Originally written by Justin Bean.
Now this is what I like to hear. Polish blackened death metal, or vise verse—whichever you prefer—played with a level of speed, aggression, and coherency matched by few since the days of Emperor’s IX Equilibrium. On Armageddon’s Evolution, their second full-length release, Crionics is commanding the attention they deserve. It would seem natural to make some sort of comparison to black/death metal country-mates Behemoth, but whereas Behemoth’s sound continues to lean more towards the death metal end of the spectrum, Crionics comes nearer to striking a balance between the evil melodic ambiance of black metal and the sheer brutality of death metal, but I think it is fair to say they lean more towards the former than the latter. Either way you look at it, they can certainly shred alongside Behemoth, Myrkskog or Zyklon, for that matter; this album is chock full of song upon song of blast beat driven ferocity with intriguingly complex yet subtle guitar work, demonic vocals, and enough 666 to please any pagan.
Jumping straight into the maelstrom, Armageddon’s Evolution begins with “Arrival of Non-parallel Aeons”, thus setting the level of intensity to ‘high’ from the beginning. Smoothly inserted between the keyboard-backed blackened riffs are plenty of chug-laden breakdowns played with a thrash-conscious attitude. The keyboards are present throughout most of the album and their level in the recording allows them to play a delicate but important role in the overall sound without becoming overbearing. One of the keyboard’s standout moments comes in the midst of “Black Manifest (The Sermon to the Masses)” with a short, haunting rendition of “O Fortuna”. Emperor’s influence isn’t hard to notice, especially in the guitar work (and from what I understand, certain versions of the album have a cover of Emperor’s “The Loss and Curse of Reverance”), but via solid songwriting and a willingness to experiment with their sound, Crionics have produced a release that stands on its own at the head of the pack.
With each successive listen this album seems to get better. Most every song has a hook of one form or another that grabs you and refuses to let go; it could be a well-placed guitar squeal, a clever part transfer, or a slow, brooding intro verse that manages to stay technical, catchy, and heavy all at once (see “Xenomorphized Soul Devoured”). The production is balanced and clear with a crisp, almost static-like edge that couples well with the atmospheric effect of the keyboards. It’s not often that a randomly chosen album yields such a fantastically evil delight.
This is pretty much everything one could ask for in a release of this nature. While some songs are better than others, and the longer five minute-plus tracks can drag on by the disc’s twenty-five minute mark, Armageddon’s Evolution will please fans anywhere along the black metal-death metal continuum.