CRYPTOPSY – “If You Want To Define Something As Extreme, Then You Have To Give It Boundaries”
November 17, 2015, 2 years ago
No doubt about it, Cryptopsy's new EP, The Book Of Suffering – Tome 1, is a top-notch piece of technical death metal, all grind and bite, riding a fine line between technicality and aggression with just enough groove and catchiness to bring to mind top Cryptopsy efforts. The Quebec band is on fire, enjoying a solid second lease on musical life that began with 2012's self-titled album. The EP sounds like the band is young again; it sounds like they have something to prove.
“It’s hard to say what the mindset was,” says drummer Flo Mournier. “We just wanted to make something that was to the abilities that we all possess. It’s always great when it’s extreme and brutal, but has the catchiness and the proper arrangements for it to be a song. I think Matt [McGachy]’s vocals added to the aggression; I find his vocals on this one are pretty angry-sounding. So that helped the mood quite a bit. And we wanted to do something that was a little bit darker than the stuff we’ve done in the past.”
Mournier says that the material on this EP fits into the band's definition of “extreme”, which is not “all speed all the time”; rather, he says the band thrives on hitting different musical highs and lows, instead of being so technical that audience members' eyes glaze over, or playing at inhuman speeds throughout all the songs.
“As far as musicians go, if you want to define something as extreme, then you have to give it boundaries,” says Mournier. “If it’s always fast, there are no extremes. If there’s slow and fast, the combination of dynamics and styles, yeah, it’s extreme because it goes from one extreme to the other. So we’ve always played by that rule.”
This is, of course, a touchy subject within some circles, and Mournier knows it. The band's 2008 album, The Unspoken King, was famously melodic, the backlash the band faced massive, the stain on their name still there, despite these very solid post-King records.
“The Unspoken King taught me that our fans want a bare minimum of change and like the brutality,” says Mournier. “Even though every band after that did clean singing and got away with it, we’re not doing any more clean signing. Even though Matt is aptly capable to do so very well, we won’t be doing any of that for any future Cryptopsy albums.”
The name of the EP hints at more to come, and Mournier says that even though he doesn't know in what form that will take, there's a good chance more music in this series will come sooner rather than later.
“The plan is to do more,” he says. “We’re just not sure if we’re going to combine 2 and 3 or release them back to back, release them one a year… the plan is obviously to make more music. I like the number three so, ideally, it would have been a trilogy. But you never know. There’s lot of suffering in the world. But we’ll see. But next year, there should be definitely some new Cryptopsy out.”
Not that anyone should be in that big of a hurry: sure, the new EP is barely 17 minutes long, but it's 17 minutes jam-packed of demanding death metal. To me, it's a great length for a release of such intense music; I understand people wanting more, but sometimes a teaser is even more powerful, and satisfying, to listen to.
“I totally understand you,” says Mournier. “It’s the sign of our times as well. Before, I could sit through a whole album; now I do one or two songs, and I’ll go back to those two songs, and it’s crazy. Our world is fast-paced and information is always coming at us. I like the EP approach because for Cryptopsy, we can focus on really doing quality songs. But, yeah, I totally understand you: 17 minutes of 300-whatever bpms, it’s enough (laughs). It also leaves people wanting more. And if people want more, it encourages us to do more. And people want more, but it’s like Christmas: you gotta be patient, man (laughs).”