Although Cryptic is new, many of the members have chalked up years of experience in area bands. Guitarist Bill Klug, along with vocalist Terry Linn, came from Venesection and bassist Rick LaSalle spent time with Das Macht. Although keyboardist Eric Gran and drummer Lee Garza are fairly new to the scene, they each display enough hardcore chops to prove they haven't spent the time rotting in a crypt.
The EP, Prophecy of Hate, was recorded and mixed at Soundmill Studios and although short, the four songs reek with the stench of professionalism. The first track, "Embalmer" slashes open with a solid wall of thick guitars that hit you in the mouth with razor-tipped brass knuckles. Double bass-drum and a thundering, plodding guitar riff propel the song forward into a quiet respite with sampled speech before throwing the listener mercilessly back into the meat grinder. "Sally" begins with a beguiling female vox sample before descending into a fury of aggressive thrash and mosh rhythms with unique keyboard sounds throughout. Spooky organs get buried under a shallow grave of thick, speed-metal guitars on "Cryptic" with choir keyboard sounds latter shedding rays of light as the song battles between episodes of light and coffin black. The final track, "Rotting Corpses" contains eerie talking behind the opening rhythms, ominous keyboard washes that augment the ultra-fast death metal riffs, and elements of the first Black Sabbath album where the listener has an impending feeling of growing dread, with the song culminating with horrific, inhuman screams reminiscent of certain nightmarish scenes from the first Evil Dead movie.
Like their influences, Cannibal Corpse, Meshuggah, and Suffocation, the vocals are often illegible, buried under six feet of rhythm section, singing in the gruff, belching voice common to the genre, sounding more like a distorted instrument than a human voice. The ultra-aggressive, dark, grinding songs are like being repeatedly beat in the face in a starless midnight ally by an unknown attacker… just the way they like it. Available at The Subterranean and the Wooden Nickel Collectors store.
This review first appeared in WhatzUp, February 2002.