All Music & Subba Cultcha: Album Reviews “Crypts”
“Applying a Newtonian mindset to music, former These Arms Are Snakes frontman Steve Snere, weary of the guitar-based rock world, formed electronic trio Crypts with programmer Bryce Brown and visual artist Nick Bartoletti to blast an opposite but equally powerful reaction to the 2010s rock revival. Eschewing the post-hardcore sensibilities of These Arms Are Snakes, Snere and company instead take inspiration from ’80s industrial and goth sounds, combining harsh aggression and cold gloom with dramatic, visceral vocals. In place of a six-string are Brown’s home-modified synths and drum machines that build an ominous, all-consuming atmosphere of thick noise, subsonic bass, and glitching beats. Produced by Erik Blood (Shabazz Palaces), Crypts unearths the creeping paranoia of Alan Howarth-style synth gunk (“Completely Fucked”), the droning desperation of early-’80s Cure (“Territories”), and the nihilistic intensity of late-’80s Ministry (“Fancy”), only letting up with moments of skittering, Southern hip-hop-influenced rhythms (“Daft”). Crypts deal in musical entropy, and their sound is primed for the ultimate end-of-the-world party.” - by Chyrsta Cherrie for All Music
“There is no shortage of quality new music available from ex-members of influential post-hardcore troupe These Arms are Snakes. Bassist Brian Cook is one-third of Russian Circles, arguably the finest post-rock band on the planet right now, and guitarist Ryan Frederiksen is part of sludge kings Narrows. Meanwhile vocalist Steve Snere has just unveiled the debut album of his new project Crypts…and it is safe to say it may not be quite what you would expect.
These Arms are Snakes were happy to tear up the rulebook but Crypts take those experimental tendencies to a whole new level. This self-titled debut album is a bit like what Nine Inch Nails might have sounded like if Trent had continued further down the dark path of “The Downward Spiral” and “The Fragile”, yet it is by no means an unoriginal album. This album is still oddly reminiscent of Snere’s previous project by means of its chaotic atmosphere, but its musical content is capable of veering impressively between dark, claustrophobic rhythms and soaring refrains such as that present on penultimate track “Bloods”. Programmer Bryce Brown, responsible for the disarming array of electronics that makes up the Crypts sound, clearly has a passion for synth-pop as well as for dark industrial noise.
“Crypts” is certainly not an easy ride. Opener “Completely Fucked” perhaps works as much for a description as to how you will feel after listening to the album as anything else. With even the more melodic moments having a disorientating element of drone to them, this record will confuse you as much as it will amuse you. In fact, it is entirely possible that even after a dozen listens you will still have no idea if you actually like it or not. Strange this may be, hard to love it may equally be, but it is a brave and intriguing record first and foremost, and for that it deserves great credit. ” - by Benjamin Bland