We all fall into the grasp of a band at some time or other whose sound is just the perfect fit for personal wants and desires, an instinctive proposition always destined to ignite the passions given the chance. Sometimes the frustration with that is not coming across said provocateur sooner. Such is the case with German thrashers Cripper. The band has just released their fourth album and the first with Metal Blade Records, and it is fair to say that Hyëna fulfils every need of these appetites and emotions with consummate ease. It is an incendiary fury of old and modern thrash, but an inventive turbulence which is unafraid to throw in thick grooves and darker ravenous elements aligned to death metal instincts. Whether it will raise the same ardour in all genre fans time will tell but it is hard to imagine the voracious encounter not leaving thrash fans with a certain hunger.
Hailing from Hannover and fronted by the gutturally bred temptation of Britta Görtz, her compelling and bracing fiery tones lying somewhere between Otep Shamaya and Krysta Cameron, Cripper has been earning acclaim and an ever increasing and loyal following since forming in 2005. From the release of debut EP Killer Escort Service in 2006, the quintet has unleashed the albums Freak Inside (2007), Devil Reveals (2009), and Antagonist (2012), as well as made their mark live, sharing stages with the likes of Overkill and Onslaught and lighting up festivals such as Summer Breeze, Wacken Rocks, Metalfest, Brutal Assault, Rockharz Open Air, and Metaldays where they caught the attention of their new label. Each event has increased their stock but it is probably fair to say, the band has yet to breach a global spotlight, something through Metal Blade the spectacular Hyëna has the potential to easily do.
From its first moments the album grips the imagination, the opening of its title track a backward played coaxing which leads into the jaws of predatory riffs and firmly swung rhythms. It is an intriguing lead, an attention grabbing lure which is soon swallowed by the tsunami of vicious rhythms from drummer Dennis Weber and a rabid cascade of riffs bred by guitarists Christian Bröhenhorst and Jonathan Stenger. From this point the track is a torrent of primal rabidity and flavoursome sonic enterprise; it all lorded over by the swiftly impressing tones of Görtz. There are few big surprises in the track but then again the whole song is a surprise and an intoxicating assault on personal passions.
The potent start is straight away surpassed by the virulently compelling Tourniquet, a song with visceral texture to its riffery and rhythmic persuasion and exhausting energy to its unrelenting onslaught. Speared with rich sonic flames of guitar and the intensely gripping bass predation of Gerrit Mohrmann, the track swarms ravenously over the senses before making way for the more restrained but no less intimidating incitement of Bloodshot Monkey Eye and the more ferocious A Dime for the Establishment. The first of the pair feels like it is prowling ears, sizing up its victim before Görtz infests the imagination from within a menacing web of evolving and uncompromising sonic animosity. At times flying with flared nostrils and more often holding rein as it simply stalks with flexed sinews and hungry invention, the song is pure magnetism with the bass again the darkest temptation. Its successor snarls and roars with malevolent belligerence, its unpredictability, something blessing all tracks in varying degrees, blossoming in vocals and imagination against the raging aggression.
7″ is next and from a thought prodding opening is soon striding with anger in its eyes and acidic grooves through its body, all leading to a tempestuous and scintillating furnace of intensity and impassioned viciousness. Görtz is a venom clad temptress in the track, her little twists of diversity in delivery as important and potent as those within the music, her presence never feeding expectations to match the constant evolving lure of sound. Again we would not say Cripper is breaking boundaries but they have a freshness and creative turbulence which definitely sets them apart from the crowd.
Animated Flesh with its opening regimented bait of rhythms and subsequent steely swagger instantly has body and passions to their feet, the track the kind of addiction to which no respite is available or wanted, whilst both the melodically veined predation of The Origin and Patterns in the Sky keep album and listener high. The first of the two another which taking its time before tearing out the throat of the senses, though it is never lightweight in its imposing touch and tenacity at any point, whilst the second is a lung bursting charge of malicious rock ‘n’ roll. Grooves spice up its predecessor but here it is all out thrash hostility, and quite irresistible, the pair equally not short on delicious sonic temptation from the guitars either.
The Jackhammer sums itself up in the title, the track as heavy and relentless as anything on the album but also equipped with enslaving grooves and deep rooted hooks draped with the scathing tones of Görtz and an inescapable and barbarous infectiousness. Another pinnacle of the release, the track is blistering thrash manna unafraid to venture into fascinating and mouth-watering explorations.
The album is completed by firstly the rabid bludgeoning of Patronized, its inflammatory grooves and rhythmic outpouring again sheer enslavement, and lastly Pure, a tantalising drama all on its own moving through varied tones and emotions, melodic calm and pure ferocity for a riveting adventure.
Not strikingly unique but with a character and fury which stands alone from other thrash seeded rages, Hyëna is one of the most refreshing confrontations of the year and certainly a slab of undiluted pleasure for these ears and emotions. Expect to hear and find Cripper making major inroads into the frontline of thrash metal from hereon in.
Hyëna is available now via Metal Blade Records @ http://www.emp.de/brand/cripper/lis_Cripper_bandbrand/
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