Cryptopsy - _Whisper Supremacy_
(Century Media, 1998)
by: Paul Schwarz (
If you are content to know this CD is amazing and want to hear it without prior intrusion, stop reading -- now! Virtual silence, some few, low notes usher forth from a bass guitar, a tinny clatter of drums and a virtually inaudible shout which is suddenly reduced to a loud whisper. Then: total armageddon. Such is the beginning of Cryptopsy's third album _Whisper Supremacy_. Though this first track "Emaciate" is a brutal barrage of truly frightening proportions, its interesting and lightning fast time changes are far from the heights of _WS_'s greatness. Second track "Cold Hate, Warm Blood" immediately picks up the thread with an underlying bass riff and some gentle acoustic guitar, then a thunderous barrage of DiSalvo's vocals, Mounier's ever-insane drumming and the full Levasseur/Roy guitar assault backed by Langlois' bass. The acoustic theme is returned to a number of times to amazing dynamic effect within this one track. As _Whisper Supremacy_ continues, touches like the aforementioned acoustic one crop up all over the place, be they complex, syncopated timings, sudden stops and starts, maniacally twisted guitar riffs, catchy percussive passages, sudden string bends throwing off the harmony lines or any other manner of different touch; the thick layer of icing on the cake. Cryptopsy's brutal backbone is as strong and prominent as their inventive streak. Pierre Remillard's production once again does them proud bringing out thick guitar tones, multi-faceted vocals, a subtle bass sound and of course those incredible drums. Each member's individual technical prowess is, as ever, flawless and virtually unchallengeable. "White Worms" and "Flame to the Surface" do stand out as being, in parts, a shade less technical than the rest of the album and, though I don't think intentionally, may more easily grasp an audience not used to Cryptopsy's usual super-technical assault. The solos, which this time are all-but-one by Jon Levasseur, have always been important in rounding out a Cryptopsy album and _Whisper Supremacy_ is no exception. Though in general a little shorter and with more pronounced backing guitars, the solos are excellent and fit as well or better into the songs this time around. Mike DiSalvo deserves an individual mention here, mostly because there has been a lot of speculation among Cryptopsy fans as to whether he was the right choice for a replacement in terms of both image and singing style. Whatever the speculation over his somewhat hardcore-influenced background, I will go on record as saying that he is one of the things which allows _WS_ to get its full 10 out of 10. Much as Lord Worm's vocals made _None So Vile_ an amazing record to behold, the same guttural style on this new album would have brought it down. Some of DiSalvo's stylings remind one distinctly of Brett Hoffman's finest moments with Malevolent Creation, but this is only a small facet of his vocal character, which has a number of other faces (more than Lord Worm, I think) and certainly a different overall delivery, which makes the record no less brutal but does make it eminently different. Some bands just can't seem to get it right; Cryptopsy is one of the select few whose "problem" seems to be getting it -wrong-. A top 3 contender for this year's number 1 album.
(article published 1/10/1998)
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