Crypta – Shades of Sorrow (Napalm Records)

Wednesday, 2nd August 2023
Rating: 8.5 / 10

They often say you have a lifetime to create and establish a debut record in any metal genre, but then need to buckle down quickly to assert your presence on the follow-up. That’s the case for Brazilian death metal quartet Crypta as they made quite a first impression through 2021’s Echoes of the Soul debut. Switching out second guitarists as Sonia Anubis steps aside for fellow Brazilian Jéssica Falchi, Shades of Sorrow continues the brutal assault of death metal that these ladies stand for, featuring a bevy of aggressive to semi-technical tracks, plenty of riffs/hooks to capture one’s headspace, plus tempos that range from tribal-like maneuvers to groove monsters beyond the savage blast beats or speedy fills present.

Additional Latin acoustic strumming appears at the conclusion of the otherwise savage “Dark Clouds”, while the thick bass presence of Fernanda Lira takes things in more of a progressive direction next to her raspy screams and gravely growls for the follow-up “Poisonous Apathy”. The drum tones achieved by Luana Dametto appear to be more natural and less digitally driven than most of her contemporaries. An added bonus when hearing her obliterate the kit on everything from the shape-shifting pounder “Agents of Chaos” all the way to the moodier, six-minute plus “Stronghold” that features some Slayer-esque action next to emotive melodic lead breaks. The versatility is a staple of the band – weaving in the speedier, technical touches with seamless catchy parts a la Death, Carcass, or Morbid Angel on “Trial of Traitors”, or settling into some Scandinavian-style twin riffs plus supportive bouncy rhythm section passages for “Lord of Ruins”. The lyrical content this time around has a lot of introspection and personal experiences channeled into relatable topics such as sadness, anger, suffering, personal resolve to overcome darkness, a welcome difference maker from the horror, gore, or zombie-like presence many artists typically gravitate towards. Add in three shorter interludes that appear at the opening, middle, and closing moments of the record offering brief aural distance to the heavier proceedings, and it’s readily apparent that these ladies choose to up their game in the musicianship, songwriting, performance, and overall production departments from first note to last.

Imagine a mix of classic latter-day thrash (Dark Angel, Slayer) taken into an early death metal mold (Morbid Angel, Death) while incorporating some of the progressive, Latin/Brazilian layers that exist due to the specific, technical abilities present in these musicians – and that’s what you’ll get from Crypta on Shades of Sorrow. Another winner sure to squeeze every last bead of sweat pouring from your body.

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