Crypt of Kerberos
World of Myths
When death metal first hit (and, yes, some will consider this the second wave) I thought that once 1991 had come and passed, that everything had been done. That our high-topped heroes had pushed death metal as far as humanly possible. Hindsight year 20/22 shows me how wrong I was. But even back then I would occasionally run into a band that created a new sound out of left field and Crypt of Kerberos were one of these paradigm shifters. And sometimes it took the right label name on the back to look past a photo of a plasma ball on the cover of World of Myths.
I had just caught up with the visions and sounds of bands such as Entombed and Dismember, got into some of the early tech bands coming from the U.S. and Canada whereas to that point I thought that James Murphy’s solos on Cause of Death and Spiritual Healing would be as professional as the scene would get—and here was a band that combined all of the above with ease whilst adding the domains of classic, progressive as well as creating strange soundscapes in place of the usual arrangements.
And to push the envelope and therefore straining my tolerance even further they had clean vocals in the mix, a big no-no for the time and us fans. Heck, I was still trying to get used to Louis Panzer’s wibbly-wobbly keyboards on The Key—most of my friends couldn’t even stand The Key because of its keys alone.
Effortlessness was exclusive to the band though. From World of Myths’ start, I was hit with Nocturnus-like shredding, only for it to quickly turn into a Gorement-like state of dreams followed by pummeling white knuckle Swedish death. With each listen, I couldn’t believe that most songs clocked in under four minutes—they seemed like elaborate, lengthy masterpieces, each one of them captivating.
This album is a roller coaster built in a time when a straight line was the fastest way of connecting two points whilst composing a death metal song. It is avant-garde executed by the first guard, there was not a thing like it at the time and this record remains unmatched to this day in my humble opinion. Yes, the album is less savage than their demo and their 7-inch—the production is light(er)—yet it hits like a Vulcan death grip instead of a caveman club.
The drums serve the songs, not sickdrummer.com banner click rates, is a true gem and a blessing in disguise. I am a simple man. I often find myself listening to the new age of brootal tech death yearning for Martin “Kiddie” Kearns. Yes, most would argue—with a point—that prog-tech drumming would have made it more insane, and I do respect that. But I got a simple mind. Few are the bands who write the most complicated stuff in a very musical way—Death for sure come to mind, but Crypt of Kerberos belong in these files and ranks, and I feel that the song-serving drumming is part of the recipe.
And so it does all assorts eclectically between the old Swedish ways of Death and Pan.Thy.Monium madness, classic arrangements will follow chin-first headbanging parts without challenge, conjuring cleans unheard before come after Xysma growls. Each time you believe to have figured out the fabric of their craft, the band will buck with ease, leaving you with a smile in the process. There is scarcely a “I saw this riff coming” moment, these songs were crafted by a band in a rehearsal room and the passion and interconnection of its members oozes out of the patina-encrusted record sleeve.
As for the impact on me as a fan, it readied my ears for the next 30 years to come, opened my mind like the Gathering had done with Always… just a year before. A further quality these two releases had in common was the choice of photo art, this one done by Alain Bivel, for the cover instead of the expected Dan Seagrave-ism, only adding to the enchantment and novelty. What was once a weird turn-off for most, is now a staple of this release.
This album reissue is still available for a very reasonable price on CD. The original press will cost you a penny more, but it’s recommended should you want the original cover art. For us vinyl fanatics there is the amazing MCMXCI – MCMXCIII vinyl box set done by The Crypt in 2010, but only few are for sale on Discogs at any given time, if any. And at a premium.
This is not quite classic death metal “the ancient way” as Wannes Gubbels would say, but I bet Wannes is a fan of this release, nonetheless. In 2010 they were said to have come back from the dead and to have signed with Pulverized, but it seems that other than the re-release on CD nothing came from it, the 2012 follow-up album to World of Myths that drummer Mattias Borgh had announced in an interview never saw the light of the full moon. It all remained a world of myths.