Released: Nove, Metal Blade Records
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
As German thrash metal band Cripper are set to release their fourth studio release; 'Hyena', since their formation in 2006, they have turned up the gain for what they describe as their heaviest album to date. Momentum for this five piece originating from Hannover is gathering pace as they spread like a disease, attracting repeated attention from some of Europe's biggest festivals. This is pure thrash in its essence, yet an enthralling mix of older values and modern playing techniques, culminating in a razor-sharp record that demands to be counted.
The drawn out, almost haunting opening quickly explodes with a relentless intensity that is sustained throughout the record. The simplistic but pounding rhythm overlaid with intricate guitar work shifts and changes direction with ease and yet loses none of it's pace or aggression and contains a flurry of nuance over a brutish core. Despite being, at times, draped with brilliance, the album would be lacking the ferociousness that lies in the heart of it's successes without the gravelly powerhouse on the mic; female front-man Britta Gortz. Often found to be savage and horrifying, the real feel of dominance that the sound emanates largely comes from her accompanied by the music, rather than the other way around. With the exception of some spoken word sections, its a raspy and commanding vocalisation, enviable to many of her peers in the genre, that drags everything forward with thunderous disdain.
At the fore is a tech-metal masterclass, which unapologetically sets out with the sole intention of giving even the most hardened metal fan some degree of repetitive strain injury. It's as if the band has enveloped its nation's aptitude for technical brilliance and formulated it into a metal record. This is the kind of organised insanity that causes circle pits to erupt spontaneously. Where other bands falter in this aim with all-out aggression that has all the listenabilty of an earthquake emanating white noise, 'Hyena' has been blessed with some great production and that really highlights the sum of its parts with clarity and distinction. The satisfaction comes from hearing a groove that's organic in nature over deafening blast beats just for the sake of it. Each segment stands apart in it's own right, and comes together to become something greater.
While what that band have crafted here is a keen affirmation of a sound that is their own, as the album goes on, this does begin to work against them to an extent. A lot of the songs become quite interchangeable and there are only a few moments where they begin to demonstrate any real diversity. It takes some quite intent listening to pick everything apart but that's not to say you can't enjoy this album passively to appreciate the overall sound. It would be nice to see them having broke up the pace a little more as opposed to more relentlessly
Their live performances have obviously given then a reputation that they are a force to be reckoned with. With this release, next year should be a big one for them, even more-so if they can attract the attention from festivals here in the UK. Clearly the direction that they are heading on is the right one and they are most likely just shy of the recognition they need to take themselves to the next step.