Finnish band Cryptborn began its dark ascent into music in 2010 and soon after recorded their debut EP Into the Grasp of the Starving Dead. Having seen a release in cassette form via Detest Records a few short months ago the EP has just received its full appearance via Dark Descent Records, the label the band recently joined. Consisting of seven slabs of old school death metal the release is an eager to consume, grotesque, ungodly beast bringing forth metal of the oldest and honest kind.
The members of Cryptborn had a strong pedigree and experience before the band with American vocalist ChristButcher, bassist Jani Nupponen, and guitarist Ville Markkanen part of blackened death band Maveth together, and with the addition of second guitarist K.L. and drummer AtomosM the already instilled understanding and unity has helped in the band’s fully apparent tightness and fluidity.
Into the Grasp of the Starving Dead brings forth many sounds and flavours that recall the likes of Grave, Entombed, and Dismember and though not exactly oozing originality, its powerful intent and dirty fetid sound will satisfy all who allow their senses to be eagerly consumed by the intrusive pernicious fingers of old school death metal.
The EP opens with the predatory crawl of ‘A Feast for the Grave (intro)’, a suffocating and oppressive dirge that is as invasive as it is challenging. The track invitingly sets up the senses for more of the same throughout the release but with a fiercer and more aggressive power and energy causing even more damage on the remaining tracks. The likes of the decomposition of ‘Gift of Rotten Flesh’ and the devastating Swedish death metal sourced attack of the title track run riot over the ear, all testing, probing and invading with full efficiency. Despite their full out onslaughts and slightly healthier riffs and tempos, there is always the prowl of an intense sludge crawl on each track as first indicated on the opener, its bile like venom ready to pounce.
Vocalist ChristButcher is just as toxic too with his guttural delivery and rant like attack, his demonic tones hand in hand with the demonised sounds the band produce. The relentlessly driving guitars strip layers away sonically as they invade the ear and the pummelling and ever probing harsh massive riffs and hellish rhythms all combine with ChristButcher to create abrasive scathing sounds that are as much a treat as they are a violently intrusive.
The production on Into the Grasp of the Starving Dead is not the best at times it has to be said with often the drums and bass being almost lost within the wall of sound their skill and individual contributions too indistinct even though a major part of the aggressive onslaught. The clarity to really appreciate their contribution is lost in the oppressive waves of noise but despite that the EP is still very satisfying and for skill and intent it ranks highly.
Into the Grasp of the Starving Dead is a very strong release and deserves to be given solid attention by death metal fans and beyond. With the EP Cryptborn has shown they are a band to watch out for in the future as they surely make their mark on metal.