Nanobot’s Album Reviews Greg’s Take & Clay’s Take on Crypts
GREG’S TAKE ON CRYPTS
Over the course of film history there have been post-apocalyptic stories that some perceive as predictions of our future, maybe even foreshadowing. Mostly they’re hyped up views of California falling into the ocean or mutants running wild. Though some people’s cranial capacity may make an argument for the latter, we’re just not there. Rarely do any of these visions speak to the musical post-apocalypse.
Now is a good time to tell you I am not saying we’re about to discuss zombie-laden musical approach to a futuristic vision; but rather a view of how rock may be fading like some sci-fi power outage storyline. Some may argue Rock has reached its apocalypse, or in the very least jumped the proverbial shark. I’ll leave that up to you. For Seattle based Crypts, they packed up their shit and hit the musical road to find self-salvation away from the burning city of rock.
This is not some glammed up robotic approach to desolate musical wastelands. Crypts (Steve Snere, Bryce Brown and Nick Bartoletti) is an audible imagery of a punk world launched into a chaotic, synth-riddled future of mind blowing proportions. The trio’s self-titled eight track debut is like a shot of Jolt Cola straight into your bloodstream. The energetic musical language is more like a digital aftershock to a post-apocalyptic Mars Volta. Fittingly enough they’ll be joining The Omar Rodriguez-Lopez Group for a handful of west coast dates, a pairing that should not be missed.
Complex and borderline psychotically paced, Crypts draw you in to their artistic approach to an already abstract sound. One that, if put to Fallout or Resident Evil, would feel like it was made specifically for that world. Crypts are as hard as The Prodigy and their fans falsely believed they were. Dark electronic beats, layers of synth dancing among Snere’s range of vocals paint a landscape vast and unrelenting. Beginning with “Completely F**ked” there is no leisurely burn-in period given to adapt to Crypts. You’re either on board or you’re trampled by their fierce sound. As the album progresses, notably through “Fancy” and “Smut” (the latter reminiscent of Roger Waters, if he’d been coming into the scene in today’s world) Crypts establishes themselves confidently. Topping off the truly unique experience, “Sleazy” comes in it at nearly five minutes with its digitized macabre corridors.
Masterfully produced, even better than I could have imagined it could be, Crypts is a deeply dark and addicting 33 minutes. Where there is all the potential for them to simply fall in line with sounds crafted by Rammstein and the like, they stand apart. Easily one of the most genre expanding, original sounds I’ve heard in a long time. Snere, Brown and Bartoletti paint the cobwebs of your subconscious with precisely what they want and there isn’t a damn thing you can do about it. You simply have to bow down to the post-apocalyptic film they paint in your mind and hope you aren’t left out of their foreshadowing vision.
CLAY’S TAKE ON CRYPTS
The first word that comes to mind when trying to describe Crypts is “dirty.” Or “filthy,” or “grimy,” or how about just plain “fucking awesome.” I usually try and keep it classy on the internet, but as much as I have struggled with the words for this record, I drift around the first three words, but always come back to the first two.
So what specifically makes it so awesome? Because lots of things are awesome: paper planes, beer, sunrises, my old cat, Doctor Who.
A man who is wiser than I intimated once that we are destined to eternally love the music stylings we were exposed to between the ages of thirteen and eighteen. Industrial and the meteoric rise of electronic music fall specifically in that wheelhouse for me, so I am an impartial reviewer, but hell, who isn’t? While I may be transitioning to more traditional rock ‘n’ roll as my 20s shrink in the rear view mirror, I have an incredibly soft spot for well done industrial.
Hey, guess what the Crypts fall into? I knew I was in trouble the moment that I read that the trio consisted of former These Arms Are Snakes front man Steve Snere, programmer Bryce Brown, and visual artist Nick Bartoletti. Again, the band has three members and one of them is a visual artist. A visual artist. Visual artist. Visual. Artist. I still don’t know how to wrap my brain around that.
But it doesn’t matter. Nor does it matter that in 34 minutes, Steve Snere joined the “What the Hell Are They Singing?” pantheon currently inhabited by Eddie Vedder on “Yellow Ledbetter” and Stevie Nicks on practically every song she sings. His tenor is bombastic at times like in “Smut” or digitally filtered in “Fancy” or “Bloods” but is made for this music. Plus, Brown’s melodies cover all of the pathos that I cannot decipher from lyrics, and he adds some of the dirtiest hip hop beats ever to cross over into a musical genre that usually bring up images of rivets, electrical tape and Trent Reznor. Sometimes all you need is a good producer.
“Filthy” or “fucking awesome,” this album is far from perfect, but its timing could not be better, as it was released this month on Sargent House. The carbon-scored darkness is perfect for the cold and grey winter, for turning in on inner demons, or as it turns out: getting in the zone and cranking out Excel spreadsheets. Put in your earbuds, get angry, and love yourself some Crypts this fall and winter.