Reviewed: April 2021
Released: 2021, Transcending Obscurity
Reviewer: Kira Levine
Lithuania’s death metallers Crypts Of Despair have followed up their 2017 debut album Stench Of The Earth with their latest All Light Swallowed, which will be released on April 23rd this year through Transcending Obscurity Records. The cover artwork is by Néstor Ávalos, who has previously been commissioned by bands such as Rotting Christ, Hecate Enthroned, and Bloodbath.
First up is ‘Being – Erased’. The guitarist (D.A.) and bassist (S.J.) share the vocal duties throughout All Light Swallowed, their high screams and low growls opposing each other and matching the growing intensity of the instrumentation as this particular track progresses. As with several of the following songs, there is much going on and every additional listen reveals another hidden element.
Dramatic yet slow at times, with tension-building pauses preceding chaotic moments, “Anguished Exhale” contains a lot of surprises that unnerve as much as they intrigue. It has the tough job of following up “Being – Erased”, yet still manages to be pretty memorable by the end of the whole album.
“Choked by the Void” features some squealing guitar work reminiscent of old school death, with the overall songwriting painting a perfect audible picture of the song title.
At less than three-and-a half minutes long, “Condemned to Life” still packs a great punch with its sinister atmospheric vibe. Leading with the deeper vocals, the high-pitched riffs make a return here, in a more complex and melodic fashion this time round.
“Synergy of Suffering” sees the delivery of lyrics from D.A. and S.J. seem slightly less polarised, the vocals sounding a little more similar here than during the songs before. H.M.’s drumming alternates between a shattering stampede to steady gallop, commanding the speed of the volatile offering midway through All Light Swallowed.
S.J. and H.M. from the rhythm section absolutely kill it during “The Great End”. There is something about the way the line “madness is just the beginning… of my transformation!” is delivered that is truly gripping, and what comes next reveals exactly why. A false ending might trick one into thinking they have escaped “The Great End,” but they would be sorely mistaken.
Twists and turns in “Disgust” see Crypts Of Despair play with tempo once again, with yet another “disgusting” duet from the two vocalists. The slow outro gives off a sense of foreboding, haunting the listener for almost a minute and a half.
“Excruciating Weight” is as heavy and as crushing as the title suggests, following a more formulaic death metal style than most other songs, with less instrumental breaks and ambient parts.
Starting with what sounds like a woman’s scream and then laboured breathing, “Bleak View” feels more like an album introduction or even an interlude track, therefore a bit out-of-place as an album closer. It does create a disturbing mood that’s goes with the rest of the album, although quite oddly placed at the end.
The old school death metal get-up is an supersaturated one nowadays, with a multitude of musicians influenced by bands that formed as far back as the 80s, but it seems that Crypts Of Despair’s Lithuanian origins have given them a much-welcomed unique flair that is ever-present on All Light Swallowed. For fans of Anaal Nathkrakh, Belphegor, Gorguts, and Immolation.
1. Being – Erased
2. Anguished Exhale
3. Choked by the Void
4. Condemned to Life
5. Synergy of Suffering
6. The Great End
8. Excruciating Weight
9. Bleak View
Dovydas “D.A.” Auglys – guitar, vocals
Benas “B.J.” Juskus – guitar
Simonas “S.J” Jurkevicius – bass, vocals
Henri “H.M.” Mall – drums