Interview: Cryptic Shift on death metal, worm-holes, and H.P. Lovecraft

Cryptic Shift are a technical thrash/death group from Leeds, Yorkshire. After encountering them opening for the legendary Exodus in 2016, I was instantly won over with their aggressive, technical brand of sci-fi metal. They’ve toured and performed with bands such as VektorLost SocietyMithrasIngested, and will soon be opening for the death American metal juggernauts Suffocation in Leeds. After their monstrous 2016 EP ‘Beyond the Celestial Realms’, in April they released their new digital single ‘Cosmic Dreams’ through UKEM Records. Read on for an interview with their guitarist and vocalist Xander on death metal, sci-fi, and touring with Vektor.

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Wormrot – “Voices”

This is Wormrot doing what Wormrot do best, better than they’ve ever done it before. Loud, fast, relentlessly heavy, pissed off grindcore of the finest quality. Taking cues from thrash, death, crust, and hardcore punk, this album pulverises. Not only does vocalist Arif Rot sound more ferocious than ever, screaming and growling with real passion, guitarist Rasyid consistently churns out some of the best riffs in the genre. And new drummer Vijesh brings his own unique style to Wormrot’s sound, bringing a more natural sound to the band.

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Trivium – ‘Silence in the Snow’

Trivium have long been a pretty controversial band in the metal scene for a variety of reasons, ranging from their image to their early metalcore sound. Yet one could never accuse Trivium of playing it safe: on every consecutive album they’ve taken very different directions, dabbling in metalcore, thrash metal, progressive metal, heavy metal, and others. But on their seventh album ‘Silence in the Snow’ Trivium undergo perhaps the most significant change in sound to date. The metalcore roots of this band are firmly a thing of the past, replacing those early influences with traditional heavy metal bands like Iron Maiden and Dio. The harsh vocals present on almost every previous Trivium album are entirely gone, with vocalist/guitarist Matt Heafy stepping up his clean vocal performance substantially to compensate, and taking a much greater role in carrying the songs.

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Revocation – Deathless

Deathless is the fifth full-length album from the Boston-based metal band Revocation, recently signed to Metal Blade Records. Revocation play an interesting blend of technical death metal and thrash metal not entirely unlike bands such as the British band Sylosis. While in the past Revocation have placed a lot of emphasis on technicality and a kind of controlled chaos, Deathless sees the band shift emphasis towards a much darker, heavier, and more focused sound.

Deathless is by far the heaviest and darkest album that Revocation have released to date. There’s a far greater emphasis on atmosphere here, with guitarists Dave and Dan taking their undoubted technical skill and applying it in a more focused way.  The down-tuned guitars shed unnecessary technicality in favour of creating a more cohesive sound with songs that flow more naturally with a more clearly defined sense of where they’re going. To be clear, the riffs are still incredibly technical, it just feels like they did a better job of writing ones that work together better. And the guitar solos are better than ever before, which is saying a lot considering how phenomenal Dave’s solos have been in the past. And the production is better than ever before. On previous albums the production has led to a slightly sterile sound, which isn’t great when you’re playing super-technical death metal. Here the music is allowed room to breathe more naturally, enhancing all aspects of their sound here.

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