Every sub-genre of metal seems to be having a “back to the basics” movement these days, with bands looking back to their roots for inspiration. In death metal, for instance, there are a number of bands, such as Teitanblood and Dead Congregation, that are taking things back to when death metal was a bit more evil-sounding, a bit more aggressive. Finland’s Krypts are another such band, who blend the death/doom of Incantation with the supper fuzzed out, evil approach of early Swedish bands like Grave and Entombed.
Remnants of Expansion, the second full-length from Krypts, has an air of malevolence in its tone that really has been missing from the death metal scene for years. The music moves at a plodding, glacial pace that sounds like the soundtrack for the rise of some primordial horror rising from the bowels of the earth. Absolutely crushing heaviness exudes from every note played; even when the pace is picked up, the fuzzed out, detuned guitars are brutal, and yet haunting. “Remnants of Expansion,” is an instrumental piece that marks the mid-point of the album, and is utterly claustrophobic in its crushing gloom, with ponderous sounding clean guitar bits floating just above the doom and gloom of the rest of the band. The vocals throughout the album are guttural and low death growls, with a little bit of reverb added in, giving them an otherworldly quality.
The production is handled with the utmost care. While the guitars are distorted and ugly sounding, the tone never gets so muddy you can’t pick out the notes. You can hear every instrument with surprising clarity, despite the amount of overdrive and reverb each stringed instrument is drenched in. “Entrailed to the Breaking Wheel” is a great example, with the blastbeats and speed-picking on the faster sections never sounding too grimy, while maintaining every bit of the ferocity each member is attacking their instruments with. The atmosphere is incredibly dark on this record, but it is a true joy to listen to, as it gives me hope that death metal may not have hit its peak yet, as far as artistic integrity and pure brutality goes. Krypts have set a new standard for death/doom, both embodying AND transcending the two genres that they incorporate in their sound. Fans of Incantation, Disma, and Grave, you’ll definitely want to pay special attention to this release!