Usually at this time of year the Ed gets all us monkeys to sort out a “Top 20 Of The Year” list. Most of the time it’s a piece of piss, there will be some A. absolutely outstanding releases from big names…. B. some new shit from bands you’ve not heard of that blow your socks off and C. some utter tripe….like Cradle Of Filth. Anyway, this debut from Crypts Of Despair is firmly in “column B”.

These Lithuanians have carved a bestial monster here with “The Stench Of The Earth” and Testimony Records have landed another killer band.

The band was formed in 2009 in Kauna, Lithuania by S.K. (drums), J.Ž. (bass/vocals) and V. (guitars). This power trio was later joined by D.A. (guitars/vocals) who is now the sole guitarist.  The band gigged and played some local festivals before going into hibernation 2013 for reasons unknown.

Come 2016 and the lads emerged from whatever foul smelling tomb they’d been snoring away in and were joined by second guitarist  B.J. (stop sniggering) and they set about writing and rehearsing this record.

The usual DM themes of hatred towards humanity, death worship and the occult lead the way…. well, they’re not gonna wail on about relationship breakdowns now are they?

Musically Crypts Of Despair fuse a heady blend of bestial brutality with an old school DM vibe. Dual vocals, frenzied & fuzzy (fuzzied?) chugging riffage are at the forefront and are underpinned with a very tribal sounding rhythm section. The instrumental title track opens and brilliantly captures an atmosphere of total dread which pervades the whole record. Whether it’s on the vertebrae worrying stomp of “77” or the martial pit friendly “Enslaved In Blasphemy” the boys kill it. Crypts Of Despair do not fuck about, they exist to put the shits up you. Imagine Hooded Menace on 78rpm and you’ll have a bit of a clue. “Monuments Of Fear” is my stand out track on the album with a beautifully chilling intro (reminds me a bit of the theme to “28 Days Later”) giving way to a bowel shredding helter skelter riff.

You can probably count the amount of quality Lithuanian bands on the fingers of a one armed man who subsequently suffered a nasty lathe accident. With the consistency shown here as well as the power and song writing chops, Crypts Of Despair deserve to be at the very top of that list.

Well recommended.

(9/10 Mark Eve)