‘The Great Magmatic Leviathan’
(Released: January 2015)
Scientists at the esteemed Italian Space Agency recently noticed a colossal object hurtling towards Earth. The object was moving at an almost impossibly slow pace, and travelling on a direct collision course. In January, it finally landed: Cryptrip’s debut album, ‘The Great Magmatic Leviathan’.
The Italian band, formed in 2012, have a created a slow, sludgy, stoner acid trip that sounds like it emanates from another galaxy. Opening track ‘Mescaline 1: Journey To The Moon Of Xzvarth’ rumbles into existence like an ancient Sabbath demo that’s been drifting around the cosmos for the last 50 years collecting alien dust. Swooshing, kaleidoscopic synths work well in parallel with long, shuddering riffs; dragging you through a swamp of low-end ecstasy.
Despite its basic premise of “slow and sludgy”, this is an album of many highlights and surprises. ‘My Evil Master Of Stone’, for example, is a timeless, thundering doom metal giant. The track gets your pulse racing even though it crawls like a snail. ‘Green Flesh Of Zombie’, meanwhile, sounds like an old Cathedral LP put through a food mixer and then fed to a diseased old goat. Beautiful stuff. There’s an unexpected blast of stoner black metal to kick off ‘Ghost Of The Pale Mountain’ before normal service resumes – elegantly sludgy traditional doom with a stoner twist.
Elsewhere, Cryptrip use layered, echoing vocals to add to the dizzying atmospherics. There are hints of the band’s death-doom roots when the vocal style gets more ragged, although these are not always the album’s most effective sections. Perhaps the cleaner style is better-suited to their dreamy atmospheres and psych influences.
There are a few occasions where this release loses some focus and becomes too simplistic. But generally ‘The Great Magmatic Leviathan’, which was mastered by James Plotkin in the USA, maintains a high level of quality and originality. There is always an underlying groove and energy to the music, and the songs are neatly packaged to ensure things never get repetitive. Cryptrip’s debut album brings personality and atmosphere to the world of sludgy stoner doom, and when it lands it makes an enormous crater in your world.