Review: “Bionic Swarm” by Cryptosis

Reborn as forward-thinking explorers of the Extreme Metal cosmos, Cryptosis are a Dutch trio of seasoned musicians. Laurens Houvast (vocals, guitars), Frank te Riet (bass, mellotron, backing vocals) and Marco Prij (drums) have allowed their sound to evolve, to expand and to breathe and found a home at Century Media for their debut “Bionic Swarm” that matches their ambitions.

A piece of music that blurs the lines between Metal and classics music “Overture 2149” begins things in a way in which Devin Townsend would be proud before racing away into “Decypher” with the kind of high octane energy that you find at the bottom of your fourth can of a World famous energy drink. Prij brings to the plate Gene Hoglan esq drumming that delights in the same way as his Strapping Young Lad days while the brilliance of the virtuoso guitar work make you wonder how Houvast will be able to carry it off live as well as doing vocals without as many as two more guitarists, such is the skill on show here from his finger tips. That is echoed during incendiary “Death Technology” which has Thrash leanings and a blistering solo to match before the slow march of “Prospect of Immortality” which ruminates on the paranoia of Thrash before taking on a life of its own with soaring guitars and big dark and foreboding atmospherics. The elongated instrumental parts here impress in a well balanced way while the odd high pitched yelp from Houvast is like a lightening bolt that catches you off guard every single time. A breakneck sprint to the finishing line accompanied by some restless and relentless percussive battery, “Transcendence” is something of a tour de force of Extreme Metal that has no limits and shows off some jaw dropping musicianship, again leaving you wondering how a mere trio could carry this off.

Eerie spoken word “Perpetual Motion“, distorted with a science fiction computerized tone brings in “Conjuring the Egoist” and acts as something of a moment of clarity, giving a moment to take a breath before those rampaging typhoons of riffs come back around and Houvast once again vents with a dry and intense bark. As a whole, “Bionic Swarm” is a highly accomplished album which doesn’t sound like it is a debut at all, but the mid career work of a prolific band who play to each others strengths and leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of their Metal dreams. “Game of Souls” reinforces that with a furious axe attack that is pure fire while Houvast rants and raves like a man possessed. Wearing it’s Slayer influence on its sleeve with a “Raining Blood” mirroring hellish higher pitched scream before flying off into rampant speed metal licks “Flux Divergence” proves that the album is all killer, no filler with no room for error and zero tolerance for anything that stands in its path. Modern Extreme Metal at its finest, if there is any justice in this cruel World then Cryptosis are here for the long haul as “Bionic Swarm” lays down a gauntlet and draws a line in the sand, begging others to dare and match them [8.5/10]

Track listing

  1. Overture 2149
  2. Decypher
  3. Death Technology
  4. Prospect of Immortality
  5. Transcendence
  6. Perpetual Motion
  7. Conjuring the Egoist
  8. Game of Souls
  9. Mindscape
  10. Flux Divergence

Bionic Swarm” by Cryptosis is out 26th March 2021 via Century Media

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