Cryptodira – “The Devil’s Despair” Album Review

Cryptodira – “The Devil’s Despair” (Good Fight Music)
By: Brian Campbell


Employing the familiar prog-metal methodologies of Between the Buried and Me and The Human Abstract, and perhaps even Candiria to some extent, Cryptodira ticks most of the boxes that genre fans look for on their latest release “The Devil’s Despair.” Chaotic arpeggios, rapidly swelling crescendos that rain down at a moment’s notice, disjointed riffs, unpredictable time signatures and destructive vocals that pivot from growling barks to melodiously clean at the drop of a dime make up the lion’s share of “The Devil’s Despair” (“Medusa Misgendered,” “The Gods of Epicurus,” “The Fascist’s Phantasy”).

For the most part, “The Devil’s Despair” plods along, delivering a number of decent enough entries over the course of its 47 minutes (“Longing Belonging” is a welcomed break from the rest of the album thanks to lush atmospherics, a period of punishing breakdowns and melodic tones, vocalist Scott Acquavella shines on the standout bulldozer “In Hell as on Earth”). The album is bookmarked by a pair of two part tracks in “Constituted,” a true showcase of Acquavella’s range and sheer ability to deliver both crushing bars and blissful melody (“Constituted: I. Constitutum,” “Constituted: II. Constituens”) and “Negation Consumes,” the latter of which provides a memorable album highlight as a female voice joins Acquavella on “Negation Consumes Affirmation,” making for a wonderful light-dark vocal dynamic. That same female voice returns for a cameo on album closer “Negation Consumes Itself,” perhaps the albums heaviest, and best, track that clocks in at over seven minutes. There’s nothing wrong with saving the best for last.

While “The Devil’s Despair,” a plenty good record in its own right, shows potential, it isn’t quite near the level of its genre predecessors. But if “The Devil’s Despair” proves nothing else, it proves Cryptodira certainly has the chops to make a name for themselves.

Track List:

1. “Neutralization”
2. Constituted: I. Constitutum
3. Constituted: II. Constituens
4. Medusa Misgendered
5. The Gods of Epicurus
6. Longing Belonging
7. In Hell As On Earth
8. The Fascist’s Phantasy
9. Negation Consumes Affirmation
10. Negation Consumes Itself

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