Cryptopsy headline London Deathfest, @ Camden Underworld." />
 
"I Don't Give a Fuck If You Hate Me"
Cryptopsy headline London Deathfest, @ Camden Underworld, London, June 7th, 2008
by: Paul Schwarz
Just so we're clear from the start: our subtitle is taken from the T-shirt worn by Eric Langlois (see this link for CoC-approved picture -- also includes photos of the whole day by L. Legge). Doubtless not chosen without at least a second thought, the overall import of this defiant statement is hard to gauge in the context of the set Cryptopsy ultimately deliver, in their allotted hour. If the statement speaks for Langlois personally, it seems unnecessarily defensive; surely even the Internet doesn't harbour more than a couple of people nutty and uninformed enough to blame the brilliantly talented bassist for the slide in the quality of recorded Cryptopsy material, which recently hit a truly nauseating nadir with _The Unspoken King_? If it speaks for the band who played tonight's gig, it is belied by their set. Indeed, Cryptopsy's very appearance onstage as a five-piece -- suspiciously sans the female keyboardist, whose presence was so prominently trumpeted in press releases leading up to the release of _TUK_ -- hinted at what was to come.

Establishing itself with half a dozen classics made famous during the ultra-influential, ultra-brutal and, frankly, utterly awesome mid-period of Cryptopsy's history -- when Mike DiSalvo was still serving, to adoring onlookers in leathers and long shorts alike, the new testament of death metal (later arguably homogenised into what many know as 'deathcore' today); when the writing genius of guitar wizard Jon Levasseur still provided a vital balance to Flo and Eric's immense rhythm section undulations -- tonight's set starts with "Crown of Horns", inclusive of sampled introduction. Its final words mouthed menacingly by their latest frontman, Matt McGachy -- probably the best onstage persona Cryptopsy have had fronting them aside from DiSalvo, though not even Lord Worm's superior vocally: even during his second stretch (when he was, by his own admission, only in it for the money) Worm didn't fall back on doing every vocal in the Cryptopsy back catalogue as a muted pig grunt -- this introduction successfully warms up the eager and largely severely drunk crowd (today's event started at two and pubs opened before that, let's remember) into a state of heightened anticipation.

Were we being prepped for a set of oldies which would leave the latest, lamest Cryptopsy disc completely out of account? Well -yes-, but by accident rather than design. With about twenty minutes to go, the singer guy announces, "a new song that's gonna be on MTV". The room goes tense as sound gremlins hold up proceedings for three or so minutes; we are urged to "keep the energy levels up, people!"; and then, but ten seconds after, the word "Defenestration" triggers a final barrage of blastingly good, old shit -- including a room-shaking, mega-mosh-inducing rendition of "Slit Your Guts" -- and Cryptopsy close off with a predictable, powerful encore of "Phobophile".

Undeniably, tonight's was a great set: when you have five people up on a stage who can actually -play- Cryptopsy's best material without technically dropping a beat (a feat which is, commendably, achieved tonight) there's a certain degree to which you simply cannot go wrong. When you have the rhythm section who helped originate that material, you're sailing. Nonetheless, polled experts agreed: walking out after "Phobophile", it was impossible to shake the feeling that you'd just been to see 'Back To The Worms': a very talented Cryptopsy covers band to be sure, but one who, for all their stunning technical virtues, did not throb with the passion, poise and tension driven by kinetic energy which characterised the magical DiSalvo era.

Since Mike and Jon are now reportedly working together on music again and the only reason drummer Flo Mounier (who doubtless owns the name) can allegedly give for not reuniting with them is that they don't really get on (cry me a river, to quote The Bat), the answer to Cryptopsy's problems seems obvious and simple to arrange. Indeed, since Lord Worm seems to be the only person who has ever been in Cryptopsy 'for the money', this would seem to be a problem which could even be fixed without anyone having to leave. Oh please, death metal santa, make our dreams come true!

(article submitted 11/6/2008)


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