Archive for Cryptic Age

Cryptic Age announce new flautist as addition to the line-up

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 16th June 2013 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

York’s premier prog. Celtic metal band Cryptic Age have announced the addition of new flautist and backing vocalist Shendie to their line-up. Cryptic Age are also currently working on their next release – Details to be announced.

Cryptic Age online:

http://crypticage.co.uk
http://facebook.com/crypticage

 

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Heidevolk w/Support @ Fibbers, York

Posted in Featured, Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , , on 18th March 2013 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Heidevolk, Celtachor, Cryptic Age
Fibbers, York
23rd February 2013

Let’s start at the very beginning (as I have heard tales that it is a very good place to start). The venue. The City of York is a fantastic backdrop; its rich heritage makes it an ideal location for a gig of this nature. (Also, the people in York are fantastic. Twice, in York, I have lost my cell phone [Editor’s note: She means mobile phone] – and twice, in York, it has been returned to me.) ‘Niche-y’ evenings such as tonight tend to draw crowds from far afield: during the course of the evening, I met people who travelled from as far away as Whitby, Newcastle and Luton, to name a few. Therefore, the relatively central location of the venue proved ideal. The venue itself is ideal as well – large enough to hold the ample crowd but small enough to still feel intimate, even when standing at the bar. The sound was top-notch – all the instruments evenly balanced and all three (very different) vocalists cut through like a sword through leather. The line-up was an unusual but well-chosen blend – all three bands had similar lyrical themes of mythology and a folk feeling in their music. All three bands were, however, very different in their approaches to this, which was refreshing – the audience was treated to three very different styles so didn’t become too bored of the same genre by the end of the night. So basically, it was folkin’ well organised! (Okay, that’s the last ‘folkin’ pun…for awhile. Editor’s note: Thank the gods for that!)

Local progressive folk metallers Cryptic Age kicked off the evening in a suitably epic fashion, mixing brand-new songs with tracks from their CD and EP. Their (new) opening track Ad Astra et Ultra brings vocalist Jenny Green out of her normally stratospheric heights at times and proves her vocal versatility with warm, mid-range tones. Tracks like this show that she is more than capable of range as well as clarity in her vocal performance. Her trademark high notes are still dominant – sharp as a razor and clear as glass – and she gives an engaging performance as a frontwoman (not as easy job, when behind a keyboard as well)! Green’s keyboard performance is flawless; well-chosen effects created an ethereal feeling and she shifts effortlessly between using the keys atmospherically and as a lead instrument.Hallam Smith’s lead guitar sings beautifully and his expertise with the instrument is clear – Smith’s solos are technical and complex, yet appear effortless as he grins his way through the gig. He trades and harmonises lead parts with Green’s keys as nimbly as a leprechaun sorts through gold. Well-constructed and never ‘over the top’, Smith’s guitar performance definitely stays on the right side of the line between ‘enjoyable and impressive’ and ‘showing off’ – everything is done to suit the music.

Bassist Tom Keeley has an impressive stage presence – at one point, certainly, his windmilling knocks some dust off of the ceiling. Beyond this, though, he is a masterful musician, ably ‘gluing’ together the drums and the lead sections. In a four-piece band, there is sometimes a temptation for a bassist to simplify; however, Keeley’s riffs are complex and are as interesting to listen to as the lead instruments. Drummer Alex Brandsen drums adeptly, acting as the gears that keep the machine moving forward. He drives numerous time and tempo changes smoothly and his solo and fills are engaging. Brandsen is clearly a drummer who is an artist, rather than a machine; his metronome-like precision is carefully balanced with enough artistry and flair to give the set interest and spontaneity. Overall, Cryptic Age’s performance was tight, creative and delivered with just the right mixture of passion and fun. It was also thoroughly enjoyable – an opinion shared by the crowd, many of whom were Irish jigging to No Folkin’ Way, the final, instrumental track of the set. [5/5]

Few bands would dare to create music that oscillates between brutal, eyeball-popping, balls-out growling and soft, melodic, lilting sweetness. Even fewer can make it work. Celtachor does. Frontman – vocalist and whistle player – Stephen Roche pulls off both faces of the two-headed monster that is Celtachor with style… and just a little bit of scary. With a stage presence that makes him seem like a Klingon transported into medieval times, Roche has a fantastic and mesmerising effect on the crowd. An intensity in his facial expression gives a slightly psychotic impression and when he instructs the crowd to clap, headbang, chant, etc. they do so. For me, this was 75% because I was enjoying the music and 25% because I was a little bit afraid that if I didn’t do as he said, he… might eat my skin while I was still wearing it. (Note – we spoke with him briefly after the show and he was very lovely, gracious and non-psychotic – but the stage act is very convincing.)

Roche shifts instantaneously between vitriolic vocals – with a scream that would melt the lead out of pencils – to a soft-spoken, honeyed baritone enrobed in a hypnotising Irish accent. His (and guitarist Fionn Stafford’s) skill with a small whistle adds an artistic touch that helps to set Celtachor apart from other pagan black metal bands and secures them in a class of their own. Guitarists Fionn Stafford and David Quinn show versatility in their double-barrelled performance. Bold, brash riffs that border at times on thrash are expertly executed and are always precise and controlled. Similarly, softer sections are performed artfully and with elegance, with complex intertwining melodies graciously taking a backseat to allow other instruments to come to the forefront. Solos are shredded like silk curtains through a tiger’s claws and the rhythm parts are a cavalry of riffs that gallop on apace and flatten the room. Both musicians have a remarkable stage presence and are engaging to watch as they own the stage.

The guitar melodies are complex and add interest to the pieces, providing the heart of the band. The melodies are reminiscent of old Celtic folk music – without relying too heavily on this style, proving that they are more than a one-trick pony. The complexity of the guitars also firmly plants the band in the black metal genre, as well as proving that if you’ve got two talented guitarists – you don’t need keyboards to put the ‘melody’ in ‘melodic black metal’!  Bassist  Oliver Deegan is the belly of the beast, with growling riffs that add a sense of darkness and danger to the mixture. His hammering riffs and compelling countermelodies surprise and intrigue the audience – and bring him out of the rhythm section – without distracting from the lead instruments. Quigley’s hand moves up and down the neck of his bass like a hummingbird from flower to flower, darting quickly back and forth.  The warm tone of Deegan’s bass contrasts pleasantly against the icier guitar tones, hinting at green fields and Irish sunshine.

Drummer Anaïs Chareyre proves a savvy timekeeper – and if we’re going to labour the metaphor, her drums are the powerful legs of the monster that is Celtachor. Chareyre adroitly swaps between styles several times throughout the gig. She masters off-time sections with a progressive flair; drives the common time portions with machine-gun-like precision and adds in components of tribal drumming that keep reminding the audience of the Celtic roots of the music. The drums in Celtachor’s music do more than simply keep the time – they are an instrument themselves, driving the songs forward but occasionally pausing to have a spotlighted moment themselves.

Altogether, Celtachor is a force to be reckoned with. With a powerful mix of brutal black metal, haunting pagan influences and serene Celtic accents, Celtachor is definitely a band in a class of its own. [4.5/5]

Heidevolk’s first headline show on UK soil had garnered a lot of support and as the crowd anxiously awaited the band’s entrance, the area near to the stage became a crush of black T-shirts, long hair, drinking horns and pagan relics. The anticipation was a palpable bubble being blown, threatening to burst even as a blue balloon was tied to the drumkit. When the band’s suitably atmospheric introductory music began, the stage was awash in moody blues, setting the ambience.  An eerie hush fell over the crowd, exploding into rapturous cheering as the band took the stage.

Vocalists Joris Boghtdrincker and Mark Splintervuyscht burst onstage like fireworks, each working alternate halves of the crowd and engaging the audience in a singalong straightaway. The crowd reacts enthusiastically – more hardcore fans picking up the call even before being asked, joined later by more reluctant fans and others who weren’t familiar with the melody at the start.  Boghtdrincker and Splintervuyscht are fantastic frontmen, expertly coaxing the crowd (who, to be fair, don’t need much encouragement – they’ve been waiting a long time for this) to shout, pump their fists, show the horns – all fairly standard metal gig interactions – and then to bounce. That was more unexpected. Like rabbits on Red Bull, the vocalists led the way, followed by a more than decent proportion of the crowd. Partially due to alcoholic consumption (but mostly due to the zeal of the frontmen), the crowd eagerly participated and became a teeming, roiling mass threatening to boil over. By the third song, a reasonably sized pit had opened up toward the front in the middle. The crowd had this part of the club heaving: it felt as if it were about a hundred degrees despite the freezing outdoor temperatures – and there were approximately five oxygen molecules left. The crowd response generated by Heidevolk – and led by the two frontmen – was in a world of its own.

In addition to being engaging frontmen, Boghtdrincker and Splintervuyscht are talented vocalists. In a pleasing contrast to many metal bands, neither vocalist is a soaring, Bruce Dickinson-like belting countertenor, nor a growling ball of anger. Boghtdrincker  borders on the rare voice type of contrabass, at times touching an E1. (For non-music types, that’s an extremely low note – when it is written in operas, often all other music stops to allow that note to be heard – because, to produce it at all, it tends to be very quiet. It takes a special talent and years of training to sing this low – and to do so and maintain tone is actually harder than singing up high). Splintervuyscht is a higher, more lyric baritone with a voice reminiscent of Galaxy chocolate. (Can we get a sponsor?) He tends to carry the melodies clearly and strongly, while Boghtdrincker stays down in the dungeons, providing a rumbling presence, like a dragon that is starting to awake.  The harmonies created by the dual vocals are interesting and unusual – they haven’t stuck to the easy (or expected) thirds, fifths or octaves. Rather, they’ve chosen intervals which feel tribal – coinciding with their image and the ancient Germanic mythology that inspires their music. At times, their chosen harmonies evoke a semblance of Gregorian chants – and on occasion, the melodies don’t go quite where you might expect them to, adding interest and surprise. Both men are skilled musicians, alternating between shared harmonised vocals and trading countermelodies. This unusual shared frontmanship is one of several elements that sets Heidevolk apart from other metal bands.

Guitarists Reamon Bomenbreker and Kevin Vruchtbaard have a majestic stage presence that is, at times, theatrical without being over-the-top or distracting from the frontmen. Both men are comfortably at ease onstage and their enjoyment of playing comes over to the audience, encouraging the already frenetic moshing, headbanging and fist-pumping that was happening down front.  Lightning-fast rhythm sections are expertly executed and include a complexity that sits the music perhaps across the street and up the road from power metal. Dagger-sharp tremolo picking and cantering rhythms that bolt forward juxtapose with short, melodic runs that keep pushing the songs forward and break up longer riffs. Longer lead sections often include intricate and technical compositions, occasionally twinned and harmonised with more synchronisation than the 2012 Olympic Synchronised Swimming team. Slower solos melt more faces than a homicidal, telekinetic pyromaniac and soar above the rest of the music. Throughout the set, there is a sense that the guitars are creating their own story – separate to but in conjunction with the stories being told by the vocals and the lyrics.

Bassist Rowan Roodbaert could easily get lost between the complexity of the dual vocals and dual guitars. However – he makes sure this doesn’t happen. Roodbaert’s bass does more than keep the root notes – or keep the time. At times it walks up the guitars’ tremolo-picked chords, giving a melodic focal point for the audience – and interest. At other times, it provides a counterpoint, responding to the guitarists’ riffs. Still at other times, Roodbaert’s bass has its own melody – and indeed during several points in the gig, it is clear that the guitars have taken over the rhythm duties and Roodbaert moves to take a leading role. This particularly works with the composition of the band – since the vocals are so low, having the bass as a lead instrument is effective: it is in the same aural range and doesn’t have as much to cut through as it might in a band made up with a different balance. He capably harmonises with the guitars at some points and consistently keeps the songs driving forward. Roodbaert is the quintessential, flexible bassist – able to master all trades. Drummer Joost den Vellenknotscher seems like he must be a fun guy – possibly the joker of the band, simply judging by his facial expressions and antics onstage (e.g. stick spinning – and the inexplicable blue balloon tied to his kit). However, the theatrics don’t detract from his performance, which was impeccable. He manages time changes and extra bars that – well, if the tremolo picked rhythm guitar sections are across the street from power metal, this drumming is sitting on prog’s front porch. Occasional spurts of almost thrash-quick pounding show that Vellenknotscher isn’t above ‘hitting things’ (to quote Terry Pratchett). Meanwhile, his finesse with other, more intricate sections prove his pendulum-like  (the clock part, not the band) sense of timing, which keeps the whole performance on track, on tempo and on time.

Overall, judging by the crowd reaction – and the cries for more encores – Heidevolk was well and truly overdue for a headline slot in the UK. They more than lived up to the hype they generated. Graciously thanking the support bands, organiser, backstage crew and the crowd, they also proved themselves to be gracious and modest. As the lights came back up after their set and dazed metalheads started to find their ways resignedly to the doors, it was clear that tonight the crowd had witnessed something pretty folkin’ special [Ed – NO MORE PUNS! PLEASE!]. [5/5]

Melissa Adams

Photography by James David Brough.

Jorvik Festival 2013: Let’s get Pillaged

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 20th January 2013 by underthenorthernstar

This February, the annual Jorvik Viking festival will be underway, and those of us who were there last year will be getting very excited indeed around this time. Why? Well, the lovely people at Asgard Promotions brought us a stunning show in the form of the mighty Tyr last year, and they plan to pull it off again; this year, they’ve managed to secure folk metal heavyweights Heidevolk for us, not to mention the devastatingly good Irish black metallers Celtachor and stunning Yorkshire symphonic-y folk-y metal outfit Cryptic Age. Aren’t they brilliant? Go and buy tickets and/or some of their excellent selection of Viking/Celtic jewellery HERE. Tickets are only 15 quid, and we can assure you, VM was there last year; this event is phenomenal.

Celtachor have just released their debut album, Nine Waves from the Shore, which you can purchase/listen to HERE, as did Cryptic Age with the recent Sounds of Infinity. Get it HERE.

Also, Heidevolk just released a new music video; Here is Als De Dood Weer Naar Ons Lacht!



Alasdair “Scotch Egg” Dunn

Brid Rocks 2012: Day One

Posted in Festival, Live with tags , , , , , , , on 23rd August 2012 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

First Principle, Cryptic Age, Alice In Thunder and More
Bridlington Sports & Community Centre
Saturday 18th August

And once again, it was that time of year for Brid Rocks Open Air, the low-key, family-friendly and more diverse answer to bigger festivals like Download and Bloodstock. The line-up for this year boasted some of the acts from last year such as Cryptic Age, Alice in Thunderland and Ravenage along with some new, different acts such as Rebecca Arundell and Pandemonium.

Opening up the proceedings were Bridlington’s own young hard rocking upstarts First Principle. This was the first time I’d seen them with new bassist, Patrick Hogg. The young trio bombarded the crowd with an arsenal of clean sounding riffs mixed with punchy basslines and acute drum work. The trio show a lot of potential for such a young band, displaying some well written pieces such as the catchy song Astronaut and the more 50s sounding Into The Blue. Frontman Martin Secker’s vocal stylings went down a treat with the crowd, especially when First Principle paid a powerful, hard rockin’ tribute to Led Zepplin with The Immigrant Song.

https://www.facebook.com/FirstPrinciple

FIRST PRINCIPLE

Bringing a new sound to the stage were covers band Renegade, who despite being an entertaining live act, lacked in the vocal department though their performance of Bye Bye Baby (originally by The Basic Rollers) had a very raw sound that was near-beautifully performed. The frontman beamed with charisma through the entire, almost flawless set.

It was the hour of twilight by the time York’s power-folk metallers Cryptic Age descended down on the stage at Brid Rocks, which added to the haunting and ethereal atmosphere of their set as they conjured forth the dark, symphonic stylings of Perpetually Blind and Eternity Beckons. The sea of lights that illuminated the band added to the haunting feel that radiated from their set. The folk-orientated Horsemen of the Vale encouraged a few members of the crowd to dance as Cryptic Age wrought folkin’ havoc down upon the crowd with a blend of a clean sound, angelic vocals and masterful musicianship.

https://www.facebook.com/crypticage

CRYPTIC AGE

Night had fully fallen as Bridlington’s own classic rockers Alice In Thunderland called forth an enhanced sound. This was their second performance with new guitarist Chris I’Anson, who sounded as if he’d been in the band since they first formed. AIT blasted through tracks such as Hey Hey, which they dedicated to everyone who had bought a ticket, and a thrashy, face-melting version of Crazy Train, while new guitarist Chris incorporated some new exotic sounds in the set such as Arabic-styled solos and some new, fresher modern influence.

https://www.facebook.com/AliceInThunderlandUK

ALICE IN THUNDERLAND

Sadly, I had left before Isengard (Not to be confused with Fenriz’s Isengard) had set up as I due elsewhere for another gig though I had been informed the next day that they had performed well.

Nico Davidson

PHOTOGRAPHY BY DAVID FERRET TAYLOR – http://facebook.com/DFTPhotography

“Sounds Of Infinity” Album Launch @ Fibbers, York

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , on 17th June 2012 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Cryptic Age, Ravenage
Fibers, York
26th May 2012

Having been fans of Cryptic Age since seeing them play the Bloodstock Metal 2 the Masses heat in Selby last year, my friends and I were anticipating the ‘Sounds of Infinity’ launch with excitement. The line-up on the bill did not disappoint. In fact, the evening was so enjoyable that we christened the evening ‘Yorkstock’. Unfortunately, I was not able to see the first or third bands of the evening – due to arriving shortly before Ravenage began their set and human needs for food and alcohol.

Ravenage’s unique blend of medieval-inspired folk metal was catchy and infused the crowd with excitement. Taking to the stage, the band created instant impact with plain medieval tunics. This could be gimmicky for a band who lacked the talent to back it up – however, Ravenage’s members possess talent in spades. They also don’t become too hyperbolic with the image so it adds to the overall effect of their music – rather than detracting – and is fun, rather than cheesy.

When watching Ravenage, their prolific stage experience is clear. They are tighter than medieval churches’ thumbscrews and their stage presence is second to none – even including bands signed to major labels. Their solidity as a unit is driven by the talented drummer ‘Eldgrim’, who engineers the machine steadily forward throughout the set. (More on ‘Eldgrim’ later, in his set as Cryptic Age’s drummer). Bassist ‘Ragnar’ expertly provides the glue that adheres the lead section to the drums. Ragnar does more as a bassist than simply provide root notes, adding a unique dimension to the music.

Guitarists ‘Dagstyrr’ and ‘Einar’ proficiently make their guitars sing, cry, laugh and tell a thousand stories of times long forgotten. Their melodies are catchy, which is necessary for a band that is so close to black metal in genre. It is keyboardist ‘Windrider’ who cements the band’s identifiable sound as so unique. Though rarely used as a lead instrument, the atmosphere generated through well-chosen effects and distinctive harmonies furthers the archaic image of the band. Windrider also skilfully adds deep, growling backing vocals to highlight and counterplay key phrases.

Vocalist ‘Glyn the Heralder’ is a gifted frontman and works the crowd like silly putty, vigorously moving across the stage. Glyn’s powerful, aggressive, growled vocals are melodic and his lyrics are always clear. He adeptly manipulates his voice, both on longer, extended phrases and on faster lyrics that fire, with machine-gun intensity, at the crowd.

Overall, Ravenage were a thoroughly enjoyable experience, like getting out of a bath of mead and wrapping yourself in a blanket of homespun cotton. They certainly left the crowd enthusiastic both for ‘More Beer’ – and for more metal!

The Germans are well known for creating long words that encompass ideas (e.g. schadenfreude). To adapt this phenomenon to English – and to describe Cryptic Age – the best word would be ‘MysteriousepicmelodicfolkCelticdifferentprogressivemetal’.

Adorning the stage were large banners of the album’s cover art, advertising the CD, further adding to the festival atmosphere. Despite somewhat cramping the stage, they definitely looked impressive and professional. There isn’t another band quite like Cryptic Age but their performance on the 26th definitely put them in the league with bands such as Nightwish and Within Temptation.

Drummer Alex Bransden (recovered from his set with Ravenage) was a metronome, ably managing numerous tempo and time signature changes, driving the band’s performance forward. He skilfully shifts between tribal-like drumming, steady, driving beats and faster, almost thrash-like double kick.

The bass guitar is an often overlooked instrument. When bands have only a single guitar (as Cryptic Age does), the bassist’s normal duties double. Tom Keeley provided a solid, driving engine, an almost thrumming, pulsing beat, while still providing some countermelody and harmony. He also seemed to be genuinely enjoying himself, grinning from ear to ear and headbanging his way through the set.

Hallam Smith’s guitar work was spectacular – he pulled double duty both as a rhythm player beneath keyboard solos and as a lead instrument. His rhythm work was solid and driving and he clearly enjoys an intuitive relationship with Keeley. His lead work ranged from intricate and technical to passionate and emotive – while technically an extremely skilled player, Smith is able to express, through six strings, a gauntlet of emotions, adding to the dramatic effect of the music.

As with Ravenage, it is the keyboards (and folky melodies) that really set Cryptic Age apart from other metal bands. Frontwoman and keyboardist Jenny Green utilises well-chosen effects and has skilfully chosen melodies that conjure up a variety of images – from a wind-swept plain to an Irish pub to a fairy realm to a classical concert hall.  Green’s keyboard expertise was clearly prevalent on the 26th – they sounded the same live as they do on the recording. The band makes use of Green’s skills effectively, including long, instrumental sections that still have a lot of variety, holding the audience’s interests.

Of course, Green’s main function is to serve as a vocalist and frontwoman. She has a wonderfully effortless coloratura soprano voice, easily climbing up to top Bs and Cs without sounding like she is straining. The image her voice conjures up is of someone reclining on a cloud – high, relaxed and floating. Her voice easily sits on top of the music, pitch-perfect – and it really is its own instrument, telling its own stories. Fortunately as well, due to clever orchestration (and talent) Green is able to perform both keyboard and vocalist duties to a high standard, so that the one does not detract from the other.

Overall, Cryptic Age’s ‘Sounds of Infinity’ album launch was a thoroughly enjoyable evening, further solidifying their place as a talented, unique band ready to take the world by storm.

“Take me away / let me be free / show me the way / to infinity.” That you did, Cryptic Age. That you certainly did.

Melissa ‘Aonia’ Adams

Cryptic Age – Sounds Of Infinity

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , on 11th June 2012 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Cryptic Age
Sounds Of Infinity
Released 26th May 2012
Power-Folk Metal
Self-Released

Cryptic Age are a relatively young band on the metal scene but they’ve already penned a mighty beginning to what could be a very long legacy which includes sharing the stage with folk metal legends Skyclad and black metal heroes Hecate Enthroned, as well as the release of their debut EP last year and it doesn’t end there, Cryptic Age will be sharing the stage with Latvian folk metal heavyweights Skyforger in September at the first ever Warhorns Festival, as well as playing Metalcamp a month before and this year has seen the release of their first full-length release: Sounds Of Infinity, an album that I’ve been waiting to hear since they announced they were recording it. I think it’s safe to say I may have got a little excited when I received it.

Sheayn ny Feaynid is the first track of the album and what a way to begin the album. The dark orchestration and monologue create a very mythic yet tragic sound which really does set the mood. Maelstrom follows next with a powerful symphonic sound blended in more hard rock styled riffs. The vocals are impeccable, adding an undoubtful spirit to the track. The chorus is very poignant, staying with you long after listening to the song. The tribal-like drumming of Fortuneteller signals in a change of sound for the album, with a use of exotic sounding riffs that tease the ears in a similar manner to a fine wine teasing the taste buds. The vocals are very harrowing, which suits the mystical and exotic soundings of the keyboards and the callous guitar and bass sections. The guitar solo embeds a modern sound into the track, which fortunately doesn’t dampen the track.

Horsemen of the Vale signals another change of sound for the album, ushering grand, majestic and epic riffs. The vocal sections are very arioso and dulcet. The keyboards really shine out in parts of the song, keeping the symphonic element strong. The end of the song has a genius touch with the sound of a glass smashing followed “Bloody Lancashire bastard. I’ll have ya!” – Though I doubt anyone other than Yorkshire folk will appreciate that section. The beginning of The Aftermath sounds like a scene from 300 before the Ensiferum-like riffs ravage through the speakers like a horde of angry Celts. The vocals, much like the guitars and drum sections, are strong yet aggressive. The monologue towards the halfway point of the track is mystifying and enchanting and the section that follows after is a beautiful yet savage mixture of symphonic and heavy elements. The calmer section, composed of flutes leads back into the Ensiferum-like riffs, rather masterfully. Sea Invocation is possibly the most bewitching song on the album, containing a medieval essence. It’s an unexpected track and yet it fits ever so perfectly on the album. It’s certainly a track any fans of Celtic music.

Perpetually Blind (Sounds of Infinity: Part I) begins with an enchanting vocal melody that gradually leads into a mighty symphonic piece. The guitar riffs are interesting, sounding like a twisted power metal riff. The symphonic parts of the track add a very august sound to the track, making it feel more tragic than one of Shakespeare’s plays. The next track Eternity Beckons (Sounds Of Infinity: Part II) carries on the aphotic sound, with the vocals sounding extra gloomy whilst the guitars and drums thrum on like a finely tuned machine. The monologue adds a mystique to the track, fitting in well with the aphotic sound of the quadrilogy. Seeking The Cure (Sounds of Infinity: Part III) begins with a keyboard section that eerily sounds like something from a Final Fantasy game mixed in with a dash of post-Tarja Nightwish. The orchestration and guitars make or an interesting blend throughout the track, as do the drums in certain sections. One of the most interesting sections of the song is the bluesy solo. Sounds Of Infinity (Sounds Of Infinity: Part IV) ushers in the end of the album, beginning with a whisper followed by a callous and heavy barrage of guitars, drums and keys. The Gaelic sound parts of the song certainly conjure up one’s inner Celt (or in my case, one’s Scottish and Irish heritage), adding a unique, hypnotic sound to the album. The vocals are mesmerizing and dynamic, enforcing the unique sound of the song, while the guitars and bass are more on the aggressive, inserting some fierce excitement to the track.

I’m not quite sure how to summarise my thoughts on the album into one last paragraph as I’ve never heard an album quite like this. Each track seems to take on a life of its own and tells a different story through the music. Cryptic Age have surpassed so many bands of their genre with this release and have proven themselves, once again, a folkin’ force to be reckoned with. Cryptic Age are definitely one of the finest folk metal bands on the scene and Sounds Of Infinity might just become an influential album on the scene.

5/5

Nico Davidson

Interview: Jenny Green [Cryptic Age]

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , , on 5th June 2012 by markssonofjorvik

For York based Folk Metal band CRYPTIC AGE 2012 is going to be one hell of a year and a year that should see them truly emerge and blossom on to the scene. This is the year that Cryptic Age release their debut album entitled ‘Sounds Of Infinity’ and for a teaser if you visit their website you can stream the excellent new track from the album, ‘Eternity Beckons’.

If you think that is all the band have on though you’d better guess again. This year will see Cryptic Age grace the stage at both the Metalcamp Festival in Slovenia as well as the Warhorns Festival right here in York with the mighty Skyforger.

So with all that in mind, here is what keyboard player and vocalist Jenny Green had to say on all things Cryptic Age, from the new album to metalcamp with a stop off on the Isle Of Man for good measure.

With this being your debut album, were there any nerves or worries regarding the writing process?

I wouldn’t say nerves, but I think we took a step up from our EP on the quality of the songs. Sometimes we made up a really good riff really fast, but other times we changed things a lot until we thought they sounded good enough.

How do you feel the overall finished article has come out?

We are personally very happy with it. We’ve managed to accumulate a style we were still trying to find with our EP, the overall sound quality is far better than before and the songs flow together very well. And also the artwork is amazing!

Who was responsible for the artwork?

The artwork was done by two guys who make up a small company called Kogain Art. The album art was up for sale, but it was archived on the website so it was pure chance that we managed to find it.

What was the bands inspiration lyrically and musically for Sounds Of Infinity?

Well our inspiration on both musical and lyrical terms for the album came from countless places. We did stick to a few rules though, in that we wanted the album to maintain its overall folky sound which is the bread and butter, while the more symphonic, black, thrash and progressive elements are extra factors of our music that we think give us a unique style.

With the lyrics, we also had a few rules. We wanted to put more Manx Gaelic on there because of popular demand and of course we wanted them to be memorable and visual. The only difference is the sixth track Sea Invocation, which is an arrangement of a Manx traditional song.

So where does your love of folkish/gaelic styles come from?

For me it comes from my upbringing on the Isle of Man. Manx folk music I suppose sounds very similar to Irish music but still has its unique aspects. So we like to maintain a real sense of folk metal which stems from Manx folk music, which gives our sound subtle differences to possibly the more generic folk sound other bands may use. And of course I love folk metal ever since I got into Finntroll and Eluveitie. In fact it’s probably my favourite metal genre.

So part of the new album is a four parter by the same name as the album, whats it about?

Well it’s based off a Manx legend where if you put your head to the ground on top of Dalby mountain, you can hear the sounds of spirits, known as Sheean ny Feaynid. This loosely translates as ‘Sounds of Infinity’ although it also means ‘Sounds from Space’ so I personally wanted to re-capture this theme in the concept of revelation that there is so much more out there than one may first think. The story itself is something we wrote: I play a Manx woman whose husband is out at sea during a terrible storm. Unfortunately he doesn’t make it back alive and I becoming mad with grief. I then remember the legend of Sheean ny Feaynid and set out to Dalby mountain to find them. I finally reach them and then supposedly they take me up so I can be united with my husband once again. However we left the ending very ambiguous. For all we know she could have committed suicide from madness and these spirits never existed, or it could have actually happened. It’s left to the imagination of the listener.

 

Now the new album isn’t the only exciting thing going on with Cryptic Age right now, how did the Metalcamp Festival slot come about?

Well we were very surprised at this – all we did was register our band on the metalcamp website. Then there was some kind of poll as to which unsigned bands should play and we were on there. We thought nothing of it and there was no word on it for months. But then suddenly Hallam got an email from them and there we have it.

Thats amazing, so which bands on the bill are you looking forward to sharing the stage with?

Well the rest of the bands on the second stage are none we have heard of since most come from Slovakia or Croatia, however I’m looking forward to seeing the Furious Horde since they’re symphonic black metal, which I love, and of course they are a band reigning from familiar territory. We also got a message from Avven who said they were looking forward to seeing us. On the first stage there are so many bands I can’t wait to see: Epica, Finntroll, Eluveitie and Scepticflesh to name a few.

That’s going to be an excellent experience, and then you’ve also got a spot at the Warhorns Festival supporting amongst others Skyforger, so would you say 2012 is really going to be the year that boosts your musical career?

Well I never like to predict the future too much, but I can certainly say that we’ve made great progress this year and hopefully next year will be the same!

The new album from CRYPTIC AGE is out right now and you can buy it HERE!