Cryptopsy - Once Was Not

posted by Greg, Thursday November 10, 2005 @ 12:43:53 PM

Artist: Cryptopsy (
Album: Once Was Not
Release Date: October 18th, 2005
Label: Century Media

Rating: 10/10

Recommended Tracks: motherfucking all of them!

"...Can you smell the fear?" hisses returning original vocalist Lord Worm at the beginning of the second track on Cryptopsy's exceptional new album Once Was Not. If you're a fan of shitty metalcore then the answer is yes, because the masters of technical death metal are back to obliterate your ears with quite possibly the most focused album of their career. It's been 5 long years since their last opus...And Then You'll Beg was released in 2000 - the scene has since been overpopulated with a million annoying metalcore and At The Gates clones each more unoriginal than the last. Thankfully Cryptopsy has returned to lay complete fucking waste to the extreme music scene (again) as this album is head, shoulders, feet, ass, and every other body part above everything every single other technically proficient metal band is even thinking of doing today.

For starters, the immortal Lord Worm has returned to his rightful place as the master of ceremonies for the cacophonous chaos Cryptopsy creates. His trademark ear splitting shrieks and bile-gurgling wails are still as terrifying and intense as they were back when their benchmark album None So Vile was annihilating speakers back when it was released in 1996. Even more surprising is the fact that he finds a little time to explore his vocal range (!?!) on the new album, with some songs punctuated by eerie whispers and solemn spoken word-passages. Pay attention, previously mentioned shitty metalcore bands - this is the proper and only acceptable way to use clean vocals in your music, not to promote how much of a sensitive pussy you are.

Former vocalist Mike DiSalvo (who was hand-picked by Lord Worm as his replacement years ago) did a serviceable job on his two albums with the band, but Lord Worm, for all intents and purposes, is THE tormented voice of Cryptopsy. For comparison's sake imagine if the recent Emperor reunion shows had been played with Mike DiSalvo on vocals - you'd have still went to see them because it's fucking Emperor, but something would have been a little out of place without Ihsahn rasping away at the mic. Lord Worm's harrowing vocal poison, reminiscent of the voice inside the head of a serial killer commanding them to murder, is a much better fit for the destructive wake Cryptopsy leaves in the listener's ears than DiSalvo's traditional death metal grunting/bellowing. Let's be honest though, there's nothing "traditional" about either Lord Worm or Cryptopsy, thus they're a match made in bizarro-world death metal heaven.

As for the music itself, insanely tight and precise technical death is the order of the day on every track. Over the years Cryptopsy have sacrificed some of the brutality of their early years for more technical passages (and truth be told, 2000's ...And Then You'll Beg got bogged down in over-technicality at times), but this album plays like a perfect union between their death metal heyday of the first two albums and the stunning musicianship of the last two albums, sort of a bridge between the two eras. Guitarists Alex Auburn and Eric Langlois provide masterful shredding in each song, but the highlight of the album, as with all Cryptopsy albums, is the absolutely inhuman performance behind the kit of drummer Flo Mounier. The man is an absolute monster with a pair of sticks in his hand, and his amazing work takes on a life all its own on every single non-instrumental track on the album for your ears to behold. It is literally impossible to explain or put into words what he is able to create with his hands and feet - you simply have to hear it and/or see it for yourself. Flo has his own website now up at in which you can order an instructional DVD from him as well as check out his kit and watch part of one of his amazing drum solos, which is good because you'll want some sort of proof that there is an actual human being behind the drums after your first Cryptopsy experience.

...And if this album is your Cryptopsy cherry popper then you're gonna need a towel when you listen for the first time because you'll need to clean up all that blood, and you'll need a good dentist to put your teeth back in your mouth from your jaw hitting the floor so many times. Welcome back boys, the metal world has been waiting a long, long time for you to kick its ass again.

- Greg

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