When two parts Origin, two parts Gorguts and one part Foaming At The Mouth combine, you end up with a death-black fusion resulting in what people will undoubtedly label as a ‘Supergroup’. In this instance, the fusion of these elements above leads to Crator, a fearsome four piece right out of New York. Consisting of John Longstreth (Origin, Unmerciful, ex-Gorguts) on drums, Jason Keyser (Origin, ex-Skinless, Mucopus) handling the vocal duties, Colin Marston (Gorguts, Dysrhythmia, Krallice) on the low end and Jeff Leifer (Foaming At The Mouth, Tentacles) rounding things off on the guitar have joined forces with the intent of delivering some hard hitting metal… So let’s see if this is more making strides or destroying reputations.
With a growing surge and real sense of power, “The Ouroboros Is Broken” comes in hard, hitting like a truck with some serious metal force in it. Drawing an instant feel of familiarity to the sounds slung by legendary metal misfits Strapping Young Lad in the way of how it is controlled chaos in its most pure form, this technical death metal onslaught really pulls no punches. Intricate guitar and bass riffs are punctuated with insanely intricate fills from the respective instruments and the drums are just astonishingly tight. Vocally, it’s pretty much like every other technical leaning death metal band, it’s raw, it’s harsh and it has some intensity behind it. With the proficiency of all four members on display, it’s clear to see why Crator could be a band who you would label a supergroup. Like Katalepsy, Revocation and Psycroptic turned up to 11 and beefed up with influences from the respective member’s own projects and bands, it’s a real force to be reckoned with.
The onslaught doesn’t stop there though. Intricate arrangements, finger melting displays from both the bass and the guitar and some pretty damn intense drum work make a real statement across the entire album, all spearheaded by the vocal assault. As tight and precise as this is, as expected from a band who have huge ties to the technical death metal styling’s, it does have a very familiar feel to it. That feel of course is the majority of this subgenre of Death Metal – it’s all very conforming to what you would expect. The buzzing and intricate guitar lines, dissonant and angular stabbed chords to give some strange melodic progression and basslines right out of the Steve DiGiorgio playbook which bounce from simplistic to full on fluid virtuosity, it’s very much the staple sounds and approaches. The same is for the drums, fast and relentless, displaying near inhuman levels of stamina and time keeping almost up there with the atomic clock himself, Gene Hoglan, it’s a case of this has all been heard before.
Even if it has all been heard before in some way or another, it still doesn’t stop it from being a rather delightful listen. With each track of the album starting with the word ‘The’, it seems like this album is a statement of intent from the band and given the influences and the reputation and ability of the band members present, it’s hard not to see the intent, especially with tracks like “The Judge On War” with its intense, angular feel and virtuoso styled bass line, the title track’s haunting dissonance which lingers in the air around it as it plows on with that trademark sterile and heavy sound and ferocious vocal delivery. “The Great Stagnation” isn’t a referral to trying to fill space on the release as its technical solo laden intro erupts into a furious assault of blastbeats and riffs brimming with real fire behind them, but this does seem like some kind of omen for the rest of the album as the remaining tracks pretty much all consist of the same construction and sound. The technical delivery is spot on, the vocal work is fantastic and the songs themselves sound great, but like most tech-death metal bands, it does require a lot of patience and focus to really listen as the differences between tracks are often subtle, be it timing wise and tempo with the groove and polyrhythmic aspects, or the amount of fret wizardry on offer, or how many times it may lapse into breakdown feel sections.
Solid throughout but often sterile and at times a bit repetitive, “The Ones Who Create, The Ones Who Destroy” is a fierce and heavy onslaught of technically precise death metal which holds plenty of promise, but ultimately hangs in the balance in the whole cycle of things. If only it had that spark of life or intrigue to really shove it forwards.