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Cryptic Age - "Sounds of Infinity" (CD)

Cryptic Age - "Sounds of Infinity" CD cover image

"Sounds of Infinity" track listing:

1. Sheean ny Feaynid (2:15)
2. Maelstrom (4:10)
3. Fortuneteller (7:43)
4. Horsemen of the Vale (5:16)
5. The Aftermath (6:59)
6. Sea Invocation (4:54)
7. Sounds of Infinity I: Perpetually Blind (6:09)
8. Sounds of Infinity II: Eternity Beckons (5:43)
9. Sounds of Infinity III: Seeking the Cure (7:20)
10. Sounds of Infinity IV: Sounds of Infinity (6:20)

Reviewed by on July 22, 2012

"'Sounds of Infinity' is definitely rough around the edges and Cryptic Age solidly remains in the second tier of folk metal, but since there aren’t that many female-fronted acts of this variety, it’s still worth hearing for any folk fans."

Following the interesting mix of folk and power metal from previous EP “Homeland,” Cryptic Age is out now with a debut full-length to further the band’s sound as it gains steam and works its way up the scene. “Sounds of Infinity” is definitely rough around the edges, as many debuts tend to be, and Cryptic Age solidly remains in the second tier of folk metal, but since there aren’t that many female-fronted acts of this variety, it’s still worth hearing for any folk fans.

A problem that plagues the whole album and hinders enjoyment of the music is the mix, which is frankly terrible, although not “basement black metal” terrible. Everything is a little fuzzy and the instruments and vocals are constantly vying for the loudest spot, with the drums also frequently sounding muffled and far away. With the amount of repetition present, and the overuse of a flute and guitar combo, the overly long song lengths also detract from the experience.

Those issues aside, musically “Sounds of Infinity” still has plenty of positive aspects that deserve to be heard. There are segments that have the full-on folk metal vibe, like Korpiklaani with female vocals and an emphasis on guitar work, but the album as a whole uses a variety of different styles. Strong thrash elements are present, along with some power metal vibes, and plenty of the music would fit well in a fantasy video game soundtrack. Overall the folk aspects mesh easily into the metal, with the only exceptions being the over-the-top and odd sounds on “Maelstrom” and “Fortuneteller.”

The album’s crowning achievement is easily the four part “Sounds of Infinity” series that ends the disc. “Perpetually Blind” begins the series with an epic building sound that gives a feeling of gearing up for battle, and if it weren’t for the female vocals, much of the song arc would come off as symphonic extreme metal with a thrash chaser. The twists continue throughout the song arc, such as on “Seeking the Curve,” which has a well placed psychedelic, prog-rock style guitar solo.

With better sound quality and an expansion of the sound from the four track ending song arc, Cryptic Age has the potential to be a strong force in the folk metal scene. As it stands, the full-length album may have been a bit premature however, as an EP consisting of just “The Aftermath” and the last four songs would have come off much stronger.

Highs: Good blend of different styles with a strong folk element.

Lows: Someone fell asleep at the wheel with the production, and the songs don't warrant such extended lengths.

Bottom line: Cryptic Age combines folk, power, thrash and more in an overall rough debut full-length that shows a lot of potential.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)