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Cryptopsy - The Best of Us Bleed (Century Media Records)

By: Mike Sloan

[9/10] Full disclosure #1: Iím typically not a fan of ďbest ofĒ or ďgreatest hitsĒ albums whatsoever. The reason is simple, really, because if a band has one of these compilation albums, the chances that Iíve already heard every song on said album a thousand times already are very high. Itís rare that I stumble across a best-of album from a band Iím unfamiliar with and Iíll certainly not spend a dime on one. Obviously when I was a kid and still learning the ropes of metal/music in 1988, that was different; Iíd gladly buy best-of comps back then.

Full disclosure #2: Iím a raging, almost obsessive Cryptopsy fan. Anybody who has been (un)fortunate enough to read anything Iíve written over the years pertaining to metal might know how big a Cryptopsy junkie I am. If you, the reader, are unaware of this fact, well, consider yourself a student because you just learned something.

On a normal occasion youíd be living in an alternate universe or reality to read that Iíve given a best-of album a near perfect score, but considering how unbelievably monstrous this double disc beast is, thereís almost no possible way not to give it at least a nine outta ten.

For starters, the 32 tracks that comprise the two albums of The Best of Us Bleed are a smorgasbord of the best Cryptopsy songs ever laid down, or at least damn close. Every album, save for their latest self-titled full-length, is well represented on The Best of Us Bleed. Whether itís two tracks from their glorious debut Blasphemy Made Flesh or their brilliant follow-up None So Vile, or any of the songs from their last essential release Once Was Not, you canít go wrong with this compilation.

However, the real sticking point on The Best of Us Bleed isnít the fact that itís loaded with great Cryptopsy songs that any fan already knows, or that the three best tracks from their finest hour Ė Whisper Supremacy Ė are displayed in all their glory. Nope, not even close. The real selling point isnít that the Montreal-based veterans also throw in a few tracks from their mighty None So Live release (still one of the very few excellent live death metal albums), either.

What makes this compilation such a must-have monster are the harder-to-find songs thrown into the mix. The Japanese live bonus tracks from both And Then Youíll Beg and Once Was Not are tacked on, which is a treat for fans not living in the Land of the Rising Sun. Their cover of Strapping Young Ladís ďOh My Fucking GodĒ is also added into the cauldron, as are four demo tracks from the Whisper Supremacy rehearsals. Sure, those songs arenít as great as the proper album versions, but itís cool to hear rough drafts of classic songs from 14 years ago. However, Cryptopsy has upped the ante even more because The Best of Us Bleed explodes out of the speakers with three unreleased studio tracks from 2011. In typical Cryptopsy fashion in which the band returned on this yearís masterful Cryptopsy offering, ďBodenĒ detonates like a grenade in the face of the listener. The trend of concussive and catchy-as-herpes technical death metal continues with the equally voracious ďA Graceful DemiseĒ and then even more so with ďHolodomor.Ē Anybody who enjoyed Cryptopsyís remarkable comeback album earlier this year will likely welcome the glorious pain of getting his face ripped off with these three introductory tracks.

It goes without saying that countless paragraphs can be written about Cryptopsy and how fan-fucking-tastic their take on sheer brutality is, but we usually have strict word-count rules around here. Anybody with any sort of brains (see: people who are fans of Cryptopsy) shouldnít hesitate to scoop up this deadly beast because itís essential to anyoneís collection. If youíve somehow never heard the savagery that comes from Canadaís greatest musical export, then do yourself a favor and treat yourself to what truly is a best-of collection.

Oh, and the three tracks taken from their critically-flamed The Unspoken King actually come off more fierce than ever. Methinks Iíll have to give that lone sore spot another spin?


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