Folter Records, 1996
Genre: Black Metal?
1. Beyond the Burning Horizon
2. And a Star of Glory Began to Shine
3. ...And Another Kingdom was Born...
4. With the Wind
7. Lords of Blackness
After two demos, which I have not heard, Cryptic Carnage release their first full length on Folter Records. This is the fourth release from Folter. This band hails out of Germany like most of the Folter roster and I'm beginning to see why Folter never got on my radar with these early releases. They really aren't my thing and Cryptic Carnage is no exception so far. I'm sure many notice the question mark next to my genre choice... that's because this isn't quite Black Metal.
Cryptic Carnage are performing a sort of strange style of metal. To be perfectly honest, it's probably somewhat unique for the time frame it was released, but it's not something I'm really getting into. Cryptic Carnage plays a fairly slow to mid-paced style of Metal. At times it is certainly Black Metal, but I think they are trying to generate a dark, yet melancholic, atmosphere through various other methods. There are quite a few parts with keyboards and clean guitar sections with spoken words or chanted vocals. A lot of those parts are completely separated from the Metal sections rather than blending them together. I'm beginning to notice this is a major problem for the earlier bands. I feel like the Norwegians had conquered this problem by 1996, but a lot of the early German bands seem to keep the elements separated for whatever reason. The problem Cryptic Carnage really runs into is that based on the arrangement one of the parts just feels like filler. Some of the music is very well performed, such I liked the lighter track "With the Wind", which was mainly clean guitar and keyboards. I think they are better at writing that kind of material than their metal sections. I really am not sure what they were going for with the Metal parts of their songs. I feel like they try to build up a sort of Bathory vibe with all the other elements... then they play some Metal, but not quite up to a Bathory caliber. I also feel like they are trying to do things that Orphanage would do much better.
The production on this album was merely okay. You can hear everything fine, but I just get the sense something is off. I don't know if the problem lies in the mixing or the mastering, but the album doesn't sound "full". If you understand what I mean. A lot of the music comes across sounding rather weak in this presentation. At this point Folter has started printing full booklets and I think this is a great thing! There isn't much in the booklet, but it does feature lyrics and a band picture. For the record I do think this album has a pretty cool cover.
In the end this release is very underwhelming. I'm not sure if this bands releases ever really pick up in the future and I'm not inclined to rush out and find out at the moment. I would honestly pass on this release. It has some great clean guitar parts, but it's not enough to keep me coming back to the release.