CRYPTIC REALMS - Enraptured by Horror (DEATH IN PIECES - CD 2016)
After two great recordings – which were “Eve of Fatality” demo and a fantastic split with Astigarraga Thrower – the time finally came for a debut album from international death metal monsters Cryptic Realms. I liked these previous releases a lot, so I was definitely looking forward to hear “Enraptured by Horror” as well. It came out through Death in Pieces Records and I was playing it many times in past couple of days. I can already say that my general impression is that it’s good album, I do not feel disappointed with it… but I feel also that it could have been slightly better in some aspects. No, not some… There’s only one thing, which I really think the band should have improved and it’s the production. I don’t like it so much, to be honest, I think that “Enraptured by Horror” sounds too artificial, especially the drums sound weak, but also guitar tone is not what I usually like. I think that these songs would sound way better if the production was more powerful, more organic, natural and everything sounded also more brutal, more vicious. The effect would be much more impressive then… I also think that the drumming in faster parts is a bit sloppy, but…
But “Enraptured by Horror” is what it is… and I don’t want to say that it’s a bad album, because it definitely is not. You can get used to this sound after a while and more importantly, the songwriting is great and Cryptic Realms came up again with bunch of killer tracks, what definitely saves everything from disaster. Yes, I like these songs a lot, they’re killer. I like this sort of simplistic death metal, which Cryptic Realms play. It’s so deeply rooted in the traditional, old school style that it could have easily been composed 25 years ago. They have a strong influence from Death, Obituary, Massacre… and from newer bands also, because I think that “Enraptured by Horror” sounds a lot like Gruesome or Kam Lee’s bands Bone Gnawer and The Grotesquery. Even the vocals of Uriel sound a lot like Kam’s characteristic harsh growl. Which is cool, of course. Cryptic Realms came up with many great riffs, their music has this creepy, dark atmosphere, which I like, but it all sounds heavy and insanely memorable at the same time. Songs like “Sinister Force Descends”, “In Mortal Distress”, “Begging to Be Dead” or the title song are just great and they do not sound boring or tired, they do not sound monotonous or unauthentic. It’s very solid and worth of recommendation, so even if at the first listen you won’t feel it, maybe due to the production, I bet that after a while this album will speak to you more and more.
Standout tracks: “Sinister Force Descends”, “In Mortal Distress”, “Begging to Be Dead”
Final rate: 70/100