When this EP landed on my mat I took one look at the artwork and thought “oh bugger…… he knows I don’t like black metal much”. Old school black and white art with the usual skulls, moons, wonky symbols, tombstones and twigs. Great, another bunch of angry goths trying to summon Satan one burnt shed at a time.

The creepy acoustic intro just underlined where I thought this lot were going and then BOOM! Quicker than you can say “mayhem are over-rated tosh” we were off into track one proper “Self Mummified” and I had to check I hadn’t put an Obituary album on.

This is proper! The simple, chugging riffing & Tardy-esque vocals instantly put a grin on my face and made me feel I’d been had over again…….again.

So….Cryptic Grave is a young three piece French band from Bordeaux and this is their debut release. The lads clearly know and love their old school death metal and do what they do well.

The Obituvibe continues throughout this EP. “Sadistic Funeral”, “Vengeance Of Death” and “Opened Corpse” are all along the same lines. Bit generic but done very well and good fun.

In time I reckon these boys should be able to tweak a few things and stamp their own identity on future releases, however as debut releases go this is pretty damn good.

(7/10 Mark Eve)