By Craig Hayes. It’s been a few years since we’ve heard from Finnish death and doom metal necromancers Krypts. But here they are again, crawling from the black-hearted catacombs with their grimmer-than-grim new album, Remnants of Expansion. I’ve never understood why Krypts' storming debut, 2013's Unending Degradation, isn’t raved about more often.By Craig Hayes.
|Artwork by Timo Ketola|
It’s been a few years since we’ve heard from Finnish death and doom metal necromancers Krypts. But here they are again, crawling from the black-hearted catacombs with their grimmer-than-grim new album, Remnants of Expansion. I’ve never understood why Krypts' storming debut, 2013's Unending Degradation, isn’t raved about more often. That album was released by Dark Descent Records, which is a sure sign of commanding metal, and we all know those fiendish Finns are adept at mixing tar-thick doom with crushing death metal. More to the point, Unending Degradation oozed corruption, and like the music of fellow Finnish doom henchmen Hooded Menace, Krypts' songs feature a spine-chilling tempo and tenor that eclipses many of their peers.
Still, I guess there’s something to be said for cult music made by a cult band only ending up the in hands of the most fervent cultists. In any case, Remnants of Expansion is here now, and it wrenches open the gateways to Lovecraftian terror once again. It’s a steep dive into archaic horrors straight away too. Album opener, "Arrow of Entropy", is a supremely dark and atmospheric trudge under endlessly overcast skies. At 11-minutes long, "Arrow of Entropy" is an epic opening gambit as well. But Krypts have no problem filling the track with extremely heavy and hypnotic hooks.
More melodic and monolithic charnel house riffs await on "The Withering Titan". And "Entrailed to the Breaking Wheel" and "Transfixed" are both hulking and bulldozing in equal measure too. If you're a fan of Scandi death metal, then you'll love the mountain of vintage tone, texture, and weight on all the album's tracks. And mixing mortuary leads with mournful refrains keeps the rack and ruin of doom ever-present as well.
There’s an impenetrable density to Remnants of Expansion that's intimidating too. The album’s riffs, courtesy of six-string mage Ville Snicker, and fellow new(ish) guitarist Jukka Aho, are ultra-grim and gargantuan. But those riffs are made all the more wretched and foul as the two guitarists slowly wring every torturous ounce of despair out of them. Vocalist and bassist Antti Kotiranta growls with all the torment and fanatical madness you’d expect from the clergy of the damned. And Otso Ukkonen’s pounding drums provide the all-important doomsday tempo. Add all that up, and there's no question that Remnants of Expansion brings the heavyweight ambience of classic esoteric death metal. But the claustrophobic air of otherworldly forces steadily closing in plays a big role here too.
Obviously, Finland is home to celebrated death and/or doom metal icons like Demigod, Convulse, Thergothon, Reverend Bizarre, and Skepticism. Musically, Krypts are a different breed to those aforementioned bands. But they do bring a similarly solemn sense of gravity. Certainly, Remnants of Expansion is not a shallow or immediate album. And that’s no deficit. There's way too much cookie-cutter death metal out there, and albums like Remnants of Expansion offer a crucial alternative by ensuring that the Devil really is in the details.
Remnants of Expansion is an album to wallow in. Krypts’ slow and steady subterranean dirges divulge more secrets and evoke more menace the deeper you explore them. So get digging into Remnants of Expansion’s earth-quaking murk. Let the corruption take hold. Let the sepulchral insanity reign. Amen.