Barely a year old, Ohio’s Crypt Rot come crawling from their coffin-sized grave with Embryonic Devils (Southern Lord). It’s a fitting name for an album by former members of Ohio’s Homewrecker, as these guys are like little baby demons, with decent potential, who haven’t quite grown out of their flaming, sulfur-stinking diapers just yet.
If you want to be picky, Embryonic Devils is really more of an EP than a long player. Clocking in at twenty-one minutes, only half of the album’s ten tracks are actual songs. The other five are segues (that, played consecutively, evoke the dark and dungeon-like mental imagery reminiscent of ‘Glass Walls of Limbo’ from Type O Negative’s self-loathing classic, Slow, Deep, and Hard (Roadrunner), but otherwise serve little to no purpose apart from spacing the songs out to make the album seem longer than it actually is. Strange, too, opening with ‘Segue 1’, which, intentionally or not, implies that Embryonic Devils is a continuation of some other work. But I digress, and in Ghost Cult’s longest parenthetical to date, I’m sure.)
And perhaps Embryonic Devils would have been better off presented as an EP, rather than an LP. ‘Chapters of Torment’, ‘Scaphist Waste’, ‘Internal Organ Feast’, and ‘Coffin Birth Post Mortal Fetal Extrusion’ (gotta love that last title) each serve up (un)healthy globs of sick lyrics and riffs that pay homage to everyone from Death to Deicide. The frequent interludes, though interesting, tend to distract from the overall strength and flow of these songs.
But it is on track eight—‘Pit of Morbidity’—where Crypt Rot truly shine. The darkly mellow acoustic intro and deeply unsettling verses are undercut with watery vocals (think David Vincent on ‘Where the Slime Lives’) that give a real sense of impending doom, a dynamic build up that finally pays off two minutes and thirty seconds in, exploding into mournful, wailing vocal melodies courtesy of Allie Dioneff.
If you take nothing else from Embryonic Devils, take ‘Pit of Morbidity’. And if this track is an indicator of what’s to come, I will certainly be digging into that crypt.