To say this is an improvement over their previous is one hell of an understatement. EVERYTHING that made CRYPTOPSY's debut record such a gem in the world of Death Metal has been improved tenfold.
Although the band went through a line-up change (guitarist Steve Thibault and bassist Martin Fergusson left the band and current bassist Eric Langlois joined), it was at its creative peak during this point, with the entire band going full throttle. The drums and guitars are mixed MUCH better this time (unlike the previous album where the drum sound was just 'there' and the guitars were buried under every other instrument), giving into effect a much heavier and more powerful wall of sound. This time around, however, the riffs are longer, the drumming is much more diverse (Flo seemed to have a little trouble keeping the hyper-blast (A variation of the blast beat) steady for long periods of time on the first album, but he doesn't here), the bassist slaps the bass every now and then, the guitarist plays psychotic and hallucinogen-inspired riffs that are open ended so that the songs remain unpredictable and the vocalist is just shrieking at the top of his lungs and growling from his bowels, using his voice not as a melodic instrument, yet as something that just adds to the general chaotic feel.
The greatest thing about this band is that the riffs are almost totally atonal, therefore not really confined to any scalar nor theoretical confinements, allowing the songs to be as free-formed as the band wants them to be. Couple this with the fact that CRYPTOPSY's main musical goal is not only to beat the shit out of their listener, but also to do so in unpredictable manners and quite a scary feeling is induced.
Oddly enough, the songs now have a much more unique flavour to them than before. The album is more chaotic, faster, heavier and more technical and the songs are more identifiable this time around. It somehow does not fall into the trap that most Brutal Death Metal bands seem to be stuck in and creates identifiable songs by varying the speed, mood and/or feel of the general structure of the song. Although the songs are described as free-formed and chaotic, everything seems to be held together with a thin layer of coherence tying everything together.
One thing I have got to mention though is the GENIUS use of the piano on "Phobophile". If that is not a form of musical reverse psychology, I don't know what is. The songs starts off with a slow, haunting and beautiful piano melody and due to the nature of CRYPTOPSY's music, you'll probably be expecting that the whole band will just speed through anytime during that section, yet it doesn't. Then a bass riff ensues, lulling you to believe that the song will have some sort of build up, but lo and behold, the whole band comes crashing through like a damn freight train. Bloody genius, I tell you.
All factors that were a reason to get the first album are present on this one, but they have also been improved. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. (Online December 29, 2003)