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The Kryptik – A Journey to the Darkest Kingdom

the kryptik – a journey to the darkest kingdom


In a genre where nostalgia reign supreme, bold statements can set things off on the wrong foot. It’s at the very least a striking claim to suggest an album might be on par with classics like Obtained Enslavement’s ‘Witchcraft’, Odium’s ‘The Sad Realm of the Stars’ and Dimmu Borgir’s ‘Stormblåst’. Whether that is a fair starting point for the latest album by The Kryptik is something only time will tell, but it sure raises expectations and perhaps eyebrows going into their latest record ‘A Journey to the Darkest Kingdom’.

Let’s start with a flash of history. The origins of the Brazilian outfit The Kryptik go back to the late 90s when the band still played raw Black Metal under the moniker of Cryptic Lorn. With the change of name, the sound shifted to a more distinct Norwegian Black Metal approach, featuring melody-driven uptempo Black Metal with layers of synthesizers. And coming back to their most recent album and the classic Norse records that are mentioned as references, there is certainly something to be said to at least mention these bands. The Kryptik does have that melody-driven sound and layers of keys that was so striking about Obtained Enslavement, although that band had a much more grandiose sound than can be heard on ‘A Journey to the Darkest Kingdom’. And part of the blazing guitarwork and tempo of Odium can be found as well, although the much more keyboard-oriented sound of The Kryptik makes it a somewhat more loose connection. The same goes for paralels with Dimmu Borgir’s ‘Stormblåst’, but one cannot deny that the typical Norwegian symphonic approach has solidly made their way to Brazil. One reference that I actually missed is that of Dissection, as songs like ‘Bloodthirsty the Mighty Bestiary’ certainly have melodies that are strongly reminiscent of the trademark sound of the Swedes.

There’s several reasons why I personally think that ‘A Journey to the Darkest Kingdom’ isn’t quite at the level of those classics. And much of it revolves around balance. There is a matter of balance of sound, where I believe that there is too much of the double keyboard layer upfront in the mix compared to the vocals and guitars, making the latter feel pressed into a corner. That’s a shame, because the previous EP ‘Behold Fortress Inferno’ had a better balance, and even the rawer guitar sound on the preceding album ‘When the Shadows Rise’ made things sound a bit more evened out. Right now, it feels as if the guitar melodies are drowning a bit in a sea of whistling keys, which certainly evoke an atmosphere, but at a cost. Balance in structure needs to be addressed as well. This mostly revolves around a little bit too much repetition of the same elements. The songs all last 8 to 12 minutes, and it feels dragged out a little bit too far at times. The classic references were more to the point and concise, something that could have been better on ‘A Journey to the Darkest Kingdom’. I can’t think of anything better than an eight minute symphonic instrumental outro to illustrates that point.

Despite everything said before, ‘A Journey to the Darkest Kingdom’ actually isn’t a bad album by any means. ‘Into the Blasphemy Ritual’ is a more uptempo and minimal track, with a more epic character and solid guitar riffs and a Borknagar-like battle between screams and clean vocals that all work very well. ‘Bloodthirsty the Mighty Bestiary’ has beautiful clean strumming that contrasts the atmospheric keyboard layers and leads into a noteworthy solo. I would even call ‘A Journey to the Darkest Kingdom’ an enjoyable record, but more something that is pleasantly passing by in the background than an album that grabs you and leaves you obsessed with it. It certainly was a gutsy move to mention it along the same lines as records that have gained a cult status over the last decades. It feels like all the components are there, and it’s certainly not a flaw in riff writing or musical performance of The Kryptik. But right now, ‘A Journey to the Darkest Kingdom’ may be inspired by classics from Odium, Obtained Enslavement and Dimmu Borgir, but in order to come close to them as claimed there is still quite a leap out of the shadows to go.

Purity Through Fire

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