Cryptopsy – As Gomorrah Burns (Nuclear Blast)

“The songwriting was fragmented and awful.”

Cryptopsy vocalist Matt McGachy has been candid about the difficult birth of As Gomorrah Burns, referencing some ‘brutally difficult’ situations.

It was a challenge, he says, to get Cryptopsy’s scattered personnel in a room together.

Some of the writing was done over Zoom calls.

Taking that into account, you might expect something disjointed and fractured from the Canadians on their eighth full length.

You’d be wrong.

Cryptopsy burn bright

When Cryptopsy spun DM on its head with None So Vile, they set a standard for technical death metal – and left a legacy to be proud of.

Yes, there was the deathcore-flavoured misstep (at least as long-time fans were concerned) of The Unspoken King.

But they hit back with 2012’s self-titled opus, slitting guts with the likes of Shag Harbour’s Visitors.  

And then… near silence, at least from the studio.

Fans have only had The Book Of Suffering Tome I and II EPs to feast on in the last decade.

But it makes the opening one-two of Lascivious Undivine and In Abeyance – both twisting, contorting hellstorms – all the more thrilling.

Exploring the hate, fear and obsession that have pooled beneath the internet, while wrapping the tale of Sodom and Gomorrah around its concept, the opus is mired in darkness and ripples with tension.

Like much of the quartet’s work, As Gomorrah Burns borders on sensory overload.

Thankfully, though, Christian Donaldson’s riffs are allowed space to breathe… and then wreak total havoc (Ill Ender and Praise The Faith boast some particularly meaty examples).

The band are aided by a stellar production job from Donaldson and Dominic Grimard, of fellow Quebec metallers Ion Dissonance. It lets Olivier Pinard’s basswork fly free.

And while founding drummer Flo Mournier may has been pounding the skins since 1990, he remains a nuclear reactor at the heart of Cryptopsy, splitting rhythmic atoms and relentlessly powering the band’s blast/groove attack.

The guy is inhuman…

Speaking of which, The Righteous Lost pushes the band’s technical abilities into extraterrastrial territory – it’s a stunning piece that many young pretenders could learn from.

Yet that’s balanced by ‘catchier’ tracks such as the devastating Flayed The Swine. Cryptopsy seemingly aren’t afraid to pull a hook or two out of the maelstrom nowadays, and on Flayed… that works like a dream.

McGachy has admitted that Cryptopsy don’t want to be a ‘legacy’ band in 2023.

They’re determined to remain relevant.

And with As Gomorrah Burns, they’re going about that in the right way.

Cryptopsy band photo by Mihaela Petrescu.