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Cryptopsy - Out With the New, In With the Old Part I

By: Mike Sloan

Blistering.com: During the years between The Unspoken King and Cryptopsy, there was much speculation, rumors and reports that Cryptopsy as a band was finished for good. Then reports were that you were just on hiatus. What was the truth? Was Cryptopsy officially finished between albums? What happened?

There was never a period where I called it quits. Itís a tough, tough industry and weíre in an underground music scene that doesnít generate much of anything in terms of money for the band members. That also explains why a lot of band members come and go. You either stick at it and fight through it because you love it or you get a job and quit. A lot of our guys have real jobs but they work around it because theyíre passionate about the music. It was mainly just a break, a regrouping, and like I mentioned in the first question it was a matter of getting everybody on the same page. Once we got that lineup on the same page, we kept that lineup and went with it. But no, there was never a point when Cryptopsy was over; itís a tough industry and we just needed some time to regroup and once we got settled in, we went forward.

Blistering.com: Whenever I do a review of a technical death metal band, I always mention Cryptopsy, Nile, latter-day Death and, of course, Atheist as the collective kings of the genre. What about you? Do you consider Cryptopsy at the pinnacle, or at least near the pinnacle, of the whole technical death metal genre?

Over the years and after all Iíve read and heard, I guess yeah. I guess a lot of people have listened to us and we have influenced quite a lot of people and that is very flattering. Itís not something I take to inflate my ego but in the same sentence, it is important for people to remember that, especially for the newcomers and new fans to understand that weíve been around for 20 years. Whenever thereís some really, really bad bashing of us, itís like, come on; weíve been doing this for 20 years. I think we know what weíre doing [laughs]. But Atheist, especially, and Cynic, too, were definitely a huge part of this [genre] and itís very flattering to be mentioned with them. I have heard quite a few musicians say theyíve heard Cryptopsy and changed the way they play. Thatís always very flattering. Itís super.

Blistering.com: Oftentimes, especially with the newer, younger bands, these kids can really play their instruments. Their skill levels in terms of finesse and technicality are unquestioned. However, what cripples them is their inability to create actual songs. Sure, theyíre super brutal and unbelievably technical but they usually always lack the ability to craft actual songs around their skillset. When you hear these new bands, do you think the same thing and if so, what is your approach to writing actual songs amid the brutality/technicality?

Itís writing parts that fit with the music, with the theme, with the song. There are some kids that can do both and then there are some that canít. My advice to them is to just find yourself, find your identity and go with what you think works. Try doing this through a variety of different sounds. With death metal, and actually all music, really, you have so many choices. There really is no limit to what you can create and what you can do. Itís not about trying to write so many different notes; itís about finding an identity from all the different music that influences you and going with that. You need to find yourself first, find an identity, and go with that rather than trying to show off. It should remain music and death metal is about music. Itís all musical and it can be very, very catchy. There are a lot of grooves, which people nowadays call breakdowns, which is another thing I find extremely funny. Then there are melodies and harmonies and we try not to neglect that. It can be musical and technical at the same time. I guess some people can compose that way and some people canít or donít.

Blistering.com: Far too often Iíll hear albums where the drummer, while talented, tends to rely almost solely on the blast beat or double bass. Yes itís brutal but it grows stale after a while because itís too repetitive. Great drummers always mix in the fills, the rolls, the grooves, etc. along with the barbarity of the blast beat and double bass. What is your trick to incorporating everything into your drumming? Your style is so diverse so is there some sort of method behind how you create your drum patterns?

I try to develop my drumming more into my drumming vocabulary, which is more eclectic than just blast beats and double bass. I listen to a wide variety of music and itís also working on my chops, my rudiments which is what I just did with a drum clinic. If we just wanted to play something very fast, thatís just not us. We like to experiment with tempo changes, mood changes, and feel changes. So when we do what people call breakdowns Ė and people always say there are no pressure breakdowns in death metal Ė that has been in death metal for so long. I mean, look at Obituary! Youíre not going to call that death metal? All that is, is grooves. They are all about grooves and being catchy and thatís what death metal always was and, to me, still is. Itís about having the right part with the right groove but I can change it into a blast whenever we want and thatís our choice. We like to have that variance and when that does come in, it creates a dynamic difference. It creates a tempo change and, in a sense, a change to the mood of the song. Music is not all about noise and how fast you can go; itís about feeling and creating a feeling when you listen to it. Thatís what I think, anyways.


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