CRYPTBORN - In the Grasp of the Starving Dead (DARK DESCEND - CD 2011)
I think it is a real pleasure to watch the resurgence of the Swedish and Finnish death metal scenes, which happens since about three or more years. Especially the Finnish scene has been really stagnated for over decade, when it became dominated by either utterly primitive black metal hordes or the pitiful, over melodic and ridiculously poppy doom / whatever gothic shit. Looking at the present time I can mention at least few young bands, which truly raised the flag of death in Suomi, delivering killer releases. Let’s see: we’ve got Hooded Menace, Claws (and probably few more bands, which has Lasse Pyykkö in the ranks), Swallowed, Decaying, Krypts, Lie In Ruins, Stench of Decay, Ascended, Corpsessed… You must admit that this is quite impressive list of bands, right? And of course we must also add Cryptborn to it, as this Helsinki based squadron impressed me totally with their music. “In the Grasp of the Starving Dead” was meant to be a demo, I think – or maybe I’m wrong? I don’t know, but there was a tape version available also, only the limitation of it was ridiculously low – but Dark Descend Records has luckily released it on CD, so there will be more maniacs, like myself, who missed the cassette and who can enjoy “In the Grasp of the Starving Dead” and get devoured by its rotten, cadaverous atmosphere.
The material contains about 30 minutes of old styled death metal, which is more influenced by the Swedish sound rather than the Finnish cults, what may disappoint those of you, who would prefer to get something in the vein of Disgrace or Demilich. But that’s what Cryptborn has opted for and even the production, guitar tone especially, resembles the classic Sunlight sound so much… I don’t mind that personally, especially that the riffing and the overall composition of “In the Grasp of the Starving Dead” is truly great and brings a lot of devastation and ruin. The playing on this EP is mostly quite slow or mid paced, often it is almost doomy, what brings Grave to my mind immediately and I must say that really Cryptborn must be very influenced by this legendary band, even their last LPs, like “Burial Ground”. “Gift of Rotten Flesh” is I think the most Grave-esque track on the whole EP, it could have easily been a cover track from “You’ll Never See…” LP or something like that, but that’s not a disgrace, rather a compliment! And when you listen to “A Nebulous Parting” then you’ll know what I mean, when speaking of the doom / death style of Cryptborn’s music. This track starts again quite like Grave, but then in the second part of it the pace is slowed down totally and I must admit that I really love that doomy riff, which Cryptborn plays there (“Sorrow… Grief… Release…!!!!!!!!!!!”). It is so heavy that the walls crack.
And since such tracks as “Rotten Gates of Heaven” also have many doomy parts, then I must say that this is something what may distinguish Cryptborn from many other newly formed old school Swedish sounding death metal bands. The doom influence is just much bigger here than you would expect, there aren’t any blasts at all and it effects in really heavy and massive blend of this style with Swedish death metal, what I enjoy a lot. Can there be anything better than a conglomeration of styles of Grave, Asphyx, Incantation, “Clandestine” era Entombed (they sound close to this LP in “Atonement from Hell”) and maybe even Bolt Thrower? And we mustn’t forget about Phlegethon, Convulse, Abhorrence and Demigod?! Killer stuff, I’m telling you. There’s no song on this EP, which I would consider as filler, each of its seven gems is a monstrous, haunting anthem. The atmosphere of this music is eerie, dark, gruesome and sinister and I cannot even mention how many times I have listened to this CD in the past weeks. It’s damn great material, so you must get it if you haven’t done it yet.
Standout tracks: “A Nebulous Parting”, “In the Grasp of the Starving Dead”, “Atonement From Hell”
Final rate: 85/100