This review originally appeared on the website Black Metal & Brews February 14, 2014
After hearing Cold Crypt‘s 2012 offering, Darkest Symphonies, I knew that this would be an artist to keep an eye on. With an even more focused attack this time around, it’s safe to say that Bearing the Light takes Cold Crypt from slightly creepy to altogether unsettling. For those who enjoyed the first album at all or for anybody who loves getting lost in the density and sense of dread in extreme music, give this a read and a listen.
This project’s sample-laden brand of black metal paired with distorted beyond recognition synthesizers is all about atmosphere. Atmosphere in this case relies heavily on the pure intensity of texture, whether it’s in vocals that distort so severely they feel like a howling wind, guitars that are layered to an almost oppressive degree, or synth tones that may fit more into a harsh noise album than anything conventional electronic fans would expect. There’s something smothering to it and it’s Cold Crypt’s strongest suit. That’s not to say that the minimal passages of eerie keys aren’t terrific ways of accenting a generally horrifying experience, but Cold Crypt’s ability to kick things into full swing at a moment’s notice is its real strength. At times, like in “44,” the music gets to an almost cosmic bliss for a moment, only to lead to an even more chilling set of sounds. While the inevitable decay is to be expected, it delivers nonetheless, creating a truly satisfying experience as a fan of solid, creepy black metal and electronic music. The perfect pairing of”Slaughtered Gender” followed by “Her Plague is Man” is a personal favorite of mine on the album, with a militaristic marching beat setting the stage for an ominous swelling song that leads into a companion piece (in title and theme if nothing else) that is almost an opposite in sound, with aggressive drumming and vocals occasionally dissolving into murky synth tones that seem to come through the other end of a transmission from another dimension. Tunes like these truly stand out as separate from any conventional genre categorization, yet still work nicely under the general umbrella of extreme music. Cold Crypt may be a project that defies description, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a strong chance for this artist to reach a broad audience with Bearing the Light.
This album is available in digipak CD from Cimmerian Shade Records and it comes with some extra treats. I urge you to obtain a copy immediately, as any words I can share here won’t quite do it justice.
“… a unified wall of hatred and ugliness.” – Marty (Wormgear)
” …(an) unholy monstrosity… (with) awfully frightening electronic soundscapes…” <a href="The Grim Tower Week 100 (February 10 214)” target=”_blank”>The Grim Tower
Only a limited number of ‘Bearing The Light’/Grinder packages remaining….
Originally appeared in The Grim Tower Week 100 (February 10 214)
The third release by RAZE, this album is described as “violent mechanical malevolence with stark ambience” with themes ranging the normal gamut, hate/madness/depression/suicide/murder. Hey, this guy must be from my neck of the woods. I’ve written about all of those things too. But at any rate, what I’m getting from the very start of “Astral Death 5:47″ (love the name, by the way) is a static-laden affair with somewhat audible warm riffs, drumming of a decent note and notably chilling blasts of vocal aggression. It’s quite demonic and obviously filtered; but that definitely gives it some spice. I need to ask this guy what filter program he uses as it would be great to filter some of the vocal lines on the new Torii record. “Seeking The Red 4:50″ makes RAZE sound like some sort of unholy monstrosity, and finally I can hear the drums which differentiate it from the last piece. But as I’m feeling, this is all intended to be one atmosphere. “44 6:07″ shows that the man can make some awfully frightening electronic soundscapes (which it still baffles me why some of these acts aren’t lending their efforts to more independent games that could use them for atmosphere) and that puts a smile on my face. This is definitely one of the standout tracks for me, which might make RAZE a bit upset seeing as how I prefer his electronics to his metal. But to be honest, it just sounds like his skills are better suited to this and we need more frightening atmospheres in the world. “Slaughtered By Gender 5:05″ goes back to the norm, yet piques when the melancholy melodies poke in. They’re not entirely happy, but that’s what makes this worthwhile. Again, what I’m seeing is a man who would be well-suited for soundtracks. And that is not a bad thing, since soundtracks can make or break several other media art forms, as per a film. A film can chill you to the bone if something of this nature plays during it, even after it. Have you ever seen a horror film that had a hell of an ending, followed by an eerie tune during the credits? You can’t tell me that that tune and those images didn’t keep you up half the night, and that means that the composer is worth their salt. I don’t give a fuck if you’ve got skulls and demonic images all over your house; you’re going to revert back to a seven year old child if you see something that really frightens the hell out of you. And everyone has a fear. Even if they don’t know it yet.
“Her PlagueIs Man 5:31″ follows weak riffing but better vocal effects. Are there lyrics? I don’t know and I don’t care. The parts I care about are the Filosofem-esque fuzzy keyboards. “Fractured Fears 8:15″ is an atmosphere piece; it’s quite lengthy and sees a bit of electricity during its length. “Something Empty 4:18″ begins next, but it doesn’t seem to work quite as well with the two drum taps in the piece. That sort of takes away from the atmosphere. No drums would have been just fine. “Madness Through The Fire 4:14″ features a lot of electricity and wind. “Bearing The Light 7:24″ is barely audible but has slight synth effects that work to warm the track a little. It begins to sound a bit spacey.
As I’ve said, RAZE is better at crafting atmospheres, than he is at making some sort of metal electronic hybrid. I would be completely satisfied with a follow-up consisting completely of electronic soundscapes. Some of these are amazingly brilliant. But I think that the heavier notions of the album actually ruin it. It’s definitely worth checking out anyway, so if you’re interested, give it a shot. A decent effort that I would like more if it was (shock!) not one bit a metal album, and focused more on dreadful and terrifying atmospheres. “44″ will haunt your fucking dreams.
Highlights: 44, Her Plague is Man, Madness Through The Fire, Bearing The Light (9 Tracks, 51:00)
“… a unified wall of hatred and ugliness.” – Marty (Wormgear)
Only a limited number of ‘Bearing The Light’/Grinder packages remaining….
Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles‘s Jason Deaville hits the Black Metal nail on the head with his review of Cold Crypt‘s ‘Bearing The Light’:
“For those of you disappointed by Scott Conner’s (aka Malefic) decision to end Xasthur, well, you can drag your depressive asses up-and-out of your parent’s basement and behold the unlight that is COLD CRYPT. This is the stuff of nightmares – a chaotic, anguished, mind-fucking trip through a dissonant purgatory. Where USBM bands had begun to sound very same-y, a cannibalization of sounds and ideas, the UK’s Cold Crypt builds off the fundamentals of these genre-defying bands, layering a jarring, vociferant, nearly-industrialized sound to the warm, fuzzed-out bed of atmospheric distortion. A palpable sense of dread, one suffused in schizophrenic samples, is never far from the surface, permeating the entirety of the wraith-like black metal on display. Not for the faint of heart.” -8/10
Thank you Jason and BW & BK
Posted yesterday on Highwire Daze by Ken Morton.
Cold Crypt is the one man Black Metal project of mastermind Raze, an intriguing endeavor destined to set the imagination in flight. Bearing The Light is Cold Crypt’s latest manifesto, grim and chaotic in scope, now available from Cimmerian Shade Recordings. In this interview, we explore the spells found within the devastating confines of Cold Crypt. Let the nightmare commence…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Cold Crypt, and how long the band has been together.
I’m the sole member of the band and like most black metal musicians I have a pseudonym (Raze), I write and record all the music in Cold Crypt.
I guess it all started in December 2011, at least that’s when I started getting the equipment together for recording. No actual music was ready until late January 2012
Where is the band based out of and what is your local metal scene like there?
Its based in a shit stain on the planet called Guildford (in the UK). The metal scene here is very thin really, there’s a few interesting people who like Doom metal and Death metal (I have never met anyone here who likes Black metal) but most people here who don’t listen to “radio” music are the kind of idiots that think Slipknot and Linkin Park are metal
Is there any story or concept behind the title Bearing The Light?
The whole album is based on the witch burnings in religious history. It’s not a typical hail Satan kind of album; it’s more like it’s saying: “Hey look, this has actually happened and we seem to have forgotten”.
The title Bearing The Light means holding the knowledge or bringing the truth.
Select two songs from Bearing The Light and what inspired the lyrics.
Seeking The Red and Madness Through The Fire have the most interesting lyrics on the album: the first is set out like a Luciferian spell designed to curse the witch hunters and the second is based on looking through the eyes of an innocent women as she’s tied to the stake screaming as the flames slowly engulf her body.
Who did the artwork for Bearing The Light and how much input did you have on it?
The artwork was designed by Rivan Aji, he’s an amazing artist who specializes in art for metal bands.
He contacted me in early 2013 offering his services (at a price) and I just said I wanted artwork that reflected the album name, a month later he came back with the finished product and it was just like “holy shit that’s awesome”.
When you look back on Darkest Symphonies, what do you think of it now and has does it compare to Bearing The Light?
I’m still very proud of Darkest Symphonies but unlike Bearing The Light it has things I wish were different, a riff here or a beat there, it is like a stepping stone to Cold Crypt’s true potential.
Has Cold Crypt ever performed live?
Nope never has and never will, this music is made for loners.
If you could open up for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
THE BERZERKER because the day that band split up I must of smashed every fucking thing in the house.
What is it you’d like a listener to remember the most after hearing Bearing The Light for the very first time?
I guess I just want people to remember the bleakness and the cancerous screams of the whole thing. It is hard to picture it all from someone else’s point of view.
Are you involved with any other band outside of Cold Crypt?
Yes I’m also the guitarist and vocalist for the band Marahkain: it is very, very different from Cold Crypt, better to listen to it then read about it.
What’s up next for Cold Crypt?
I’m currently working on the next full length album called Utter Contempt For Life. It is more complex and fucked up than anything else I’ve done so far.
Any final words of wisdom?
Just want to say thanks for the interview and thanks to Dave from Cimmerian Shade Recordings for all he’s done to promote the album.
“12 years ago, I may have been a bit more enamored by the mysterious dungeon black metal noise of England’s Cold Crypt, for when the 1 man black metal movement began, it seemed so legitimately DIY and spirited to those of us who have always had difficulty securing a drummer locally, or even wanting the hassle of working with one. With advances in recording/computer technology, the internet and a few evilly rendered “selfies” from mom’s camera, your solitary statement of blistering hell noise was a drum machine pattern and cheap distortion pedal/guitar away.
Cold Crypt is a fuzzed out descent into the dissonant realm of pulsing, dare I say “industrialized” black metal, cradled in a swarm of atmospheric distortion, blazing straight forward foundation riffs and cancer sore vokills that curse the heavens with discontent. There is so much caustic noise stacked on top of caustic noise, Bearing the Light strikes as a unified wall of hatred and ugliness. When twisted harmonies strain from the wash of sound, they put me in mind as being touched by a slight Xasthur influence in their bleak out of key refrain. The vocals are ghostly and tortured . The machine leading the charge is but a time keeping twitch beneath the sound canvased atop it. When in the right mood, this album and bands like Cold Crypt do indeed have their place, but there is so much of it out there available for consumption, a band executing this style better bring something special to the table.
Bearing the Light is competent and even enjoyable on occasion, but CC haven’t introduced anything new or noteworthy other than a moment of nostalgic appreciation for sole member Raze’s efforts. I guess I’d rather be punished by Passage D’Hiver.” -Marty
Package includes 4-panel digipak and grinder with Cold Crypt logo.
Free shipping in the U.S.A.
1. For those that have never heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about the musical project?
Cold Crypt is a one man metal project that concentrates more on the atmospheric side of black metal rather than the fast paced-hail Satan side, its much more industrial now then it was in the beginning and in my opinion far more haunting.
2.How would you describe the musical sound that has been present on all of the recordings that you have put out so far?
Each release has been quite unique in its own way really, the first release (Devil May Scream) was a very standard style of black metal and the following album (Darkest Symphonies) kind of expanded on that with more synth and vocal experimenting.
the split album and the latest release (Bearing The Light) are the best of what the project has to offer so far, it would be a waste of time trying to describe it, you’ll just have to listen to it and find out for yourself.
3.Can you tell us a little bit more about the lyrical content of the music?
The lyrics have always been about madness, negative emotions and exposing faith in a heaven as a fairytale fantasy, Bearing The Light is a concept album meant to remind people of the witch hunts in religious history and hopefully shed light on the madness of the church.
4.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name Cold Crypt?
Actually in the beginning the project was called Cold Veins, I just wanted a name that no one else had used and was able to reflect the feel of the music, but one day I was stuck in traffic next to one of the many old graveyards near my home and by just staring out the window at all those graves the name Cold Crypt entered my mind, it sounded so much more morbid and chilling then the original name so I changed it.
5.With this musical project you work all solo, do you have this gives you more room to be creative?
To be honest I just hate relying on other people for things, they would just slow me down and try to change the music in a way that seems shitty and over used by others, that’s why I use a drum machine half of the time because I don’t want to have any one else in on this project. Half of the songs in Cold Crypt have real drums played by me and the other half programmed drums.
6.A few months back you put out a split album with Smorg, what are your thoughts on the other musical project that that was involved?
Smorg is a great band, it has punk, grindcore and black metal all rolled into one. The style has become a lot more like grindcore these days and in my opinion the quality of the music is improving with each release, some people seem to pick holes in the crusted rehearsal like quality of the recording they do but I think that just makes them sound more old school so hopefully they wont change that.
7.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of black metal?
So far the response has been pretty positive actually as far as I can tell there has been only had one bad review at this time so that’s good enough for me.
8.What is going on with your other musical project these days?
Marahkain has got a lot in the pipeline, we have a split album, a single and a full length album all lined up, we are also preparing to try a new sound but its just trying to find time to do it that’s the problem, I’m always busy and so is Khalvst Ov Mhurn.
9.What direction do you see your music heading into on future releases?
Well I’m currently working on a new and more mechanized album called Utter Contempt For Life which will hopefully be released late 2014, the album artwork has unfortunately already leaked on to the fucking internet so its there for anyone who’s interested.
10.What are some bands or musical styles that have influenced your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
The bands that influence me the most are Fear Factory, Xasthur, The Berzerker, Nosvrolok, Leviathan and Striborg. The album that actually pushed me to try and make my own music was Leviathans Tentacles of Whorror. Right now I’m listening to Lunar Auroras album Hoagascht.
11.Outside of music what are some of your interests?
Well I’ve recently become a father so that takes up most of my time but whenever its not family or music I just play video games.
12.Any final words or thoughts before we wrap up this interview?
Yeah if you like a band then buy a CD, don’t be a prick and go looking for torrents.
Posted on OccultBlackMetalZine
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