cryptopsy_the_best_of_us_bleedThere’s no denying that Cryptopsy is one of the most forward thinking and genre-bending bands within the extreme metal scene. Especially “None So Vile” (1996), “Whisper Supremacy” (1998) and “And Then You’ll Beg” (2000) are still viewed as landmark records. The band surrounding drummer extraordinaire Flo Mounier received quite a dent in their armor after the release of the lacklustre “The Unspoken King” (2008). However, Cryptopsy bounced back with their self titled album earlier this year. With the band’s reputation back on track again Century Media decided to release a compilation album featuring all the finest cuts from this Quebecois outfit.

Frankly, I usually discard compilation albums as cheap cash grabbers for labels and for bands an easy way to fulfil contractual obligations. However, “The Best Of Us Bleed” does offer quite a bang for your buck. The whole package is divided in two different albums, both highlighting a different aspect from Cryptopsy. The first record, entitled “16 Stabwounds” focusses on the period from “Whisper Supremacy” until “The Unspoken King”, with three previously unreleased tracks in the form of ‘Boden’, ‘A Graceful Demise’ and ‘Holodomo’. The band doesn’t shy away from including three tracks from the notorious “The Unspoken King” album. A bold move in my book. Another notable thing is that the tracks from the Mike DiSalvo-era sound stood the test of them very well. In fact, they still sound as vibrant as they did more than a decade ago. Especially ‘We Bleed’, ‘Voice Of Unreason’ and ‘Cold Hate, Warm Blood’ have aged very well.

The second disc, entitled “Bury The Past Alive”, focusses on the band’s early demo days to “None So Vile”, arguably Cryptopsy’s true high-water mark. From that album ‘Phobophile’, ‘Slit Your Guts’ and ‘Crown Of Horns’ made the cut. It shows what can be achieved when you have one of the most gifted vocalists in extreme metal in the person of Lord Worm in your band and the rest is just as talented. These guys were really light years ahead of their time. “Blasphemy Made Flesh” is also represented with two songs, namely ‘Abigor’ and ‘Defenestration’.

The rest of the album is filled with live versions from separate eras, namely 1998, 2003 and 2004, offering a nice glimpse in the trademark Cryptopsy live mayhem. The last four songs come from the very demo that earned the band its contract with Century Media, thus coming full-circle.

Unlike many compilation albums, “The Best Of Us Bleed” is actually worth purchasing. This goes for hardcore Cryptopsy fans like yours truly. It offers a great chronological oversight of the musical extremities and development of Flo Mounier and Co over the past 20 years. Impressive!

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