Krypts : Remnants of Expansion

2016 : Dark Descent
Format : LP/CD/Cassette

Four years after the release of Krypts’ debut record, Unending Degradation, the Finnish Death Metal cultists have again joined with the U.S. based label powerhouse, Dark Descent and Me Saco un Ojo records in the UK to release their sophomore album, Remnants of Expansion, a 34-minute trip through the limitless expanses of the abyss. Unending Degradation is still one of my favorite releases in Dark Descent’s catalog to date. To be honest, while four years may not seem like an absurd wait (Mysticum, anyone?), anticipating the follow up seemed like an eternity and at one point I’d begun to think the band had perhaps fallen into limbo somewhere in the recording process. I’d not heard any concrete news since after the initial release of the debut album.

The sound is not unlike what the band presented on Unending Degradation, but there’s still a natural maturation in musicianship. The band has also seen the recent addition of guitarist, Jukka Aho (of Gorephilia fame) back in 2015. Continuing as a four piece, the band recorded Remnants of Expansion.

The album opener, “Arrow of Entropy,” is the longest track they’ve recorded thus far. It opens slow but ultimately creates a moldy atmosphere while evoking images of a still fog. The track doesn’t waste too much time before breaking into a tremolo riff that bridges into the four minute mark. Antti’s vocalization begins around here. The slow churning of the guitars and the shamanistic drum hits rise once again.

The title track is an instrumental that divides the albums remaining quarter or so. It’s the final track on the album, “Transfixed,” that stood out as a personal favorite of mine. As far as Kyrpts is concerned it’s definitely their strongest song to date, in my opinion. At times it felt like it was played at a faster pace than the earlier parts of the album. It still has that thick, layered vibe to the sound but it doesn’t move like molasses either. I know for a lot of people the slower paced death metal has become a style that they can’t stand, but Krypts seems to have more elements of doom than anything. Swallowed was another band on Dark Descent’s roster that did this well. This kind of pacing is understandably hit or miss for some people, but Krypts is easily one of the best bands in the Death/Doom genre right now.

Visual guru Timo Ketola lends his artistic talents once again for Remnants of Expansion. Where Unending Degradation made use of a dark, earthy, and grimy color palate, Remnants of Expansion has a more void-like and cosmic vibe to the art. Depicting a human hand with each of its fingertips set alight, suspended in the cold void of space and set amidst a backdrop of blueish black, Timo’s symbolic yet simple approach to the art is always welcome, and to this day his work for other artists like Teitanblood remain some of my all-time favorite album covers. Remnants of Expansion, is a worthy successor to its predecessor. While it’s not showing a dramatic push into new territory, it still stands as a solid release for one of the heaviest bands in Death Metal.

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