cryptic embrace - towards the tree of death and life

CRYPTIC EMBRACE
Towards The Tree Of Death And Life
Independent
2011

Cryptic Embrace is a British Black Metal project that is listed currently on the Encyclopedia Metallum as “On Hold”. Towards The Tree Of Death And Life is their first release, a demo full-length released originally in 2011, and then re-released by Adversarius Mors Productions in a limited CD-R format. There are other more official releases by Cryptic Embrace listed, but for the life of me, I cannot find anything besides Towards The Tree Of Death And Life for sale at any of my usual \,,/METAL\,,/ sites. Mayhaps in the future, I’ll get lucky and find something more. In the meantime, I have this bit of Black Metal from across the pond to consider.

For a demo, Towards The Tree Of Death And Life seems to manage to mix things up a bit with the black metal stylings. And by that, I mean there’s a few tracks that one would consider your standard Black Metal cuts, interspersed with a few dark ambient electronic industrial tracks that seems to be also a thing with the Second Wave style of Black Metal. That may throw someone who is not normally familiar with the whole Black Metal culture. And I’m not saying that I’m an expert of Black Metal by any means–I’m perhaps a high-level novice at best…Level 5 Poser for all you Kvlt types out there–I am, however, familiar with the “ambiance over functionality” aesthetic that’s very evident in the Black Metal cultures.

As an album, Towards The Tree Of Death And Life is an all right listen. The electronic instrumentals are more filler than anything, kinda monochrome and boring. Which is how I view a lot of dark ambient electronic pieces. The metal portions, however, also seem to suffer from the monochrome curse, by that meaning the riffing and playing on the pieces are pretty set and don’t change much from beginning to end. It’s like driving through Nebraska on I-80: It’s pretty to look at at first, but after a bit you start wishing there was some kind of change in scenery to break up the mind-numbing monotony. To their credit, though, at least each song isn’t a clone of the last one; For instance, “Cryptic Embrace” is a mid-paced black metal bit, with harsh shriek vocals and blistering guitar riffs, “Wages Of Sin” changes the riff up a bit, whereas “Blood Sacrifice” is the one standout of the bunch, being kind of a black-n-roll style with no blastbeats and even a decent solo to liven things up a bit. “Enter The Narrow Gate” and “Armour Of God” are both listed as demos, though for the life of me I cannot hear much difference between those two songs and the other previous ones. Had you not told me they were demos, I wouldn’t have thought as much. That probably means that the version I bought on Amazon was the previously mentioned re-release version, I don’t know.

Overall, Towards The Tree Of Death And Life was a decent enough listen. Nothing really reached out and grabbed me, and I probably won’t be listening to this as frequently as some other Black Metal albums I own. What I would like to do is try and find some of the later releases to see how they developed over the years. For now, this one I would list as worth a listen, probably not more than a small handful.

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