Odious Mortem - Official Website

Cryptic Implosion

United States Country of Origin: United States

1. Fragmented Oblivion
2. The Endless Regression Of Mind
3. Dysmorphic Avulsion
4. Vile Progeny
5. Conjoint Species
6. Nux Vomica
7. Gestation Of Worms
8. Subcortical Desiccation
9. Domain Of The Eternal Paradox
10. Collapse Of Recreation

Review by Nathan on January 6, 2022.

Odious Mortem is the Misery Index of the Cali tech death scene. All of their core members have some past connection to Decrepit Birth, the more popular face of the subgenre - much the same way everyone in Misery Index was in Dying Fetus at one point. The only member that doesn't have a past connection (the vocalist) was also in Severed Savior. As such, they tend to get shuffled off to the side a bit. They're the kind of band that will always get mentioned when someone is listing off artists in this specific little sub-style of tech, but no one ever seems to list them as their favorite. I'm here today to tell you why time will only solidify Cryptic Implosion as a tech death classic.

Cryptic Implosion is a perfect example of what this style can and should be. Where Decrepit Birth went further and further into the "Sound Of Perseverance"-era Death-isms such as adding abstractly melodic, walking guitar lines to give a more airy and high-minded feel, Odious Mortem add traces of that more breathing and open-form melody without diluting the Suffocation influence. The end result is something that's got all of the garnishes and noodles that made this stuff turn heads, while still having substantial meat. It's really riffy tech death, one of few albums that can pull from the same spastic, acrobatic realms that Spawn Of Possession does. Both bands inch the genre into more complex and daring territories by integrating involved fretwork into low-end brutal death metal riffing, splicing those sections together with jarring, yet tightly performed tempo shifts, which constantly keeps you on your toes. Even though songs are structured in a salad-spinning scramble of guitars, Cryptic Implosion still flows naturally and organically. There's definitely a hint of Deeds Of Flesh in there - the sheer intricacy and multiple of motifs in a song might whiz past you in a somewhat unmemorable blur, but there's never a moment where you're not thoroughly involved in what's going on. All the transitions that would have been jarring in another band are smoothed out by the mechanically tight yet breathing drum performance.

Speaking of that - KC Howard, man. What a dude. The moment I realized this guy was special was when I first heard his work on "Diminishing Between Worlds", which is a monumentally important album for me in terms of shaping my taste and getting me into tech-death - and he's a huge part of what makes that album drop my jaw. When you realize that album was more of a side venture and Odious Mortem appears to be his main band, it makes you way more excited for what you hear on Cryptic Implosion, and he delivers all the goods and then some. His stamina is unreal - he uses stops and speed changes in high velocity footwork to create a rise and fall, and his sense of syncopation and backbeat placement gives the riffs a hearty punch. He's not all drum chops and nothing else, though. Howard is also given songwriting credits for half of Cryptic Implosion, and also performed guitars (in addition to drums) on Synesthesia the follow up to this. Based on how easily this album flows, it stands to reason that Howard understands tech death riffs better than most tech death guitarists! Simply put, he's an absolute monster, and Decrepit Birth just wasn't the same when he left. Cryptic Implosion being half as good as it is is entirely due to his work. This is right in the middle of his peak, too - between 2006 and 2010, he was untouchable.

I can't tell the tracks on this apart, but it doesn't matter in the slightest. If anything, it speaks to the album's consistency, because you can fire Cryptic Implosion up at any point and immediately get locked into the roulette wheel of brutality. This is one of those releases that people looked at in the as confirmation that death metal had, indeed, turned into something different than it was in the 90s. There was a small, exciting window of time where music like this was the flagship of the next generation of modern brutal death, and for a brief 30 minutes, Odious Mortem lets you relive that era. Even 15 years later, this album feels like it's opening a door to a treasure trove of new ideas and themes - back when this came out, it would have felt even more novel and fresh because The Artisan Era didn't yet have an entire label of bands with the same musical tropes. Cryptic Implosion is more representative of the Cali tech death style than Deeds Of Flesh themselves, which is saying something considering members of DOF founded the first label Odious Mortem was signed to. If you were only allowed to listen to one technical death metal album in order to get a substantial understanding of the genre, Cryptic Implosion would be my first and only choice.

Rating: 8.9 out of 10