Monday 13 January 2020

ALBUM REVIEW: SuuM, "Cryptomass"

By: Jesse Edwards

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 14/02/2020
Label: Seeing Red Records

“Cryptomass” CD//DD track listing:

1). Cryptomass
2). The Silence of Agony
3). Creatures from the Vault
4). Funeral Circle
5). Burial at Night
6). The Failure of Creation
7). Mass in the Catacomb
8). Claws of Evil
9). Reaper Looks in Your Eyes

The Review:

SuuM hail from Rome, Italy, and are described as playing ‘traditional doom metal’.

As an ardent fan of the genre, I’ve been on the look-out for bands to fill the cavernous void left by my beloved Reverend Bizarre, who committed themselves to the earth back in 2007. 13 years on, and I was convinced that those darn Finn’s had taken the entire genre down with them. (So long, suckers, indeed!)

So when Cryptomass” came up for review, my interest was immediately piqued with the trad-doom categorisation. Yes, the cover art looks a bit crude, but luckily, I was obliged to listen to the album, and to my absolute delightI found traditional doom metal of the highest order!

Much of the band’s sound harks back to the Scandinavian revival of the early 2000’s, with bands like Reverend Bizarre, Spiritus Mortis, and Griftegard clearly being heavily influential, but SuuM are able to inject enough of their own ideas to prevent things from becoming clichéd. The album stays firmly rooted in the traditional doom style, yet there’s enough variety within the songs to keep things interesting throughout this fine selection of graveyard soirees. I thought the song writing on “Cryptomass” was exceedingly well done, with the band conjuring ominous atmospheres and melancholic imagery, whilst drawing a nice balance between the funeral dirge and a foot-tapping rhythm.

The vocals were a particular high point for me: harrowingly operatic, whilst at times wild and unhinged; lead vocalist, Mark Wolf, is certainly fundamental in giving this band its unique sound. The guitar tone is heavy, but maintains a certain clarity to allow for the dynamics of guitarist Painkiller’s playing to be clearly heard amongst the cacophony. The bass is prominent in the mix, with just enough distortion to make for a fabulously heavy sound, and the drum work harnesses the traditional ‘less-is-more’ approach before a thorough reverb-soaking makes for the kind of echo you would only find in the most sinister of Ceremonial Halls.

One of the album’s highlights was certainly the title track ‘Cryptomass’, which takes the listener for an 8-minute retrospective through the catacombs of doom metal past. Others include ‘Claws of Evil’, with its fabulous Sabbathian styled riffs; ‘Mass in the Catacomb’ then serves as a nod to Black Sabbath’s ‘Orchid’; and ‘Creatures of the Vault’, which boasts a gloriously triumphant outro as it soars high into the night.

Make no mistake! “Cryptomass” is one of the finest displays of traditional doom metal for many years, and I would certainly place SuuM amongst the best doom bands to have emerged in recent times.  While some say doom metal may be dead… something still stirs in the heart of the Mediterranean.

“Cryptomass” is available HERE

Band info: bandcamp || facebook