Thrash metal is an organic instrument of malicious intent that when executed correctly, can shift entire hoards of people into lunatics. Cryptic Slaughter is a diamond in the rough that strikes viciously and swiftly, their swords are sharpened guitars and blitzing percussion. Rushed from the punk-esque vocals and the over-the-top guitar solos, Cryptic Slaughter moves from the sunny beaches of Santa Monica, California, into your home and around your mental within minutes. Not only is their sound a universal groundbreaker for thrash music, but it was a quick manipulator of other artists that surrounded Cryptic Slaughter, spawning a wave of rapid assaults that seemed nearly endless.
Their debut full-length record, Convicted is a monumental punch and manages to shake the airwaves and punish the Earth as it moves; striking fear into those who get surrounded in the noisy cloud. From the first seconds of “M.A.D.” where the bass and percussion hit together in syncopated rhythms to build this sudden push within the musical lines and a push for a revolution in the pits, Cryptic Slaughter is angrier than ever from start to finish. With Bill Crooks handling the vocals, Les Evans on guitar, Rob “Blasko” Nicholson, and Scott Peterson on the percussion, Cryptic Slaughter was a quick wrecking force of ballistic intent. Every track has an entirely similar sound where it creates the simple but effective, two-step style on the percussion with hi-hats and cymbals crashing and clashing every moment. There is also a sudden audacity behind their actions to make a hybrid animal of both punk music and hardcore, seamlessly blending the two into one destructive beast.
With several moments appearing to be horrific through lyrical expression, the track “Lowlife” is a sullen mixture of both hopeless questioning and political prowess. From the lines that discuss, “What the hell is going on? I feel like I’m dead, is it life around me… or am I fucked in the head…” to the passage that describes, “…There is no way out, you’ll just have to fight it out. No useless world to save, nuke threat and no escape.” Cryptic Slaughter came up in a time where many artists where describing their disdain for the Reagan Administration and throughout Conviction, there are many references to both Ronald Reagan and the government’s power over the general population.
In the following track “State Control”, Crooks mentions to his audience, “Born to live, then to die, never ask the question why. State control by mindless men, believe in death, they live to win.” There is a sudden disconnect from the thrash sectioning of Cryptic Slaughter as they instead adopt a surf-rock approach for the introduction of the track. A memorable riff that balances between something both new-waving, and the rough edges of punk music. The riff is soon abandoned as the percussion moves back into a two-step that introduces Crooks and the other instrumentalists that rage with iron fists. Cryptic Slaughter decided to run with born-hard aggressive tactics of drilling a message with music and resorting to the primal instincts to display their agenda. It is satisfying however and works well when paired with the constant pounding featured on Convicted.
Even through the noise-ridden tracks that follow, Cryptic Slaughter keeps a mostly consistent style of making the loudest message possible. Whether it be a frantic fight with paranoia, or to the overthrowing of the United States Government, Cryptic Slaughter is a band that brings a new element to a quite old classic sound. One of the originators of thrash/death metal, Convicted is an instrumentalist dream living within the hard-hitting reality. From the rapid guitar work to the final moments of winding down, Cryptic Slaughter does it swiftly and efficiently.