Album: Alpha and Omega
Record label: Hagah Recordings
Release date: Reissued 30/04/21
Album length: 35 minutes 47 seconds
Genre: Melodic Death Metal
All Hail Nothing
Alpha And Omega
Silence Of The Sands
Cruentis is a Melodic Death Metal band hailing from British Colombia. This new release, "Alpha and Omega," is actually a remaster of the original EP. Going into this EP, I had my share of assumptions and expectations for what I was going to hear. While some of these were met, Cruentis proved me wrong.
Style: While this is Melodic Death Metal, don't go in expecting tropes. While there are generic aspects, Cruentis has more dynamic sound going through it, especially with the last two tracks. There is plenty of shredding guitars, fast drumming, and frantic screaming to keep the listener entertained. But there are even some symphonic elements here that should not be ignored.
Sound and Mixing: As mentioned before, there are plenty of elements in this release. However, that wouldn't matter if it didn't sound good. The good news here is that "Alpha and Omega" is a great-sounding EP. The guitars all sound crisp, the drums are clear and easy to follow. The bass even comes through in sections and these things are all brought together into a big exclamation point. One issue I found is the mixing of the vocals. While not low quality or bad, the mixing is a little grainy on the vocals. That said, you can hear what is sung. It doesn't get lost in everything else, and that is important in a genre like this.
Songs and Highlights: This whole EP is stellar in terms of each song sounding different and full of absolute bangers. On that note, "All Hail Nothing" is an amazing opening track. It has a lot of bounce and energy that got me truly ready for the rest of the EP. It is short, sweet, and to the point. "All Hail Nothing" is death metal through and through. On the other side of the spectrum, we have "Silence of the Sands." The longest track on this EP, coming in at almost 15 minutes long. It starts off slowly with acoustic guitars and clean singing. Yes, clean singing in a death metal release. The track is lower in the beginning. It takes its time to build up to an explosive finale punctuated with violins, drum fills, and shredding guitars. It truly sounds like the end to an epic story after a final battle. Between these two songs, this is the line that Cruentis follows. The bulk of the album is extremely heavy, while the final two songs, to me, are way more somber, with heaviness coming through in the details.
Reason: This rating is coming from someone who rarely likes melodic death metal, do with that information what you will. This EP is phenomenal, hard to put down, and even harder to not love. The only thing holding this back from a perfect score is the mixing on the vocals, and I would've liked maybe one more song to even things out. While I love the dynamic line that they are walking here, one more slower song would have helped even out the pacing of the EP. But that's more so a preference than an issue. Go buy this EP (opens new window).
Cruentis, (not to be confused with the Nepalese, Italian, and Polish bands with a slight variation in the spelling of the same Latin term), is a Canadian metal band whose intention is to bring authentic Christian values to the metal scene. Alpha and Omega is their second release, having been originally released back in April 2018. While unusual to re-release such a relatively new album, Cruentis has since changed studios and is now signed to Hagah Recordings. Some critics identified the first time around that the bass and drums were a little lost. Founding members Tyler DeMerchant and Jesse Dean seem to have fixed this in the reissue, delivering hard-hitting drums and bass interspersed some with lighter moments of soft piano, strings combined with both melodic and distorted guitar.
Lyrically, the album highlights Tyler's fondness for the poetic; the lyrics are composed of free verse heavy laden with imagery and symbolism with the occasional moment of repetition to drive home the message. The opening track All Hail Nothing directly addresses the Enemy, highlighting the emptiness of Satan's power all the while identifying the fruitlessness of his promises. Alpha and Omega follows up with the sovereignty of God, contrasting His promises and power with the previous track. Reclaimed is where the ambiguity sets in. While the lyrics allude to Jesus with the lines The scars emblazoned in his hands/Sacrificed, for all man, the link is never made explicit. Silence of the Sands further embeds the ambiguity with mentions of a wizard, vampire, and a Siren. However, the last stanza concludes with the protagonist of this song finding the holy trinity of Father, Son, and Spirit making the possible connection that this is what has saved them from the empty mythological connections of the world. The album concludes with Unbroken, a track that alludes to the saving grace of God but doesn't quite state this directly.
Sonically, the album is a blended mix of styles ranging from the early sounds of Metallica and Faith No More through to more modern-sounding death and doom metal bands. All Hail Nothing opens with distorted guitar riffs, heavy drums, and a death-style lyrical growl that sets the tone for the remainder of the album; the melodic guitar undertone remains a presence throughout the record. Alpha and Omega breaks the trend initially with a clean string intro, though soon builds to death growled spoken word before reintroducing the crisply distorted guitar and rhythmic driving drums. In a way, the lyrics are almost like a melodic chant with the odd sprinkling of strings here and there. To some degree this track shares elements of the, I Am album from Becoming the Archetype. Reclaimed continues the growled spoken word, with again a melodic undertone with heavy distinctive elements of bass guitar and drums. Silence of the Sands opens with acoustic strummed chords that are occasionally joined by isolated bass notes. Despite the clean singing that joins in, the tonal variation combined with the lyrics has a doom element. At just under 15 minutes, the track is almost a journey through a landscape and the musical talents of Cruentis. Unbroken breaks the mold yet again with a soft key start that builds to the familiar melodic distortion common throughout the record. Mixing clean and heavy vocals, the style is reminiscent of the aforementioned 90's band, Faith No More.
Overall, the album is a curious mix of styles whose eclectic presentation becomes almost an identifying feature. The reissue brought with it a change in the original track lineup. Instead of the soft opening of Unbroken, the album now opens with All Hail Nothing. I'm torn as to which track sequence I like more. While I'm sold on the musicality of Cruentis, with the often dark and allusive lyrical Christian content, I would recommend this album for those who enjoy an album on its own merits rather than those seeking an inspirational message.
Favourite tracks: All Hail Nothing has a clear message, with some solid growls, melodic distortion, a guitar solo and a strong finish. Definitely a stand out track.