If you need a guide on launching a debut album – the recent Bionic Swarm from Dutch thrash connoisseurs Cryptosis is a perfect example. The band set the bar high for themselves after releasing the first music video of theirs for the song “Decypher” on Century Media Records and have started shaking the ground within the modern thrash scene right away.
The band has already earned a well-deserved international recognition before – under the name Distillator. Did a lot change with the band rebranding themselves into Cryptosis? Honestly, yes. Upon relistening to Distillator’s last album – Summoning the Malicious, which primarily seemed to draw inspiration from old school aggressive thrash, Bionic Swarm is a much grander combination of death, progressive, ambient and even black metal influences. The tone of the album has a more modern feel, the blend of guitars, bass and melotron form a relentlessly thick wall of sound, vocals have a wider range and the drumming is much more intricate. With dark and dystopian future themes in the songs, two interludes and four music videos, the band clearly sets the concept and storytelling on the forefront, which couldn’t make me happier. After being teased by the first four songs a while before the release of the album, I was sure that there wouldn’t be any surprises left, and oh how wrong I was.
Having heard “Prospect of Immortality” at least thirty times, I imagined that there is no way something else could top that song for me; “Game of Souls” had me conflicted though. Constant proggy, accentual changes probably make it one of the most complicated compositions on the album, all culminating in an epic rhythmic section, which definitely is the biggest headbanger-of-a-riff on Bionic Swarm. The album finisher is an absolutely mad punch in the gut full of riffs. Laurens demonstrates his vocal range right after the intro, which just has to be a reference to Tom Araya’s iconic scream in “Angel of Death” (otherwise sue me). If you are not careful enough, simply listening to “Flux Divergence” may leave you sweaty at the end – performing this song must be considered as a proper workout.
If one could possibly have any doubts about the quality of the band’s live performance, Cryptosis have demonstrated an almost 100% accuracy in their recent album release show. Together with the visuals, multiple interludes, a light show and crystal clear sound, this experience might be on par with listening to the entire album, if not better. I feel like vocally the performance sounded even more brutal than on the album, which was a big surprise. Considering that this is only a taste of what we will experience as a live audience once bands are able to start touring again, you’ll want to grab Cryptosis tickets ASAP (they’re that good)!
In conclusion: technical thrash is growing stronger and Cryptosis is paving their way onto its frontlines. Not just with faster drumming and more notes in their riffs, but also through their creativity in writing, sounds and concepts. The band had been preparing for this release for years and the result clearly shows where all of that time and effort went. Bionic Swarm will stay fresh for many listens and leaves a lot to be anticipated in the future.
Cryptosis’ new album Bionic Swarm was released on March 26th via Century Media Records.
Best Tracks: Prospect of Immortality, Flux Divergence, Game of Souls
Weakest Tracks: Mindscape
FFO: Vektor, Destruction, Voivod