"All Light Swallowed"

By Dr. Abner Mality

The cosmos-shredding dissonance of modern death metal collides with the heaving muck of classic DM in the music of Lithuania's CRYPT OF DESPAIR. This is one harsh and unrelenting listen, to the point where it's an extremely challenging experience. But the band actually has found a way to mix disparate styles here, so the challenge is worth picking up.

From the first seconds of "Being-Erased", they throw down the gauntlet. A nerve-wracking blast of VERY harshly produced guitar tosses you into a brutally dissonant world. But as the song goes on, the riffing changes subtly to something more akin to MORBID ANGEL or IMMOLATION. The PR description of CRYPT actually gets it pretty much right. Those bits of Lovecraftian old school extremity are merged with the shrieking horror of something like ANAAL NATHRAKH or DEATHSPELL OMEGA. So there's a kind of avant-garde black metal component as well. The band keeps things unpredictable...a long stretch of almost ULCERATE style dissonance (far from my favorite style) will give way to slower, doomier crunch riffs, like on "Choked By the Void" and "Condemned To Life". Rarely does a song keep the same structure all the way through.

The constant double vocal barrage of roars and screams does get very trying even for experienced death metallers and by the time the aptly named "Bleak View" literally grinds to a halt, most will be ready to cry Uncle. This is a truly challenging record that isn't the usual Swedish/Finnish DM knockoff or another INCANTATION like trip to the caverns. It lives up to its name for sure. Recommended to the boldest of extremists...