Cryptopsy – Opening a New Tome

Wednesday, 25th November 2015

Without question, one of the most frequently cited bands when it comes to setting the death metal bar, Cryptopsy has had a long and storied history. None So Vile has to be one of the most celebrated albums in death metal history, yet due to a number of stylistic changes and member swaps over the years, many have felt that the band has never reached that pinnacle again. There’s been some highs and lows in between, but it’s reasonably safe to say that the band’s newest EP, The Book of Suffering, is one of the band’s strongest and most consistent releases since None So Vile.

With a get-in-get-out mentality, the 4-song EP gives fans a satisfying taste of everything Cryptopsy has been known for. Blistering speed, frenetic drumwork, and brutal vocals all represent the band at its highest quality. So pleased with this release was DR that we grabbed vocalist Matt McGachy for a round of questions, including his take on the changes surrounding The Unspoken King, crowdfunding, and the new EP.

Dead Rhetoric: Where do you feel that The Book of Suffering falls in regards to Cryptopsy’s discography?

Matt McGachy: I personally feel that it’s a good mix of old-school groovy and catchy NSV mixed with the madness that is Whisper Supremacy with modern flair and production.

Dead Rhetoric: With the music industry in its current state, does it make more sense, financially-speaking, to write a few EPs as opposed to a full album?

McGachy: Yes sadly, in the modern music industry is rather difficult to make any money when it comes to record sales so we decided to put out new music more often. This would allow us to be on tour more often since most promoters are only interested in booking you once or maybe twice on a particular album’s touring cycle. Thankfully it’s still hard to download or stream a T-shirt as of yet, and we are extremely lucky to have fans who still come out to our shows and pick up a few pieces of merchandise.

Dead Rhetoric: What are your plans for following up with two more potential EPs? Any loose timeline as of yet?

McGachy: We hope to release one EP per year, with at least 3 EPs in mind as of now.

Dead Rhetoric: Will additional EPs link into Tome I in any way?

McGachy: Musically it will be an evolution, a time capsule of where we are at that particular moment as with all Cryptopsy releases. Lyrically all of the EPs concepts will revolve around suffering. I doubt I shall continue on the same path I’m on now but I hope to have a different concept for each while remaining within the overlying theme of suffering.

Dead Rhetoric: The Book of Suffering was originally titled by Lord Worm – I take it he and the band are still on good terms?

McGachy: Yes, when we were discussing writing a series of EPs we decided to pick something that would easily be separated into different chapters or tomes. So what better name than The Book of Suffering! Flo called up Worm and asked him if he minded if we used it and he said that it was conceived for Cryptopsy and therefore should be used by Cryptopsy.

Dead Rhetoric: Coming off of your last full-length, which was also self-released, would you rather do your own thing at this point rather than sign with another label?

McGachy: Yes, since 2012 we have been an independent band. We released our previous self-titled album Cryptopsy in 2012 also through Bandcamp and we were pleased with what we accomplished. Being independent is extremely challenging and trying at times. There is a lot of work that needs to be either dealt with internally within the band or delegated to outside resources. We are satisfied with what we accomplished but are always nitpicking and criticizing our decisions. It’s not like we can actually push the blame elsewhere when something goes wrong or if as an example our material didn’t get the publicity it deserved. We can only blame ourselves.

We are not opposed to labels we just haven’t received the offer that is meant for us as of yet.

Dead Rhetoric: You did some crowd-funding to finance The Book of Suffering – how did it go overall? Do you feel that this is going to become a frequent occurrence with bands at this point?

McGachy: The crowdfund was something that we wanted to experiment with for a while. Knowing that some of our peers had great success with it and the fact that we have such a strong fan base encouraged us to give it a shot. We were satisfied with the results even though it was a lot of work.

I have the feeling that crowdfunding in general is on the decline due to some bands not following through with their commitments and thus creating a sense of mistrust. Paying for somethings you don’t receive immediately is a hard thing to ask of a person and we understand that not all our fans were comfortable supporting us by those means. But the ones that did we shall cherish for the rest of our career. That being said, we have already decided that we shall no longer use crowdfunding as an option in the future.

Dead Rhetoric: Looking back, do you feel that the band simply pushed too far with changes with The Unspoken King?

McGachy: TUK was where the band was in 2008. They were interested in pushing the limits further into a melodic zone that brought me into the band. If it wasn’t for TUK I wouldn’t be in Cryptopsy, so in some way I must be thankful for it.

Looking back now and listening to it with more refined ears pruned to Cryptopsy’s sound. I completely understand the fans disappointment, for it is in all its essence not a Cryptopsy album. Had we started a side project and named it The Unspoken King I believe the reception of the album would have been much more positive.

The band never set out to make a deathcore record; honestly none of them even knew what deathcore was. They just got in the jam room and wrote what they felt was best at the time.

Worst than any of the music was our rebuttal to the negative feedback we were receiving. Looking back now I really think that albeit funny and meant to be tongue in cheek the Dinner Time intro was not the best way to appease our disgruntled fans. Oh well, you live and learn and now we are in 2015 with a new EP and I can say for myself that I have a completely better understanding of my role in Cryptopsy.

Dead Rhetoric: Likewise, Cryptopsy has never really done the same album twice (much to the chagrin of those looking for None So Vile II). Is it hard to see gauge how far some fans are willing to go with the band before they jump ship?

McGachy: As much as we respect our fans, we make music for ourselves more than for them. We don’t get into the jam room and wonder what would the fans like? We try to push ourselves musically, write great songs while remaining true to the Cryptopsy sound.

Dead Rhetoric: Cryptopsy is usually one of the first bands noted when one thinks of Canadian death metal. What are some other bands that you feel have had a large influence on Canadian metal?

McGachy: Gorguts, Voivod, Neuraxis, Quo Vadis and Kataklysm.

Dead Rhetoric: You recently returned to the US for a tour, the first in a number of years. Is it harder to get back out there without a label supporting you?

McGachy: It was great to get back to the US. It’s an essential market that we neglected for far too long. We had been receiving offers for tours but none of them worked out. For many different reasons such as: the finances not lining up or simply it being a bill that we wanted nothing to do with. For the last run we handpicked each band and we were really satisfied with the outcome.

As for being independent making it more difficult to get tours, I don’t agree. Perhaps the only thing I can imagine would be that we simply don’t have the financial liberty to buy onto a package. Whereas with a record label they would simply front the cash and add it to the already unreasonable amount of money you have to pay back.

We have set ourselves up in Europe, Canada, and the US with a strong and competent team of bookers and we have had great success in each region.

Dead Rhetoric: What’s in your plans for the next few months?

McGachy: We have a major North American tour in the works that will be announced in the next few weeks.

Photo credit: Eric Sanchez

Cryptopsy official website