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Cryptic Shift – Visitations from Enceladus

cryptic shift – visitations from enceladus

I shall now attempt the near impossible and try to put into words my thoughts on the debut album by UK Technical Thrash / Death Metal band Cryptic Shift. Punching smoke would be a far more simple task, and nothing I can say will do justice to the time and effort that Cryptic Shift have clearly devoted to ‘Visitations from Enceladus’. Sit back and relax folks because this journey will get bumpy…

So a little ramble through my thoughts on the concept of the album first I think. ‘Visitations from Enceladus’ is a science fiction concept album, but instead of merely writing about various SF films or books, Cryptic Shift have forged together a SF story all of their own making. Coming out of a stasis like situation, a spacecraft has rocked up slap bang in the midst of an interstellar war, and unfortunately being an unidentified vessel, both protagonists of said war then treat the craft as hostile and start blasting. A pursuit ensues until a missile strike catches our unlikely space travellers and they have to crash land onto a strange and distant planet. Damaged and stranded, all power and monitoring destroyed save for the radar and what the naked eye can see out of the viewscreen. Outside lay horrors of alien quantification, a planet on the brink of collapse and yet inside all is just as malevolent as the crew realise they have to escape their stranded craft. And so through the escape hatch our erstwhile heroes must venture and into an escape pod. That roughly covers the story of an opening tracks that spans Progressive Rock levels of audacity at a boggling twenty five minutes. I’ve done a brief summary but it in no way covers the pure emotional turmoil and horror that the stranded star men face, and if you read the lyrics/transcript of this song along, you’ll see the great depth that the bands have gone to in conveying their story.

What is more impressive than the band creating this whole nightmare scenario is the that they have also created the musical equivalent of said story. Every note, chord or lead, every drum beat or bass note is designed to act as an extreme opera of sorts. For every scenario there is a musical tone to match. In essence ‘Visitations from Enceladus’ is one of the most perfectly executed soundtracks I’ve ever heard. Also, labelling Cryptic Shift as a Technical Thrash / Death Metal band does them an injustice. At the very core of the bands sound that is what they are, yet the Progressive Rock influence is, pardon the pun, out of this world. And I love how the band have turned guitar leads, bass melodies and various bouts of technical guitar wankery into genuine Sci-Fi soundscapes. It’s wonderful. And so the story continues but I can’t do it justice. I’d strongly recommend read the lyrics section on this album on Metal Archives as the entire story is laid down there over the four tracks. It’s a phenomenal read and one I don’t have the capacity to extrapolate on fully. I do know this though, ‘Visitations from Enceladus’ will blow your mind. It’s a complete head-fuck! (Luke Hayhurst)