Cryogen - _This Nightmare_
(Independent, 2007)
by: Jeremy Ulrey (6.5 out of 10)
Fresh out of Cephalic Carnage's neck of the woods, these Denver natives play a more mid-paced, melodic form of In Flames-inspired death metal with late-era Carcass vocals. Cryogen are a fairly fresh young band, and their self-released, full-length debut from 2005 slipped entirely beneath my radar; but _This Nightmare_ holds promise, if also lacking ingenuity.

Nonetheless, this band is more or less tooled to cater to a certain pre-established blueprint, and to that end they peddle their wares quite well. Ryan Conner's vocals are abrasive and well-executed, and Brian Sawyer can wail away on those forlorn leads with the best of the European bands. There is a whole lot of maybe -too- precise double bass hammering from new blood Jeff Staley, as if in the search for a killer, well-rounded production, triggers were possibly resorted to. Whether this is true or not, the percussion has a cold, mechanistic feel to it -- and not necessarily in an intentional, artful way a la Fear Factory.

Regardless, the rest of the band compensate with an otherwise organic feel. If anything, I'd like to see a little more variety on future releases. "Man Is War" has an appealing acoustic interlude about two thirds of the way through the song, but it's brief and only serves to highlight the "same old" quality of the rest of the material.

Similarly, "Shades of Meaningless" starts off with an admittedly killer syncopated riff that trades off with a surgical precision rhythm section for the first minute or so of the song, but once the vocals kick in the band seem to have little recourse but to fall back into the routine verse-chorus-verse format, with the most prominent part of the intro repeated more or less ad nauseum from there on out. This song (and others) betray a Pantera influence in addition to Gothenburg death, but thus far they lack the variety that made that band -- or Carcass, At the Gates, etc., for that matter -- great.

In the meantime, all criticism aside, Cryogen are a fairly promising band; with another couple of years worth of writing under their belts, they may well join the big leagues yet.


(article published 27/7/2007)

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