasight Lost", "Twined Towers" or "Wonderlost" - no wait, that last one is an instrumental -, because just like the titles suggest, The Amenta are permanently diving deep through wordplay hell in the best possible way.

While I must admit that I cannot stomach this particular flavour of overabundance of sonic information and aggression at any given time - there is no way around acknowledging that this album sucks the pus out of your pimples. Fuck yeah.

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