One of my favourite things about being an audiophile is having the chance to discover music from around the globe and hearing how someone from a completely different culture interprets the thing that I love the most. Today I get to tick another country off the list with my first audio journey to the beautiful country of Lithuania. The record is courtesy death metal miscreants Crypts Of Despair who are less beautiful, more an ungodly pit of despair devoid of all light and sanity. The long player is aptly titled All Light Swallowed, which is actually the groups sophomore release and is out April 23rd via the always killer record label Transcending Obscurity.
All Light Swallowed takes the old school death metal flair that we all love but churns it up into a really modern sounding record. The production is excellent, not over-produced or over driven, it’s a clear yet hefty sound with just enough gristle to keep it dirty. The record title, as mentioned earlier, is a great accompaniment to the sound. It’s a slab of visceral death emitting from a lightless void, everything feels perfectly dark and bleak. The sound also embodies the theme of the record, it shouts out the despair laden sinister madness that lurks within. Hats off to Néstor Ávalos for also killing the artwork on this one.
So what do these Lithuanian soul devourers bring to this blasphemous coven? Firstly, a break neck tempo filled with thick and intense riffage, which have a spattering of dissonance and edge but also well written melodies that keep you hooked in by rusty grey chains ready to drag you along for the sadistic journey. Although the majority of this record runs at a rapid tempo, Crypts Of Despair have grown from their debut and their writing skills really shine. There are some well written breaks in tempo packed full of gloomy atmosphere, adding some much needed variance to the full throttle madness being spewed out.
The production is excellent, not over-produced or over driven, it’s a clear yet hefty sound with just enough gristle to keep it dirty…
One of the highlights is the vocals. Crypts feature dual vocals and they absolutely slay. Both vocalists concentrate on opposite sides of the register; one deep, blasting straight out of the very bottom of the soul, the other higher and packed full of anguish. They play off each other throughout and never get stale, an excellent performance. The next highlight is from the man at the back, Henri Mäll absolutely annihilates his kit and I’d be surprised if there was any skin left on the actual drums. It’s utterly obliterating, full of blasts, double kick and great songwriting.
I find myself talking about death metal a lot these days, which is frankly no issue as it’s one of my favourite genres. However, I don’t think anyone can deny that the genre is currently somewhat overpopulated, but with that over saturation, when you find a great record it makes it even greater because it stands out from the crowd. That’s what you get with All Light Swallowed.
I was already excited about the record before I heard it and it has lived up to the expectations. Is this reinventing the wheel in extreme music? No, but is it all killer and no filler? Hell yeah! So, if you dig acts like Krypts, Immolation, Incantation or Replicant, then I think All Light Swallowed will be something you’ll gladly welcome and let its darkness seep into every pore of your body, dragging you kicking and screaming into the void.
Scribed by: Matt Alexander