It's a known fact among Cryptopsy
fans that this album was the black sheep of their discography and gathered a significant amount of backlash from their fans exclaiming that the band had lost their trademark style or "attempted to go deathcore" or whatever. While it's certainly not Cryptopsy
's best album and is by no means on the level of their first two albums, it's not as bad as a lot of people make it out to be.
The first thing that's evident when the album kicks in is the presence of a change in style. Cryptopsy
had, prior to Once Was Not
, been a very groove oriented death metal band with some grind influences, gory and blasphemous lyrics, and a lot of technicality. This album shows them exhibiting progressive elements, awkward time signatures accompanied by frequent pinch harmonics, and even some acoustic passages. For long time fans of the band and their original style, this could and did generate mixed feelings.
I think what the problem was with these new elements was not that they were there, but that they may not have been executed in the best way. The album feels cumbersome and awkward at times. We don't always have a clear path to see where it's going. Nonetheless, it's a good album if you want to feel overwhelmed and underwhelmed at the same time.
There are some very technical songs, especially the first 3 after the intro. Track
no. 5 entitled "The Curse
of the Great" always stands out to me though because it starts out very groovy and the riff is simple but easy to bang your head to then kicks into a frenzy of riffing and chaos that the band is known for. It is a great example of what I assume the band wanted to shoot for. It combines the good elements of their past work and melds it nicely with their new sound.
Other stand out tracks include: Adeste
Infidelis, Angelskingarden, and Endless Cemetery
. While they may stand out, don't expect too much from them if you want to hear stuff from the Blasphemy Made Flesh
and None So Vile
Overall, the album isn't great but it isn't absolutely terrible like some people say. It exhibits a new style for Cryptopsy
and while it may not work all the time, it still makes for an interesting and brutal album.