THE BEST OF US BLEED
As a fan of both death metal and Cryptopsy, I have to question why this band, or any other death metal band for that matter, would even bother with a greatest hits release that is fleshed out with live tracks and demos. Especially a band with years on them like Cryptopsy. I wonder specifically about the demo inclusion for any band like this. Let's face it, as a fan of death metal over the last 20 years, we've all learned to accept some pretty demo sounding music in these types of band's actual releases. To say the least, so many great death metal albums had terrible sound to begin with, so hearing songs even more poorly recorded or before they were fleshed out really has no appeal to me. Additionally, Cryptopsy is one such band that's had some dodgy sounding material in the past, so hearing this music contrasted against a few new recordings really points that out as well.
So let's not go there. Let's say this - for all the previously recorded material featured on this disc, if you liked them in the past you will dig remember these brutal slabs of insanity. As technical death metal goes, Cryptopsy is one of the best and have been for years. Early songs like "Slit Your Guts" remind you of their brutality from a day gone by. Let's focus though on the new tunes that are provided here. They are a mixed bag, here. "A Graceful Demise" might feature the fastest drumming I've ever heard in my life, courtesy of Flo Mounier. The lone original member left, Mounier has always been ridiculous as a drummer and he continues to be today. This song, along with "Boden" showcase that there's a lot of death left in Cryptopsy. Vocalist Matt McGachy barks out lyrics at hyperspeed throughout. The song is also enhanced by what has to be considered the best studio production this band has ever had.
Sadly though, it doesn't last long. For whatever reason, the band decided to take a stab at covering the brilliant Strapping Young Lad song "Oh My Fucking God". What a disaster! There's a brilliance to SYL that others should just get. Clearly Cryptopsy doesn't realize that. Where the Strapping Young Lad tune has a great deal of flavor in it's brutality, Cryptopsy's lame attempt here to just make it faster and more death metal-like is a complete and total failure. McGachy sort of tries his best Devin Townsend impression, but it really doesn't work at all here. To put it bluntly, this is a monumental misfire from the band.
PITRIFF RATING - 60/100 - I guess if you've never heard Cryptopsy this might have value. Given how much improvement has gone on in not only recording as a practice but specifically in the recording of bands like Cryptopsy, THE BEST OF US BLEED really just accentuates the uneven recorded sound this band has had from release to release. It's actually a fairly tough listen as the production quality of the songs bounces around so much here. Love the band, but I'll stick to listening to WHISPER SUPREMACY or AND THEN YOU'LL BEG in their entirety. Overall, THE BEST OF US BLEED is fairly unnecessary.