Monday, 29 August 2016

Cryptic Slaughter "Speak Your Peace" (1990)

Cryptic Slaughter are an American Crossover Thrash band from the 80s who had a very young line up, in terms of age, during in their short six year life span. They released four full length records, this being their last released in the same year that they split up. Their debut was released in 86 when some of the members were only 16 years old! Young bands are more common in today's freedom of access internet driven music scenes, back then it was rather a rarity. As a crossover band Cryptic Slaughter had more of a Thrash leaning on the guitars and drums, mixing up common techniques with Hardcore sounds too, the music themes and open mindedness of the record leans more so in the other direction. As a fan of both Hardcore Punk and Thrash Metal I was keen to give this one a listen, as I have heard the bands name mentioned by many reputable artists.

"Speak Their Peace" made its mark on me through its political, social and philosophical statements. There's a lot of observation and reflection apparent in the lyrics which make thoughtful points about the environment, society, ethics and a cynical criticism of the often overlooked issues in society. On the title track the line "I'm sick of hearing there is nothing we can do, I'm sick of hearing that nothing ever changes, well change changes, what we do gets done" really truck me. Brilliant denial of pessimistic attitudes. Its a rebellious soundtrack of alternative ideas that are rooted in logic and reason with a warm dose of compassion.

The instrumentals accompanying the angry shouting voice of injustice are also rather dense with substance and ideas. The tone is heavy in mood rather than texture with many riffs walking from one to the next, interlacing discords between moments of heaviness. The baselines don't shy away from the stage playing a big warm role jumping out between the silence of the distortion guitar and climbing the fret-board for higher notes too. In general it plays rather organically with each moment unraveling into the next, never settling still and continually moving into the next orchestrated riff section, occasionally throwing in half measures and often varying on repetitions.

It adds up to thirty three minutes of energetic, to the point Crossover that makes its point firmly. Its got attitude and a guitar style that sets it apart from other bands. Although its Thrash can be thrashy, and its Hardcore commonplace too its the continual meshing of the two ideas that roots it in a unique place. The recordings production is solid for the time, nothing is especially clear or sublime but each instrument fits into the mix so well, its a very balanced construct that lets the music do all the talking.

Favorite Tracks: Insanity By The Numbers, Speak Your Peace, Killing Time
Rating: 8/10

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