Album Review – Cryptic Shift / Beyond the Celestial Realms EP (2016)

An action-packed voyage through space and time, led by a Sci-Fi Death Metal Assault Squad from the UK eager to conquer the entire universe with their progressive and technical brutality.

Rating5

btcr-coverAre you ready for a voyage through space and time, a daredevil journey to a parallel universe where you’ll face technology a million light-years beyond our knowledge and where unknown forms of extraterrestrial life coexist, all to the sound of a very progressive and technical fusion of Death and Thrash Metal? This is what you’ll get in Beyond the Celestial Realms, the brand new EP by British Progressive Death/Thrash Metal act Cryptic Shift. If you’re a fan of the hard-hitting and intricate sound of iconic bands such as Death, Obituary and Voivod, lasers will blast from your eyes with excitement while listening to Cryptic Shift.

Formed in 2010 under the name Crÿptic Shift, this Leeds-based group calls itself a “Sci-Fi Death Metal Assault Squad”, a distinct designation that makes total sense as soon as you start listening to their high-quality material. And this blend of extreme music and Sci-Fi led the band to share the stage with renowned acts like Exodus, Hirax and Lost Society, also playing at some up-and-coming festivals in the UK such as Thrashersaurus, Full Thrash Assault and Thrashoholic Fest, all between 2014 and 2015. Beyond the Celestial Realms, which features a “futuristic old school” (if that expression exists) artwork by Nemesis Design, can be considered the “encapsulation” of the band’s short but very active career,  containing revamped versions of some of their original demos mixed with brand new compositions and, of course, a high level of brutality and stamina.

In the cinematic/alien-inspired intro Beyond the Celestial Realms, ominous acoustic lines and a phantom voice inform the listener a dangerous journey is about to begin, entitled Voyage Through Dimensions.  This feast of old school Death and Thrash Metal with a futuristic concept brings forward sheer dexterity and aggressiveness through the guitar riffs by Xander Bradley and Henry Parker, which precisely follow the potent rhythm imposed by drummer Ryan Sheperson. The second half of the song gets groovier thanks to the rumbling sound of the bass guitar by John Riley, adding layers to a song that has all it takes to become the band’s biggest classic in the future.

cryptic-shiftWhen a song is named Deathcrusher, we all know it’s going to be a demonic onrush perfect for breaking your neck headbanging until its apocalyptic ending, with its Slayer-ish riffs being nicely complemented by some traditional Death Metal beats.  In addition to that, Xander and Ryan not only have their kick-ass riffs to provide us, but their solos are also amazing. The following song, Spore, showcases a traditional fast-paced Death Metal rhythm boosted by the piercing guitars by Xander and Ryan, sounding like a fusion of Anthrax and Death, in special the vocal lines by Xander. And after the song’s calm and harmonious break halfway through it, we’re treated to a storm of groovy high-end guitar solos and endless progressiveness. Lastly, the initial peace found in Glacial Reclamation suddenly gives place to an outstanding Thrash Metal extravaganza, with Xander blasting his growls while John keeps delivering his low-tuned punches. All band members display a high level of adroitness with their instruments in this solid and thrilling composition, getting even more progressive than all previous tracks.

The gates to the parallel universe of Death Metal crafted by Cryptic Shift can be found at the band’s Facebook page, YouTube channel, SoundCloud and ReverbNation, and the key to open those gates can be purchased at their official website or BandCamp page, at the Fractured Mind Records’ BandCamp, at the Nightbreaker Productions’ webstore, at the Tictail’s webstore, or at the Blood Harvest’s webstore. Cryptic Shift aim at conquering this universe (and any other existing ones) with their fusion of progressiveness and brutality, and based on the high quality of the music found in Beyond the Celestial Realms, we can say their spaceship of Death Metal is on course without a shadow of a doubt.

Best moments of the album: Voyage Through Dimensions.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2016 Fractured Mind Records/Nightbreaker Productions

Track listing    
1. Beyond the Celestial Realms 1:12
2. Voyage Through Dimensions 5:29
3. Deathcrusher 6:04
4. Spore 5:40
5. Glacial Reclamation 4:40

Band members
Xander Bradley – vocals, guitars
Henry Parker – guitars
John Riley – bass
Ryan Sheperson – drums

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