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Rethroned Emperors

Posted on Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 13:47:56

By Greg Pratt

After 2008's The Unspoken King (which has a 16 percent average rating from 15 reviews over at, the metal community all but wrote off Quebec tech-grind kings CRYPTOPSY. I didn't like the damn album either, but I did—and do—understand the band wanting to try something a little bit different after creating and then staying on a ruggedly individual course for so many albums. It didn't work, at all, and the metal community came out in droves to dethrone the emperors, fall the statues, and spit on their remains. Which was kinda harsh.

“There are some parts on the last album that are really aggressive,” says drummer Flo Mounier. “People hear one bit of clean singing and that’s it, it’s all over. I love constructive criticism; I think it’s needed. People need to be criticized in a positive sense. I didn’t appreciate people going overboard and saying we ruined their lives and they hope we die in a bus accident, it’s just ridiculous. But the constructive criticism was well taken.”

And now it's time to heal some wounds. Although Cryptopsy fought back against the haters publicly and perhaps a bit too intensely themselves, we're thinking that the band's new self-titled album might be enough to bring both sides back together, have a beer and recount some jolly stories about the time Cryptopsy and their fans became mortal enemies for a few years. Call it The Elder album cycle of tech-grind; with their new disc, the band is back with a vengeance, no clean singing, just pure technical death/grind aggression.

“This album starts off on a blast beat,” says Mounier. “The last album started off with Worship Your Demons, which is a pretty brutal song too. But we always like to start albums with something a little bit in your face (laughs). We try.”

The album, which is the band's seventh and their first self-released disc—more on that later—sees the return of guitarist Jon Levasseur, who played with Cryptopsy from '93 to '05, leaving before the recording sessions for Once Was Not, which the band released in '05.

“It helped a lot that Jon came back so we could have the same writing style as in the past,” says Mounier. “It affected things in a good way, I’ve been used to writing with Jon for years and years and years. On the last album, I didn’t have that opportunity; it was quite different, which is maybe why this sound is a little bit different, it’s basically a different writing chemistry. It was great.”

The album has several things going for it: a great, raw, heavy production sound; killer tech-grind playing; nice, quick, to-the-punch running time. There's no beating around the bush on this disc, which was fully intentional.

“It is extreme music, right? After a while, if you have 10, 12 songs, your attention span wears off,” says Mounier. “We like to write an album as a whole so you can listen to it from beginning to end and want a little bit more afterward. But we don’t write songs where after we record them it's like, no, that’s not going to be good enough. We write songs that we think are good and we get to the point where we think it’s enough. We could have written more, but it’s already hard on the ears (laughs). It’s not the calmest music; 35 minutes is alright, you know?”

As we mentioned, the album is self-released, which at first seems to be a bit odd coming from such an established band. But after a bit of a mess of an experimental album, and years of dealing with being second fiddle to a label's real big sellers, it makes sense.

“We fought hard to cut our contract with Century Media short,” reveals Mounier. “We had two or three albums left with them, but I just couldn’t take it anymore. I couldn’t take the lack of advertising. Labels will focus on their big acts and the rest are just whatever. The touring budget was almost obliterated, the recording budget was diminished by more than half. The other thing is you work so hard to put out a product, you spend a year or more doing it and then you basically give it over and say, here you go, have fun selling it and making basically 85-90% of the profit, and we get squat. We’re done with that.”

So they decided to go the independent route, getting help with friends they've made along the way in the industry and armed with the knowledge that they're established enough to probably make a decent go at it on their own.

“Hopefully it’ll work out, we’ll see,” says Mounier, with a laugh. “So far, so good. It’s a lot of work, but it’s going well.”