When history asks Montréal brutal tech-death OGs Cryptopsy how they spent their pandemic, the answer will involve sole original member Flo Mounier increasing velocity on his drums; guitarist Christian Donaldson engineering/producing half the albums released since 2020 (give or take); bassist Oli Pinard joining another band, Cattle Decapitation (he’s also in Akurion, Vengeful and Neuraxis); and vocalist Matt McGachy keeping the alcohol industry afloat. His beer- and metal- focused podcast, Vox&Hops, is now north of 400 episodes. The culmination of the above – plus the 11 years since their last full-length and five since The Book Of Suffering EPs – is As Gomorrah Burns’ dizzying maelstrom.
On the surface, the band’s eighth album is just that, consisting of the million notes and beats crammed into every growling minute inherent to high velocity, technical death metal. But more intensive listens will reveal what separates Cryptopsy from the majority of that cohort. Lascivious Undivine opens with a full-court press showcasing Flo’s continued hummingbird wing battery and Christian’s streamlined grind/ noisecore riffing style. The trick being that these redline capacities – not to mention Christian’s panning wizardry – are employed towards a cohesive greater good that’s as much Rust In Peace as Dying Fetus’s Reign Supreme. Godless Deceiver and Ill Ender may possess head-spinning aptitude, but the jagged stops-starts, fretboard gymnastics and Matt’s demonic-spawn ululation are sculpted into songs that are, dare it be said, as fun as they are challenging.
As Gomorrah Burns stands out when it dares to move beyond the pale, mixing in sludgy, tectonic plate grooves on Praise The Filth and slappin’n’poppin’ autobahn funk on The Righteous Lost. Those moments are blended into a half-hour of complex explosiveness of the sort that will have nearby bomb squads donning protective suits.