Album Title: Disgusting Zombie Metal
Record Label: EVP Recordings
Release Date: 26 August 2016
Review by Mitch Alexander
It’s always hard for me to review “retrospectives”. I’m not sure where I got it from or why I can’t seem to shake it, but I have a distinct and unshakeable distaste for the old. I don’t like old movies as much as newer ones, I’ve never enjoyed metal released before 1994, and I can’t even enjoy pre-Renaissance art as much as I’d like to because for Christ’s sake, people don’t look that flat and why can’t you get your perspectives and distances right?
It’s not even to do with thematic considerations or stylistic choices; I just have a visceral response whenever I’m reminded that production used to suck. Old films put me on edge because of the crappy acting and poor cinematography, not because their views on race or sexuality are… dated. Likewise with metal; the first time I enjoyed a Black Sabbath song was on a live recording from an early 2000’s Ozzfest, where it sounded all clear and nice.
All of this is said to let you know my bias coming into Crypt’s triple album re-release, Disgusting Zombie Metal, a package advertised as “compiling all of the bands material from 1994-2000”, containing material released between 1994 and 1998. Those two facts are mere sentences apart in the press release.
Oddly enough, this package made me re-think my stance on “old” music. Given I’m a fan of the “so bad, it’s good, and totally on purpose you guys” production of bands like The Armed, Trap Them, Nails and the rest, I think if I didn’t know Disgusting Zombie Metal contained remixes and remasters of songs from two decades ago, I could probably be convinced this was a contemporary homage to yesteryear, and the petulant boob in me would have quietened down.
All credit to Crypt, these songs are pure and proficient dollops of old school death, on par with anything released in the early 90s, international or Australian. If you come from that era and have the hankering to shove some more of it down your ear pipes, this release will be perfect. But for someone like me, who has access to Rings Of Saturn, 2015 Cannibal Corpse, and Pro Tools plug-ins, I think this dilapidated and rotting ship has sailed.
Everything I’m about to say can be taken either positively or negatively; you know what you like, and you’ll take what you like from it. The guitars are that grinding, mid-range roar that manages to sound paper-thin and clear while also having some bite and ferocity; the vocals are the delightfully wet type of bellowed death growls that can sometimes be so low the overtones makes it sound like a screech. The riffs are quick, dirty and metal, the type of 80s denim jacket beer-spew-in-the-car-park metal that’s been undoubtedly seared into your memory at some point or another.
The drums are… well the drums are annoying to me. I grew up on nu-metal, so I like me those fat beats and heavy grooves, and try as I might I still cannot get into those tap-a-tap-a-tapper death drums, those of the constant ride, weak hi-hats, and zero syncopation. That said, what I freaking love about the drums on all three of these CDs is that they sound real, like they were actually played by a drummer that can actually play his parts. All the little quirks and intensity peaks and valleys are beautiful to listen to.
Overall, I’m glad I heard this set of songs, because every track is a solid chunk of old school death metal of a high quality. I’m just not sure if I’d ever listen to them all again. But that’s because I’m of the wrong era, and an upstart little punk to boot. If you already knew who Crypt was in their heyday, then you’re gonna love this package. It’s filthy and gory and surprisingly timeless (a lot of these riffs, if re-recorded, could make it onto a Cannibal Corpse album today, without a doubt). And even though I’m not the person this is aimed at, I do kinda feel like I missed something glorious from back in the day. And damned if I’m not stoked to have learned that 20 years ago, my hometown of Brisbane was producing world class quality death metal.