Review: Cryptonym – Automated Predation (Castle Bravo, Jun 1)

Automated Predation is short but sharp as a rusty nail. The new project, which I know pretty much nothing about, combines the aggressive, distorted synths and pounding rhythms of industrial techno with the dark atmosphere and anger of black metal. None of the EP’s nearly twenty-minute run time is wasted, as Cryptonym explores and experiments with the wide territory this combination of styles makes available. “Cavern of Mirror” starts strong with a bitcrushed blast beat and twisting synthscapes, only becoming more awesome when the vocals kick in with a snare that sounds like two giant pieces of sheet metal being smashed together. One of Automated Predation’s main strengths is its use of catchy synth arpeggios, a unifying element across all four tracks despite each one being pretty different. Even on “Speak to Flames,” where a more formless approach is taken, the distinct dark effervescings still push through at the end. And on the EP’s centerpiece, the driving title track, anyone who thinks an electro-infused black metal track can’t get stuck in their head will be proven very wrong. Automated Predation was the tape I was most skeptical about among Castle Bravo’s eclectic mid-year lineup, but ended up being a pretty awesome surprise.