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Album Reviews : Cryptic Abyss – Into the Abyss

By on June 24, 2014

I had the pleasure of playing alongside Cryptic Abyss at a function called Splinter recently. Having seen their live show, and given that on that particular night they were clearly the standouts amongst the bands I’d seen, I was eager to check out their EP “Into The Abyss” released this year.

Clocking in at 26:52, this EP (and by extension this band) is completely honest about what it is from the start. There’s no overproduced or overly flashy electronic introduction here (or any electronic work at all for that matter). The production showcases a rough-and-true sound reminiscent of heavy thrash bands such as Testament and the more recently formed instrumental band Conquering Dystopia.

Right off the bat I was a fan of the raw vocals and vocal production. The production matches the delivery flawlessly, utterly without apology or polish. Seated in the midst of chaotic riffs and some tastefully under-edited drumming, the vocals shine through as aggressive and edgy.

The music is definitely well structured, sections flowing into one another with ease whilst adhering to a logical sense of adventure. As a listener, the experience definitely feels “right” in that the music builds and deconstructs in all the right spots. No build-up lasts too long or is too quick, and no climax is under-delivered.

The EP does suffer from a little bit of all-songs-sound-similar-itis, however. Tracks 2, 4, 5, and 6 all begin with the same note and at similar tempos. Two begin with a groovy feel while the other two begin with a fast double-time thrash feel, but still, the similarities are scathing when the release is this short and so few songs are featured.

The lead guitarwork could definitely use some refinement as well. Solos by definition don’t need to be overly complicated or overly fast, but in a style such as this they’re definitely important to execute well. I do admire this player for not attempting solos at breakneck speeds before he’s ready, since a LOT of guitar players are guilty of this, but I definitely think the next release would benefit greatly from rigorous practice and work with a metronome. As I said, players don’t need to showcase breakneck speeds all the time, but a guitar player still has to work hard to truly find his or her unique voice and style of expression in order to make solos memorable and cool.

This band definitely has potential. Their energy and delivery is already excellent. What I’d hope to see in the future is experimentation with different songwriting styles, tunings, and tempos. Not every band has to be comprised of progressive geniuses who attended Berklee and know every scale in the world, but I do think that bands that take themselves seriously should always vigorously push to find undiscovered things that they do well, while attempting to become proficient at things that they initially don’t do so well.

Band: Cryptic Abyss
Album: Into the Abyss
Year: 2014
Genre: Groove metal
Label: Independent
Origin: Melbourne, VIC

Track list:
1. Grooveback
2. Words of a Brute Spirit
3. Throne of Hatred
4. No Sympathy
5. Blood on the Nature Strip (ft. Matt Young of King Parrot)
6. Into the Abyss


Chad is a musician/producer from Melbourne. He has been playing guitar for 10+ years now, and currently plays in the progressive metal band Conjurer. Check out Chad's blog, and for professional inquiries, follow him on LinkedIn.