Kryptan revel in darkest black metal’s qualities, twist the knife on blazing self-titled debut EP

Misery and black metal tend to go hand in hand as that style of music isn’t exactly here as a pick-me-up if you’re looking for some sort of flowery messaging. It’s ugly, sometimes too much so, though it’s also an ideal location for one to unleash the worst of their souls, the most fitting realm to let go of the forces that darken the artists’ lives, which we get to see and hear in their music.

Kryptan actually came to life in the worst possible time, when a global pandemic was spreading across the globe, sickening and killing millions. Yet, for the three members responsible for this band and their killer four-track debut EP, it was rich breeding ground for creating art that celebrated the ugliest elements of civilization. The three artists here—vocalist Alexander Högbom, guitarist/bassist/synth player Mattias Norrman, drummer Samuel Karlstrand—bring experience with bands such as October Tide, Katatonia, and Wretched Fate, and what they commit to tape here is devious, startlingly melodic, and a dagger to the heart of hope, leaving any chance at calm bleeding on the side of the road.

“A Giant Leap for Whoredom” opens and brings glorious black metal fire and ferocious shrieks as the low end gets burly and thick. Melody charges as the vocals go from guttural growls to banshee wails as the tempo punishes, and the storming has a gothy finish. “Bedårande barn” begins deep in the murk, blowing through and landing punches, pumping with a thick, foggy terror. Vicious growls carve away as the playing spirals and drills into the ground, delivering a menacing force. The leads sweep as guts churn, a synth gaze cools faces, and the drama thickens before fading away. “Blessed Be the Glue” has a melodic gust and powerful drumming as the fury increases, making their intensity nearly tangible. Black metal power bursts, the synth creates a fog, and we rip back in, with everything spilling out into echo. “Burn The Priest” closes the album, unleashing encircling riffs and shrieks that massacre, as the simple but violent chorus delivers bruising. The guitars wrap their tentacles as a fiery gust nearly knocks you over, and symphonic power blows the doors down. The playing stirs, another volcanic chorus rouses, and we end with the final blows blasting our rib cages.

This is a promising first glimpse at Kryptan, who bring some interesting twists to traditional black metal and infuse it with the sub-genre’s bloodthirst. This band brings a wealth of experience to what they do from their other projects and united to create something more sinister than what they all do elsewhere. Everything here hints at a volcanic future as they carve more bloody pathways into black metal’s rotting, blackened heart.  

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