With CRYPTOPSY's return to form self-titled album gaining universal praise and sure to be a contender for album of the year among the extremely strong class of 2012, Century Media has picked the right time to release a Cryptopsy career retrospective, one that over two discs does this legendary Montreal band the justice that it deserves, despite the couple of very obvious missteps Cryptopsy has engaged in over the years. Beginning with three new tracks ('Boden' is the highlight), The Best Of Us Bleed then traces the group's history in reverse chronological order, featuring the band's cover of STRAPPING YOUNG LAD classic 'Oh My Fucking God' and then three selections each from The Unspoken King (2008), Once Was Not (2005), And Then You'll Beg (2000), Whisper Supremacy (1998), None So Vile (1996) and Blasphemy Made Flesh (1994). The rest of the package is rounded out by live tracks from the brilliantly titled None So Live (2003), various Japanese live tracks from 1999 and 2004, and rehearsal tapes circa the Whisper Supremacy sessions. The rehearsal material is, as usual, immensely interesting and provides the kind of archival purpose that is so important in our circles: I always, while listening to rehearsal tapes or demos, cringe at the thought that these recordings could have rotted away in someone's basement if not for these kinds of compilations, and I'm always thankful that this type of material has, literally, seen the light of day. What strikes most while listening to The Best Of Us Bleed in its entirety is the massive influence Cryptopsy has had on the death metal scene since the early '90s, Flo Mounier and the various manifestations of this band ravaging preconceived notions of what is extreme and then ravaging again, for maximum impact. Not surprisingly, the Blasphemy Made Flesh, None So Vile and Whisper Supremacy material remains the band's strongest, with Whisper Supremacy the clear peak of Cryptopsy's unique career trajectory, that record a feat of strength in terms songwriting, even if None So Vile and the self-titled capture lightning in bottles in similar ways to Whisper Supremacy. It's always hard to give a numerical rating to best ofs because, by definition, they are the literal separation of wheat from chaff. No matter what the rating, The Best Of Us Bleed is an apt and useful summation of where Cryptopsy has been and where it's heading. 20 years into a career, let's all hail the new flesh.