Blasphemy Made Flesh is the debut LP from the Canadian tech-death giants Cryptopsy, released back in 1994. While it is definitely their most straight-forward release to date, lacking the self-indulgent technicality that the academic fans boast about, it’s still a glorious exploration of what a band can do with the concept of musical brutality.
Because of their latest front-man change and the subsequent album, many fans of Cryptopsy (including myself) have given up on hoping the band will release anything decent in the future. While I’m perfectly open to the idea of drummer Flo Mounier coming to his senses and firing everyone else in the band, I think it’s safe to say that Cryptopsy’s glory days have come to an end. Still, their ill-conceived new direction doesn’t tamper with the quality of their old releases.
The production of B.M.F. is pretty unique, putting (surprisingly) little emphasis on the guitars, unlike what most metal albums seem to do. The producer seems to favor the drums and bass more, sounding very much akin to the early Suffocation albums. The thick/ bass-heavy knob job suits Cryptopsy perfectly, creating a dark environment where no member is left inaudible.
The strangely contrived song structures on this album are really the selling point. While Cryptopsy keep their tunes contained into standard 3-4 minute lengths, they still throw in everything from over-the-top breakdowns to odd tempo changes. There is nothing ‘traditional’ about any songs on this album and dissecting them is a challenge unto it’s own. To the non metal-fan they may sound spastic and disjointed, but to a listener who’s ears have been desensitized to guttural growls pounding bass drums, it’s abstract heaven. The songs satisfy your need to senselessly headbang and offer enough experimentation within the genre to set it apart from other bands.
Another interesting thing about this album is how the guitars are more oriented towards rhythm than melody. Most of the guitar parts are low tuned, note dense riffs which often mirror the patterns of the bass drum. It’s difficult to explain, but you’ll realize what I mean when you listen to it. The result is a band that appears to have a lot of rhythmic chemistry, significantly more than your average death metal band. Cryptopsy are also one of the only bands to truly nail the art of the metal-breakdown, for what it’s worth. Many metal bands fall flat on their ass when attempting to shove a breakdown into a song, but Cryptopsy execute it perfectly; integrating their breakdowns tastefully and creatively.
I can recommend this album to fans of death metal in general. Blasphemy Made Flesh may have a few years behind it, but few death metal bands today can match the speed, technicality, and atmospheric fury of Cryptopsy. It’s brutal alright, but it’s much more than just straight-up brutality. The offbeat song arrangements are satisfying beyond all belief and strike the perfect chord between sonic fury and technical competence. I revisit this album a lot and always find my self overwhelmed by the atmosphere and creativity.
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)