For years the United States’ Black Metal scene was looked at, from above. Musicians and bands were considered “inferior” to what was done on this side of the pond. Truth be told… Judas Iscariot is a perfect example of excellent Black Metal, as well as Absu, just to name two that I truly appreciate.
The thing is, Black Metal was always seen as a European genre (does this sound… bad?), one that has its root in this old continent, which meant we were the picture-perfect artisans to pull it off. Years have passed, Black Metal has evolved, or in this case, devolved, and the United States of America have stepped up, and started delivering the goods. Projects began to pop up from underneath every rock, which lead to the good, and the bad.
Cryptic Evil is one of those cases: started off in 2019, when the whole Black Metal Wave was already steaming, and has released an EP (the one you are reading about) in 2020, and a Full-length in 2021 (“Blasphemous Towers of Lust”). What has the duo, formed by Azrin Gorehammer and Ekhal the Blasphemous, given us? It is Black Metal, period. The thing is, some bands are actually able to pull off amazing, and innovative, works; others are just plain and “monochromatic”. There are no details that lure you in and makes you want to stay, or even return.
It is a mid-paced Black Metal, with lots and lots of melody, but it simple did not leave a mark on me, per se. There is plenty of groove, especially in the drums. Vocals are not very different from so many others in the business. It does have a structure that falls into the slower and “denser” Black Metal. Overall, it is very plain and linear.
Is this a sign of the stagnation of the genre? Is this a consequence of a scene (USBM) that is packed? What do I know, in the end? Very little. Please, give it a go. You might enjoy it. (DanielP)