- Band(s): Cryptic Shift
- Label(s): Blood Harvest
- Release Format(s): 12" vinyl, Cassette, CD, EP, Re-Release
- Release Year: 2023
- Review Date: April 18, 2023
- Author(s): Colin McNamara
Cryptic Shift hail from the U.K. and while a rather underground band with just one full length debut in their 12 year career so far, they have something going for them that is rather different from the average modern expectation of Technical Death Metal. While ‘Return to Realms’ is not a new album but rather a re-release, it is an important milestone for the band’s career since its release back in 2016 when it was titled ‘Beyond the Celestial Realms.’ This four piece created a sound that is definitely in the vein of the likes of groups such as Beyond Creation, but add a bit of a Thrash vibe to it, almost Exodus style. So not only do listeners get the jarring twists and turns of guitar technicality (but not so much it makes their brains explode like Archspire goes for with their BPM rate) but also the groove and grit of the likes of a band such as Exodus. Combined, listeners get an album that is both formulaic but at the same time not in the way they would expect. The first 5 tracks are exactly as they were on the original EP, those who have heard of these guys won’t get anything new. For new listeners the groove laden tracks like ‘Deathcrusher’ are very stop and go, but the guitar solos are where the technicality is at. Vocals are that mix of harsh snarls and barks, that line between Obituary and Legion of the Damned. While this song is more chuggy and may not have much as a roller coaster ride as some other tracks, it is a solid example of what Cryptic Shift can do more on their Thrash side. For more Death Metal, look to ‘Glacial Reclamation’ which hits harder without the groove pauses, and just hammers over and over on some of the riffs. Vocals are more guttural and the drums just lay down their machine gun fire. At the same time the technicality is lost a little, but at the same time the bass hammers out more too, so that is more audible.
The extra tracks on the release are a stark difference from the others in production and sound. Many are demos of the other tracks, and while the drums and vocals are much rougher such as ‘Voyage Through Dimensions,’ at the same time the guitars are more prominent, despite being distorted, and then one can really hear those solos wail. ‘Cosmic Dreams’ is another good example of their more Death Metal style with some Thrash in there and some proggy tech moments in the solos, but overall the sound is thicker, heavier, and at the same time the vocals are a bit more 90s Morbid Angel. There is still groove, but even the drums have that different ‘click’ to them that is more along the technical lines like Vital Remains would versus that loud, percussive thump. There is one ‘new’ track entitled ‘Entombed in Flesh’ which is more of an Old School Thrash Death track that lacks the technicality of the modern touches of the first half of the album, but the raw, grittier side maybe shows Cryptic Shift’s early beginnings in 2011 and a bit more of their origins when they were more Death Thrash and not quite as technical as they are today. Ultimately though these guys have some impressive stuff that is a little bit different than the current expectations set by some of the more promoted Technical Death Metal bands out there, and if someone wants another example of how Cryptic shift can really push their boundaries, check out their debut album from 2020 where they pull off a 25 minute track.
- Country: United Kingdom
- Style: Black Metal, Death metal
- Links: Facebook, Instagram, Bandcamp, Spotify, Youtube
- Country: Sweden
- Style: Death Metal, Black Metal, Thrash Metal
- Links: Homepage, Facebook, Instagram, Bandcamp, Youtube