Entering the Underground #24: Cryptworm’s Vile Death Metal is “Spewing Mephitic Putridity”
Cryptworm caught my attention right from the beginning. I can’t recall anymore, some five years later, how I first came across their original eponymous demo (though I suspect it was by following the label that released that demo on tape, Goatprayer Records) but I can certainly remember the impact that it made. Filthy and threatening in a way that’s become more commonplace in the years since but that has become no less powerful for it, even on day one Cryptworm evoked all of the horror and putrid sewer atmosphere that has become, in a way, very popular. However, where most bands fail at providing anything other than base aesthetic and atmosphere, Cryptworm excel at bringing the fucking riffs.
These Bristol rockers titled their first album Spewing Mephitic Putridity and that name is as accurate a description as anything. This certainly appeals to fans of other recent bands that have made their name doing something similar—off the top of my head, Undergang in particular comes to mind as the modern pioneers of this primitive regressivism, along with Morbific for another newer band doing it right—but Cryptworm have reached far into the depths of ancient heroes to form something that is all their own. The slow doom parts have appropriately grinding drums or Ward-esque swing in part, which alone distinguishes them from the bulk of their contemporaries, and the guitar riffs have enough nuance to deftly jump between clever Demilich-isms to pounding barbarisms to riffs that can fit that aforementioned Ward groove to the drums, all without a song ever feeling incongruous.
It's impossible to give credence to any complaints about other bands playing this style into the ground, or a disdain for the retro, or whatever other piece of irrelevant mouth-pissing that someone who doesn’t really like modern death metal dirtier than Revocation in the first place may make while Spewing Mephitic Putridity is actually playing. This is raw grooving power in a hideous chamber. This is nastiness, and the gunk on your shoes during a particularly brutal late night show after the tavern’s beer has been swilled everywhere. This is death metal, and this is Cryptworm.
Read an interview with half of this impressive duo, bassist/guitarist/vocalist Tibor Hanyi, below and don’t forget to go buy this killer album.
Cryptworm has been a powerful two-piece since the band started. How did you and Joe meet? Will there ever be a three or four piece lineup for the band?
The whole thing started back in early 2014 when I decided to move to the UK. When I told my friends/bandmates my idea that I'll move to Bristol, UK within a couple of months, one of them suggested Joe as a potential drummer. Albert, who is the promoter of the Hungarian Inner Awakening Fest knew Joe through label trades, releases, splits and he was also his session musician when Joe played in Hungary. So I contacted him online and discussed our ideas. He was mainly into black metal but he liked the idea to create a death metal band originally in the vein of Incantation and Morbid Angel. So we formed the band in May and I only moved to the UK in August. Technically I was in a band in the UK even before I got my plane ticket. Since we have the same attitude and passion for being in a band it is way easier to operate as a 2 piece even though it would be great to finally have someone on bass who is similar to us and living nearby. We had different session bassists for live shows. At the moment Joss from Seprevation/Cryptic Shift is helping us out.
Other than difficulties with finding a regular live bassist, are there any disadvantages to being a permanent two-piece?
No, not really. The only thing I could think of if we would have a permanent bassist who contributes to the song writing process then the recordings could be more interesting with more and different ideas from other members. But we manage as a two piece with Joe just fine and it’s far easier to operate a band with less members. I was in a couple of 5 piece bands before but I always preferred if there are just 3 or 2 members. Way easier to manage everything.
What inner musical need does Cryptworm meet that your other bands do not? Is it ever challenging deciding what band to focus on at any given time?
It's not so difficult to me to focus on different bands since only Cryptworm is UK based and the only band which I play live. The rest are based in Hungary and mainly studio projects since it's hard to sort out the logistics. When we started Cryptworm it was similar to my other death metal projects like Gravecrusher, Coffinborn, Tyrant Goatgaldrakona and Necrosodomy, but over the time it evolved into this putrid Demilich influenced filth. I write riffs which I wouldn't use in my other bands and the vocal style is also completely different.
When did you first find yourself drawn to putrid filth? Had you considered forming a similar band and exploring similar ideas prior to moving?
I’ve been a huge fan of the old school late 80’s, early 90’s death metal demos for quite a while. I think I started to explore them shortly after we formed Tyrant Goatgaldrakona with Lambert. I [was] particularly fascinated by the Swedish scene’s bands such as Crematory, Grave, Unleashed etc. Their demos are better than most of the full lengths. Down-tuned putrid filth. Even if they were huge influence for me somehow I never got to form a band like that until I moved to the UK. But even Cryptworm originally didn’t intend to sound like that. It was quite similar to my other death metal projects which were one of the main reasons that I wanted to change the sound to more rotten.
Where did the art concept come from, and how did you get in touch with Skaðvaldur?
I followed Skadvaldur for a while now. I wanted something different from the usual monochrome artwork and when I saw his paintings I knew that he is the man for the job. I just simply sent him a message on facebook and the rest is history. The concept was to paint the theme of the "Spewing Mephitic Putridity" song's lyrics in the vein of the old school 70's, 80's horror movie posters.
Are there any other artists on your list that you’d want to do a cover for Cryptworm now that you’ve worked with Skaðvaldur? Is a steady aesthetic going forward important to you?
It is important for us of course. At the moment I wouldn’t ask anybody else other than Skadvaldur to paint our full lengths because he perfectly captures our atmosphere but there are other amazing artists who I would like to work with at some point for sure. Nightmare Imagery for monochromic arts for example. I am also a huge fan of Khaos Dikatator’s work, but I’m already working with him with my other projects like Rothadás and Coffinborn.
You’ve been with Jesus and Me Saco Un Ojo for a few years now, since the Verminosis 7”. How did you guys hook up? Do you put value on label consistency?
He contacted us after he heard our debut demo back in 2017 that he really likes it and he is interested in working together with us. Since both of us are huge fans of his label, it was like a dream come true. I know it sounds cliché but it's true. He is a great guy and since also based in the UK working together with him is extremely easy.
How would you compare the British metal scene with the Hungarian scene you were a part of for years prior to moving?
I usually get this question quite a lote which I completely understand why because everyone would expect something interesting (even I expected huge differences when I moved here) but my answer is actually quite boring because to me both the Hungarian and the British underground scenes are quite similar. Maybe the only thing I can think of is that in Hungary the touring bands usually only play in Budapest whilst in the UK they play in several different cities.
Have you ever run into a scene (via friends, touring, living there, whatever) that felt significantly different to the ones you’ve been a part of? Do you think that there is some core of same-ness to the global scene regardless of where a band is actually located now that the internet has brought us all together?
Nope, I didn’t really experience a drastic difference with the scenes in other countries, cities. It’s usually the same everywhere. For example the city where I’m from there are plenty of bands there but it’s all the same group of people. And when I saw an interview with Undergang where they ask about the Copenhagen scene they also answered the same. And there were a couple of interviews which I read from other bands and they answer the same.
Spewing Mephitic Putridity released March 11th via Me Saco Un Ojo Records.