Cryptic Shift play death metal that fuses elements of the technical, progressive, and thrash metal styles into its sci-fi-themed self.
Visitations from Enceladus contains 47 minutes of music spread across just four tracks. This running time is disproportionately focused on the colossal opener Moonbelt Immolator, however, which takes up over half the album’s duration, clocking in at a mammoth 26 minutes.
This first song – and the album as a whole – presents the listener with quite a journey, one which is rewarding and rich if this is what your tastes run to. The band adopt an old-school feel and production, reminiscent of groups like Death, Atheist, Voivod, and Nocturnus, which fits their style well. The performances are tight and focused, and the band clearly know their instruments and material. It’s non-standard exploratory music, and more individual than most.
The music is well-written and delves into multiple stylistic avenues from death metal’s rich history, unafraid to deliver progressive delights, expressive bass, thrashing riffs, atmospheric immersion, technical badassery, or creative nuance. The giant first song is the top pick here, but all tracks are very good, demonstrating a band with huge potential.
Cryptic Shift are clearly a talented bunch and what they have crafted here speaks volumes for their abilities. To think, this is only their first record. I’m looking forward to what they do in the future, that’s for sure. Until then, Visitations from Enceladus is an enjoyable cosmic exploration.