Cryptopsy, the Canadian technical death metal band, has a rich and storied history that is deeply intertwined with the evolution of the genre itself. Formed in 1988 in Montreal, Quebec, under the moniker Necrosis, the band’s initial lineup consisted of vocalist Lord Worm, born Dan Greening, guitarist Steve Thibault, drummer Mike Atkin, and bassist John Todds.
The band’s early years were marked by a relentless pursuit of musical innovation, a trait that would come to define their legacy. Their initial sound was heavily influenced by the burgeoning death metal scene, with a particular emphasis on complex, intricate compositions and a raw, aggressive aesthetic.
In 1992, Necrosis underwent a significant transformation, both in terms of personnel and musical direction. This period saw the departure of Atkin and Todds, and the arrival of new members Flo Mounier on drums and Kevin Weagle on bass. Mounier, in particular, would become a defining member of the band, with his intricate, high-speed drumming style becoming a hallmark of Cryptopsy’s sound. Concurrently, the band adopted the name Cryptopsy, a portmanteau of the words “crypt” and “autopsy,” signaling a shift towards darker, more macabre themes in their lyrics and overall aesthetic.
The band’s innovative approach to songwriting and musicianship has pushed the boundaries of what is considered possible within the genre of death metal. Their intricate, complex compositions, marked by rapid tempo changes, unconventional song structures, and a high degree of technical proficiency, have challenged conventional notions of musicality in heavy metal. This has contributed to a broader cultural recognition of the genre’s potential for complexity and sophistication, countering stereotypes of metal as simplistic or crude.
Cryptopsy’s lyrical themes, often centered around death, decay, and the macabre, have also played a significant role in shaping the cultural identity of death metal. Their exploration of these themes, delivered through the guttural growls of their vocalists, has contributed to the genre’s reputation for confronting taboo subjects and pushing the boundaries of what is considered acceptable in popular music. This has had a significant impact on the cultural discourse around heavy metal, contributing to its reputation as a genre that challenges societal norms and conventions.
The band’s commitment to musical innovation has also had a profound impact on the culture of heavy metal. Their willingness to experiment with different styles and approaches, as evidenced by their incorporation of elements from genres such as jazz and progressive rock, has inspired countless other bands to push the boundaries of their own music. This spirit of innovation and experimentation has become a defining characteristic of the technical death metal subgenre, contributing to its cultural significance within the broader heavy metal scene.
Cryptopsy’s influence can also be seen in the band’s impact on the local music scene in Montreal and the broader Quebec region. Their success has helped to put Montreal on the map as a hub for extreme metal, contributing to the city’s cultural vibrancy and diversity. The band’s members have also been active in supporting the local music scene, with guitarist Chris Donaldson notably working as a producer for other bands in the region.
The cultural significance of Cryptopsy extends to their role in the development of the music industry. The band’s use of crowdfunding for their ‘The Book of Suffering’ EP series represented a pioneering approach to music production and distribution, reflecting broader trends in the industry towards direct artist-fan engagement and alternative funding models. This has contributed to a shift in the cultural understanding of how music can be produced and consumed, with implications for the industry as a whole.
Indeed, Cryptopsy’s cultural significance is multifaceted, reflecting their impact on the musical, thematic, and industrial dimensions of heavy metal. Their innovative approach to music-making, their exploration of taboo themes, their support for local music scenes, and their pioneering use of crowdfunding all contribute to their enduring cultural relevance. Through their music and actions, Cryptopsy has shaped the cultural landscape of heavy metal, leaving a lasting legacy that continues to resonate within the genre and beyond.
Cryptopsy’s debut album, ‘Blasphemy Made Flesh’ was released on November 25th, 1994, through Invasion Records, and it was a watershed moment in the band’s history. Recorded on a shoestring budget, the album’s complex, intricate compositions, coupled with Lord Worm’s distinctive guttural vocals, set a new standard for technical death metal. It was a bold statement of intent, establishing Cryptopsy as a band unafraid to push the boundaries of the genre.
The band’s sophomore effort, ‘None So Vile,’ released on July 3rd, 1996, further solidified their reputation as innovators, with tracks like ‘Phobophile’ and ‘Slit Your Guts’ demonstrating a level of technical proficiency and compositional complexity rarely seen in the genre. ‘None So Vile’ is often cited as one of the most influential albums in the technical death metal genre, with its intricate song structures, rapid tempo changes, and Lord Worm’s distinctive, guttural vocal style.
The late 1990s and early 2000s were a period of transition for Cryptopsy. Lord Worm departed in 1997, replaced by Mike DiSalvo, a vocalist with a background in the hardcore punk scene. DiSalvo’s tenure with the band was marked by a shift towards a more hardcore-influenced vocal style, a departure from Lord Worm’s guttural approach.
‘Whisper Supremacy,’ the band’s third studio album, marked a period of transition for Cryptopsy. Released on September 22nd, 1998, through Century Media Records, it was the first album to feature vocalist Mike DiSalvo, whose hardcore-influenced vocal style marked a departure from Lord Worm’s guttural approach.
‘…And Then You’ll Beg,’ released on October 31st, 2000, through Century Media Records, continued in the vein of ‘Whisper Supremacy.’ Despite mixed reactions from fans and critics, the album showcased the band’s commitment to musical innovation and evolution.
In 2005, Lord Worm returned to the Cryptopsy fold for the recording of its fifth album, ‘Once Was Not,’ which was released on October 18th of the same year, a return to form that was met with widespread acclaim. However, his second stint with the band was short-lived, and he departed once again in 2007. His replacement, Matt McGachy, brought a more melodic approach to the band’s vocal stylings, a shift that was met with mixed reactions from fans and critics alike.
This period also saw the release of ‘The Unspoken King’ on May 26th, 2008, an album that incorporated elements of melodic death metal and metalcore, further dividing the band’s fanbase. ‘The Unspoken King’ marked another significant shift in the band’s sound. The album incorporated elements of melodic death metal and metalcore, and it was the first to feature vocalist Matt McGachy and keyboardist Maggie Durand.
Throughout the 2010s, Cryptopsy continued to push the boundaries of technical death metal, with albums like ‘Cryptopsy’ released on September 14th, 2012, and the EP ‘The Book of Suffering – Tome II’ (2018) showcasing their continued commitment to musical innovation. The self-titled album marked a return to their technical death metal roots, while the ‘Book of Suffering’ EPs were notable for their crowdfunding approach to production and distribution.
Despite numerous lineup changes and shifts in musical direction, the band’s core ethos of relentless technicality and compositional complexity has remained constant. The current lineup, consisting of McGachy on vocals, Mounier on drums, Christian Donaldson on guitar, and Olivier Pinard on bass, continues to tour and record, maintaining Cryptopsy’s status as a vital force in the technical death metal scene.
In a significant development for Cryptopsy, they have officially signed with German legendary Nuclear Blast Records. This partnership marks a new chapter in the band’s storied history, with plans to release their first album in over a decade later this year. This news is particularly noteworthy given that Cryptopsy has been independent since 2012, and their decision to join forces with Nuclear Blast Records, one of the most influential labels in the metal genre, signals a new era for the band.
Vocalist Matt McGachy expressed the band’s enthusiasm for this new partnership, stating, “We are truly excited to have joined Nuclear Blast’s roster. Many of the bands we love and a bunch of our friends have released killer albums via Nuclear Blast. We are eager to be showcased alongside the world’s best metal acts and can’t wait to unveil the next era of Cryptopsy as a Nuclear Blast artist.”
The signing with Nuclear Blast marks the beginning of the next chapter in Cryptopsy’s legendary career. The band is poised to once again break necks and pierce the eardrums of metal fans everywhere with their upcoming album. This will be their first studio release since the band’s self-titled album in 2012. In the intervening years, they have released several EPs and compilations, but the forthcoming album will feature all brand-new material.
After a hiatus of over a decade, the band is set to release their highly anticipated full-length album, ‘As Gomorrah Burns,’ on September 8th, under the banner of Nuclear Blast Records. This forthcoming album marks a significant milestone in Cryptopsy’s musical journey, as it not only reaffirms their enduring vitality but also continues their pioneering approach to sonic exploration and intricate songwriting. This new partnership with Nuclear Blast Records, combined with the band’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of technical death metal, promises to usher in an exciting new era for Cryptopsy and their fans.
The album, ‘As Gomorrah Burns,’ is a testament to Cryptopsy’s ability to evolve while staying true to their roots. It is a tumultuous amalgamation of their signature sound, characterized by a unique blend of old-school Cryptopsy elements with a few contemporary twists. The band has consciously allowed the grooves to dominate and the riffs to breathe more than in their previous releases, thereby ushering in a new era of Cryptopsy’s musical evolution.
The band’s lead vocalist, Matt McGachy, has expressed his enthusiasm for the upcoming album. He describes ‘As Gomorrah Burns’ as a meticulous endeavor that the band has been crafting for the past five years. McGachy’s excitement is palpable as he anticipates the unveiling of an album that encapsulates the perfect medley of Cryptopsy’s musical journey.
In a recent statement, McGachy shed light on the band’s first single from the album, ‘In Abeyance.’ The song, accompanied by a music video directed by Chris Kells, is a powerful representation of the album’s overall theme. McGachy explains that ‘In Abeyance’ is conceptually about the feeling of isolation experienced when submerged in a new environment, the struggle to find a sense of belonging while mourning a previous life. Musically, it is a potent track that, while seemingly straightforward, retains Cryptopsy’s characteristic complexity.
The release of ‘In Abeyance’ serves as a compelling preview of what to expect from ‘As Gomorrah Burns.’ It is a testament to Cryptopsy’s ability to create music that is both impactful and intricate, a testament to their enduring presence in the technical death metal genre. As the band steps into this new era, fans and critics alike eagerly await the full album release, anticipating the next chapter in Cryptopsy’s trailblazing musical narrative.
In conclusion, Cryptopsy’s history is a testament to their enduring influence on the technical death metal genre. From their early days as Necrosis to their current incarnation, the band has consistently pushed the boundaries of what is possible within the confines of extreme metal. Their legacy is one of innovation, technical proficiency, and a relentless commitment to their craft. Despite the controversies and challenges they have faced, Cryptopsy remains a seminal figure in the world of technical death metal, their music a testament to the power of artistic vision and technical mastery.