Things to Do in Fort Wayne and Beyond

Cryptic / Once Holy Realm

Jason Hoffman

Whatzup Features Writer

Published October 7, 2004

Heads Up! This article is 18 years old.

The nearly black cover art is an apt

portrayal of the contents within: dark, brutal,

and dangerous. Fort Wayne’s own death metal

mavens Cryptic follow up their successful EP,

Prophecy of Hate, with their first

full-length release. Recorded and mixed locally

at Ensomberoom Studio and released by Dark

Horizon Records, a local label with an

international distribution, Once Holy

Realm is sure to propel this band to


While the EP was a great first punch, the new

album is a kick in the groin. Gone are the

keyboards that, while used to nice effect,

somehow just never seem to blend well with death

metal. The band – consisting of guitarist Bill

Klug, vocalist Terry Linn, bassist Rick LaSalle

and new members Jason Hatzell (drums) and Keeb

Sutton (second guitar) – concentrates on

lightning-fast riffs that drive a stake through

your heart. But even though the guitars are

amazingly fast, each of the eight songs is over

five minutes long, with the title track topping

the nine-minute mark! Such expansive sonic

territory gives the songs time to breath and

grow. Clean, yet flanged guitars break the

mega-distorted onslaught from time to time,

allowing the listener just enough time for a

quick, cruel, teasing breath before being held

again under the murky waters of a stagnant swamp.

Two songs especially piqued my ear. “Bloodsoaked

Memories” is quite chilling, where raspy, dead

vocals are joined by a deeper, growling ranting

that is very horrific. “Embranced By Darkness”

pulls a fast one, opening with a peaceful intro

that lulls you into a false sense of security.

But Cryptic aren’t about to start churning out

ballads, and it isn’t long before the kick drums

smash in your face and the guitars sandblast the

skin off your face, leaving a happy, grinning

skull in its wake.

The old-style speed metal mixed with black metal

presents a nice amalgam that should appeal to a

wide audience. While I can’t understand the

lyrics (and thus can’t comment on them), vocalist

Linn resists the urge to sport the standard low

growl (although it does appear

occasionally, but always to great effect due to

its absence elsewhere). Instead, his vocalizings

sound more like a demon-possessed witch being

tortured – very creepy indeed! The massive

double-kick drum pops right in at the start of

“Ageless Winds of War” and doesn’t stop until the

final seconds of “Requiem of Fate” wind down.

That man must have colossal calves! The double

guitars form an unbreakable union, shredding

constantly with vicious solos and deafening

riffs. And the bassist holds it all together with

an insane fury that surely has worn all the skin

from his fingers, leaving bloody, boney nubs.

This dark assault is available through and should be required

listening for die-hard fans of Cannibal Corpse

and Meshuggah.

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