Track Premiere: Cryptae – “Pearl”

There was this kid in my fourth (maybe fifth?) grade class who was smart–I mean exceptionally smart. Xavier was very well spoken, well-read for his age, and extremely intelligent. The teachers mostly left him alone as he always did well on tests, turned in his assignments, and was an all around good kid. He’d get so bored in class that he took to constructing radios at his desk in the middle of lessons–that kind of smart kid that the instructors weren’t really sure what to do with.

I can’t remember what exactly we were doing in class that day, but all the desks were pushed to one side and all the students were gathered in a circle on the other side. Perhaps it was some sort of early introduction to literary seminars, who knows? I was too busy watching Xavier fiddle with his radio. He’d occasionally speak up, participating in the discussion without ever taking his eyes off the device he was fidgeting with. Then, he finally looked up with the eyes of inspiration. His pupils grew, and I could see him go from being half-checked in to the class discussion to light-years away, neurons firing across his synapses in what was surely a moment of inspired genius.

Release date: November 18th, 2022. Label: Sentient Ruin Laboratories
The way I remember it, the electric shock hurled Xavier back at least four feet away from the electrical socket, his tiny screwdriver still in hand. The expression on his face mirrored the surprised look of the wall outlet he so confidently plunged the small tool into a split second beforehand. Kids screamed, and our teacher understandably started freaking out, having no clue just what Xavier had done. Turns out he was okay, but I’ll never forget that look in his eyes in the moments before and after “investigating” the power of schoolroom electrical sockets. While his face bore the same expression (perhaps due the shock), the former evoking an air of intelligence and curiosity, the latter radiating with wisdom and experience.

The Dutch raw death collective known as Cryptae have a similar intelligence. Make no mistake, the duo of René Aquarius (Dead Neanderthals, Coffin Lurker, Plague Organ) and Kees Peerdeman (Heavy Natural) have been crafting some pretty smart death metal since their deliciously crude demo from 2017. Sure, it’s brutal and punishing, with a deceptive ignorance in the blockish, 90°  angled song construction, but its the way in which each nightmarish chunk is crafted and placed within the song that reveals the underlying collective intelligence of the two musicians.

Take, for example, “Pearl,” the opening track on Cryptae’s upcoming sophomore album, Capsule. There is a pretty simplistic logic to the songcraft, but the mark of intelligence isn’t in whirly-do progressive writing so much as in the way the band re-assess the basic building blocks. The bizarre bass work and unusual drum patterns that sound like a game of Q*BERT rendered from beyond the grave with an organic, human complexity of thought and feel to the repetitiveness. Cryptae really dig their heels in like that spark of unrelenting curiosity that leads to one jamming metal objects into live electrical outlets. The band are dead-set on turning death metal inside out, seeing just how creative they can get in sculpting within the primal, primitive framework they set for themselves.

The production on “Pearl” reveals a more confident Cryptae–while still raw, organic, and loud as all hell, the delivery reveals more clarity of detail in the instrumentality. That Battles-does-death-metal weirdness still applies, perhaps now even more than ever. The bass is punchier as it tumbles like a rubik’s cube constructed entirely of bones; the relentless drums pound away, yet are better integrated into the mix for a more refined core. What once served as a fuzzy veil of curiosity that surrounded prior releases has been lifted to reveal a band that is brilliantly psychotic. What makes “Pearl” and Capsule as whole so unsettling is the uneasy realization of just how simple it is to follow the twisted, often self-destructive logic of Cryptae’s psychosis–this is death metal that will have its listeners questioning their very sanity.

Go ahead, plug that screwdriver into the socket and see what it does:

Capsule is available for preorder via the Sentient Ruin website and the Sentient Ruin Bandcamp page.


Posted by Ryan Tysinger

I listen to music, then I write about it. On Twitter @d00mfr0gg (Outro: The Winds Of Mayhem)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.