Saturday, March 16, 2019

interview: Crypteria

Check out this interview the U.S. death metal squad Crypteria. The drums are big, heavy-hitting type of drumming; the guitars are heavy, sometimes chugging bit time; and the vocals are low, gruff growling. They have the self-titled debut album out now, and they were gracious with this publication in responding to the questions. Remember to jump into the death metal action by hearing for yourself the album at the link at the end of this interview.
Is Crypteria based in Jacksonville, Florida? Is it correct that the album is the debut, but the band started way back in 2006, right? Did you do some demos before?
Yes, we are based in Jacksonville, but our drummer lives in Orlando and our vocalist is in Palatka. Since we are spread out a bit, individual practicing becomes extra important, since we can’t jam together as a band as frequently as we’d like. We are becoming more technologically adept also.
We did form in 2006 but had some issues and personnel changes that resulted in a series of hiatuses. It hasn’t been easy but we are now stronger than ever. The constant factor through the ups and downs is that the drummer and guitar player have been jamming together this whole time.
We recorded a demo with Sam Rivers (of Limp Bizkit) and another with Stan Martell. Now that Kevin is in the band, we record at his studio. The album was a mix of updated older songs and our newer material; we tracked it at Kevin’s studio and then shipped it to Denmark for Jacob Hansen to mix and master.
Who are the members of the band in 2019?
The current line-up is the same one on the album: Bobby Warner on vocals; Rex Kirkland on drums; Kevin McCombs on bass, and Austin Burleigh on guitar.
The album is about 32 minutes and you keep the 12 songs compact and direct. It’s like you know that many of us don’t have long attention spans!
You are right! We don’t care much for repetition and we love the variety and recognize that listeners don’t always have long attention spans. I think Slayer’s Reign in Blood was a serious influence when it comes to short, intense songs. Too much repetition can dilute the intensity of the music and lose the interest of the listener. As an aside, some of our new, yet-to-be-recorded material includes some longer songs.
Do you see Crypteria exclusively as brutal death metal? It seems that, if you wanted to, you could add more melody, but you specifically don’t want that. Is this true? “Immersed in Emptiness” and “Samsara” are two songs in which you show that you are able to do melody. I keep thinking with “Samsara” you guys said: Let’s tease the people with a few seconds of melody, and then BOOM! back to the heaviness!
I really appreciate your comments on “Samsara” you figured it out! That’s the effect we were going for. We wanted a more experimental, somewhat melodic chorus that would contrast with the driving verses and more aggressive parts of the song. Plus, I felt that the melodic open chords (which are highly unusual in our genre) were more aligned with the sense of the lyrics. I think you intuitively picked up on how when I write the riffs and “hear” the vocals over them, I actually hear vocal melodies, but since our genre doesn’t include melodic vocals, the guitar and bass must compensate. When I refined the guitar parts on “Immersed in Emptiness” I tried to provide a guitar-driven melody that would drive the more textural vocals, if that makes sense. In general, we like melodic vocals (rock and blues, for instance) but don’t feel that they really fit our genre, despite our trying to approximate melodies at the time, though the vocal style doesn’t fully allow for it. On our next batch of recordings, we will have more layers of harmonized guitars (on certain sections) that should add depth.
What do you call your music? You do some of the really heavy chugging and breakdown bits that people associate with deathcore. Do you personally like both the old death metal from your home state and the newer styles?
We think of our music as “metal” but generally describe it as “Florida death metal” since Death, Cannibal Corpse and Morbid Angel are major influences. Our lyrical content is so different from most death metal bands that we’re not sure that “death” applies to us as much, but the musical influence is there and we figure that listeners will best decide how to describe us. Bobby has the most interest in deathcore, but everyone appreciates a good breakdown. By the way, this is just my opinion, but somewhat ironically the heaviest break downs I have heard were written by Cannibal Corpse’s Alex Webster, not a hardcore band.
How did you get the bass guitar to be so very audible? Did you bassist have to do some slap bass in order to make himself heard ha ha?!
Kevin plays bass with a pick for clarity and consistency on recordings, but he certainly admires slap bass players. Alex Webster and Steve DiGiorgio are among his main influences. As for the cutting bass tone on the album, that is due to the mixing skills of Jacob Hansen and the fact that Kevin tracked his parts cleanly.
Your lyrics often have a philosophical take on what you see as the meaninglessness of life, right? Your lyrics on “Corrupted Text” do not view spirituality in a good way. Why? How much of your views come from reading Buddhism or Hinduism (“Samsara”)?
Our lyrics are indeed pessimistic or critical for the most part. As for existentialist questions, I don’t think we’d say that “life is meaningless” so much as “life is what you make of it” and “many people’s lives are insignificant.” We need to give our lives meaning if we want to live well. That is one of the lyrical themes of “Dionysian” which was intended as a more optimistic counterbalance to our general pessimism.
One of the great things about being in a band is that it adds purpose and meaning to life; it gives us a shared interest, and goals that we collaborate on. Austin, who has a serious interest in philosophy, writes most of the lyrics, and his favorite philosophers are Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, Hume, and Hobbes (among others).
You are right about the lyrical basis of “Samsara.” I’d also add the Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita as influences as well. “Corrupted Text” isn’t an attack on spirituality, but a criticism of ignorant and irrational “true believers” who accept absurdities as truth.
The song “Mechanized Insurgency” takes up war, terrorism and politics. Do you personally have an opinion about either of the two corporate parties in the U.S.? Do you have any opinions about the current president? We know that some bands love to tell the world that they hate him, but where do you stand? Do you care either way?
“Mechanized Insurgency” is one of our earlier songs; the lyrics were written by Dendy, our original bassist. At the time we had friends serving in the desert wars (Iraq and Afghanistan) and the brother of one of Austin’s best friends was murdered in the 9/11 terrorist attack on the Twin Towers, so we had heavy thoughts about the Middle East on our minds.
We aren’t a political band and don’t support either party but we do have opinions, of course. I’d say we’re moderate, politically. Yes, the two parties are the same in that they both desire power and wealth, but how each goes about that goal differs.
Most of the guys in the band learn toward the right on fiscal issues, though we are inclusive, pro-immigrant, gay-friendly, and very much care about nature and the environment. We don’t want open borders and enjoy owning firearms. We can’t say that we have much appreciation for the Chinese government and their theft of Western technologies. We love Latin America and hope to play concerts there, so don’t approve of vitriol directions toward our friends south of the border. Trump is a deeply flawed man (like most people), but we don’t hate him; he seems to care about this country, but what do I know. I’m not certain that he expected to win the presidency. But in general, we’re for anything that benefits the American worker and American manufacturing.
Do you have any other news?
We are shooting our first music video (for “Immersed in Emptiness”) in late March and are currently refining a set of new songs that we hope to play out soon. We should have one or two ready to perform by April.
Thank you for your time!
Thank you for the opportunity to be included in the Metal Bulletin Zine, and for your thoughtful questions!
Austin and Crypteria

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