Cryptopsy – As Gomorrah Burns Review

Band: Cryptopsy
Album: As Gomorrah Burns
Label: Nuclear Blast
Genre: Technical Death Metal
Country: Canada
Release Date: 
September 8, 2023
For Fans Of:
 Necrophagist, Death, Spawn Of Possession

As Gomorrah Burns has some skeletons in its closet. Two albums forcibly make their presence known every time anyone discusses Cryptopsy: None So Vile and The Unspoken King. None So Vile is in my favorite five death metal albums of all time. It is a colossus that towers over everything any technical death metal band has done since. The Unspoken King…isn’t that. It was such a failure that Cryptopsy had to do a soft reset after its release. The band hasn’t released a full length since that 2012 self-titled soft reset, although the Book Of Suffering EPs are worth a listen if you haven’t gotten to them yet. The ultimate effect of The Unspoken King is one of anxiety. Cryptopsy was capable of that at one point, and the specter of its return lurked around every corner and new track. Still, I approached this album with cautious optimism: The band that made a complete masterpiece is still within the soul of this album as well. However, time moves forward, ideas go off course, and some words are better left unspoken.

Cryptopsy are one of the premier technical death metal acts, and if you haven’t listened to None So Vile yet, just close the review and do that right now. The band plays a straightforward, aggressive version of their genre, more similar to Necrophagist than the weirder stuff of bands like Gorguts. The songs are short and maintain a direct link to their thrash metal ancestors, even as the band trapezes about and jumps through rings of fire. They have had a million line-up changes, but drummer Flo Mounier has been there through all of the albums, the studs and the duds, and he remains the core of Cryptopsy’s approach.

The performances on As Gomorrah Burns are predictably top shelf. Mounier remains an unhinged percussive genius, switching between beats with a rapid-fire ridiculousness that would make me think of a drum machine if he didn’t play with such style. His fills are always exact, and his more-is-more approach completely fills the album with non-stop aggression and energy. No disappointments here from a legend.

While the drums predictably steal the show, the strings put on a surprisingly missable performance. Both the guitarist and the bassist make their passages sound easy enough that I found myself taking them for granted. But the top-notch playing deserves praise. As far as Matt McGachy’s vocals, they are well done and not for me. While he varies his approach and provides different sounds for different atmospheres, his high screams can sound out of place. That being said, some fans will appreciate that he seems to have done exactly what he set out to do, and will therefore hold a higher opinion of this record than I do.

As Gomorrah Burns’s songwriting contains the typical sparks of genius that you’ll expect from a good Cryptopsy album. There is the nice progression from machine-gun staccato, to continuous flow, and then to longer, more drawn-out notes that head to car crash territory before sputtering to nothing at the end of opener “Lascivious Undivine.” Cryptopsy’s frequent switch-ups of approaches to a consistent technical death metal style gives them more variety than their peers, and therefore more replayability. Every song has a few moments that make me sit back and smile. Hearing the entire band turn on a dime gives credit to groups that just roar forward and take risks and fail more.

In terms of flaws and partial criticisms, Cryptopsy’s production mostly allows the band to sound full and aggressive, but occasionally the aggression boils over and everything drowns out everything else. Despite this, As Gomorrah Burns sounds alive in a way that some technical death metal bands could learn from. Throughout the record, the band never escapes its twin demons: reminders of the great and terrible past both end up pulling me away from this release.

And while the small songwriting moments are all excellent, as you zoom out some of the decisions make less sense. The post-solo ending of “Godless Deceiver” works because of how much fun the band sounds playing the passage, but it does start to sound like the band wasn’t sure what to write in there. The band has mostly one approach, full on tiger maul, and this combined with their tendency to connect passages through impressive lightning transitions leads to some saminess among the songs. Cryptopsy could have spliced parts of “Ill Ender” and “Obeisant” together and had a result that works just as well as what’s on the album.

So, I had fun with As Gomorrah Burns, and I will continue to have fun with As Gomorrah Burns. As much as this record can’t escape the context it was born into, so too its strengths can’t be ignored. At worst Cryptopsy have made an album that showcases their talents and that their fans will enjoy, and I will accept that as a floor any day. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys it when bands show off.

Rating: 7/10


  1. Lascivious Undivine
  2. In Abeyance
  3. Godless Deceiver
  4. Ill Ender
  5. Flayed The Swine
  6. The Righteous Lost
  7. Obeisant
  8. Praise The Filth

Total Playing Time: 33:08

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