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Cryptex – Once Upon A Time Award winner

Once Upon A Time
by Mike McMahan at 09 June 2020, 10:35 PM

It is a rarity when a song can strike me heavily enough for me to be completely astounded by it. I have been a passionate fan of music since I could understand the power it could wield emotionally and mentally; and at fifty-two years of age, that means a pretty damned long time. I was unprepared, to be certain, for the impact that the bonus track “Closer,” from the new CRYPTEX release “Once Upon A Time,” would have on me. The song is an incredible example of how good an emotionally driven piece of music can truly be. The melodies held within are absolutely gorgeous, and the lyrical content is superb - a dark walk into the fires of relationships renewed. The song hints at heavier leanings in a few spots, breaking away from its central musical theme briefly, but it never crosses that barrier. If I had to recommend an album on the virtues of one song alone, this would be enough to get the job done. Thankfully, that is far from the case.

CRYPTEX is a three-piece band (four, counting drummer Simon Schroder) hailing from Northern Germany. They are an interesting mixture of styles, culminating in what can only be described as Progressive Metal. They are quite intricate in both their writing and musicianship, and their subject matter is often as diverse and heady as bands such as FATES WARNING and some of the earlier work of QUEENSRYCHE. “Once Upon A Time” is the band’s third release, and listening to some of the earlier recordings, seems to carry forward the musical growth one might expect from a band working for better than a decade.

I could talk about each individual song on this album and would come up with the same conclusions on all: that they are masterful pieces of music. There are several moments that demand attention, and I will cover a few of them. “Bloodmoon,” the first released single and video from the record, is a shining example of the diversity I have already mentioned. The song ranges from poetic ballad to heavy Prog in the blink of an eye and combines lyrical mysticism throughout. “Reptiles” utilizes some fine guitar work throughout its introduction and falls into one of the album’s heavier moments. “A Mo(u)rning” is a beautiful (though short), mostly instrumental piece that leaves the listener with a sense of strong foreboding.

If this album is the band’s signature statement thus far, I am definitely listening. I reviewed the release from DEAD VENUS a short while back, and stated it was the strongest I had heard this year. This album is its equal. Between the two of them, I could keep myself amused for the remainder of the year.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. Once Upon A Time
2. Because The Reason Is You
3. Bloodmoon
4. Body Language
5. Two Horned Crown
6. Haunted
7. Reptiles
8. I Don’t Know Why
9. The Promise Keeper
10. I See It In Your Eyes
11. A Mo(u)rning
12. Leaving
13. Closer
Simon Moskin – Vocals/Keyboards
Andre Jean Henri Martens – Guitars
Marc Andrejkovits – Bass

Guest Musician:
Simon Schroder – Drums
Record Label: SPV/Steamhammer Records


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