Despite the name, Crypts doesn't have that much in common with resting places for the dead. The dead are motionless—or at best, shambling—and the warmongering death metal that Crypts practices is an unceasing march towards front line annihilation. Melody, subtlety, rest—topics for another day. Without pause and without hesitation, the German death metallers' new album Coven of the Dead hurls listeners into bloody, unending chaos. This is the death metal of the soon-to-be-dead.

Listen to Coven of the Dead below in full with our exclusive premiere.

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I do want to point out a particularly satisfying connection between the band and their name, though: the drums on this album feels they've been walled off in a tomb of their own, each snare hit thudding into existence like a skeletal hand on a coffin lid. It gives the fast-paced death metal a sepulchral quality that drapes the otherwise completely relentless proceedings in an appropriately dour shroud.

If the first few tracks seem intense, "Nuclear Vengeance" takes the threat level up another notch, cranking up the speed and aggression for the shortest track on the record. For the most part, Coven of the Dead operates in that medium-fast sweet spot where each note in a chugging death metal riff gets just enough time to hammer away, but there's shifts in pace to keep it from getting predictable. On the penultimate title track, things get appropriately spooky: ghostly synthesizers float into the album for the first time (and that element sticks around for the closing track "Paura"), offering more dynamic pacing that provides some relief from the pitched battles conducted up to that point. Fittingly, "Paura" concludes with a reflective choral progression that plays over fading guitar feedback and whispered vocals: deathly quiet wins out at last.

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Coven of the Dead releases March 19th, 2021 via This Charming Man Records.