Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Ancient Crypts - Devoured by Serpents  (Demo)
Given the obvious visual preferences of the band, Ancient Crypts is bound to erect a superfluity of speculations concerned with the band's lack of motivation, and these speculations will arise even before someone actually listens to the 22 minute tape, and hell, most of them will be accurate judgments, because this Chilean death metal horde is in no way giving birth to a new genre complete with all its technical and aural fulfillment, but that doesn't mean the group can't pack a punch with this ancient, decrepit sophomore demo. I would have hoped that, being in the same league with their ambitious label-mates Bolzer, ZOM, and Beyond, the Chileans could have embarked on something even only marginally different from a classic rehash, but the contrast between this, and creativity, is the virtual equal of the contrast between night and day. However, all is not in vain. Despite the sheer simplicity of their efforts and compositions, Ancient Crypts have somehow conjured a subterranean vortex of murk, complete with raw recording qualities, smashing, abusive riffing, and a one-time ticket to an abysmal land that's fairly frightening and vivid in its depiction of darkness and all things ominous.
This is actually some great stuff; the Chileans might not have tried too hard to tweak the aspects of the originality department, but they sure have some horrid, wrangling riff work ready at their disposal which they diversify in accordance with the varying tempo of the tunes, carnal, decomposed conformity that will make death/doom fans rejoice to enjoy altogether. It's easy to point at Ancient Crypts' influences, because whether you're an experienced OSDM connoisseur or some kid just newly starting to explore the beleaguered genre's fundamentals, ''Devoured By Serpents'' has some scary, tempestuous material hidden in its deathly vault that will easily make your bowels rumble with anticipation and enthusiasm. It's almost as if the Chileans just randomly snatched a handful of tags from a box of influential names, and proceeded to play by the rules of those acts. There's Finnish death metal aplenty, a ghastly exposition of Convulse, Demigod and even Abhorrence when you're listening to the more eerie variations of the blasting tremolo sequences, Incantation, which should be obvious by now, some Death circa 1987-1988, and an occasional admiration for death/doom acts in the vein of Winter (slightly less evil), Asphyx, Cianide, and less known Finnish obscures Rippikoulu. Some of my favorite moments include the mingling, tingling death/doom harmonies on the title track which sound like interpretations of early Autopsy, and the blasting, ruinous chord progressions of ''Between The Mortuary Remains''.
With such brevity and a mere lack of diversity there's not really much to say about Ancient Crypts. The demo is indubitably a bred of the previously mentioned acts in every possible way; the riffs, the drum patterns, the colossal, heaving density of the atmosphere, and the guttural snares of the vocalist, which, at faster picking moments resemble a somewhat bulbous version of your atypical death/grind barking. Yes, I did occasionally get a sense of repetition seething through wretched pits of the demo, and to be honest there are many other groups that are producing A+ material that tops this in so many ways, but the band's youth and eagerness negates utterly stark criticism. Besides, all those excellent OSDM acts that we venerate and adore today were, in fact, quite like these gentleman at some early point of their career. Thus, I can do no more but recommend this to fervent tape collectors - it hardly deviates from the norm but kicks copious asses while sticking to the safe route - so give them a chance and what do you know, one day, they might blossom into one of your doppelganger favorites.
Deep Into the Ancient Crypts
Devoured by Serpents