Classic Album Review

A “Convicted” Classic by Cryptic Slaughter

Wave after wave of inundating drum beats and hyper focused riffs shoot through my ears. I can’t stop whipping my head up and down. I wanna thrash and hit bodies in a pit just to feel the pressure of the music like Cryptic Slaughter is screaming about. Music that makes my ears want to melt; music that careens off the edge of highways into the abyss of night; music that creates fissures running through skin and bone – this is the type of sound people look for when we aren’t given enough answers. 

Cryptic Slaughter is one of the earlier thrash and crossover bands to make sounds like this. Starting out in the mid 1980’s, the band jumped onto the scene with a demo, “Life in Grave”, which cemented their early success. The band’s punk sounds combine perfectly with their hardcore attitudes. 

Their first full length release, “Convicted”, was pressed and released by Metal Blade Records in 1986. Cryptic Slaughter thrived on the road and in the studio for a few years before dying as all young bands do with differences of opinions. They resurfaced a few times since dissipating but soon after disappeared back into the grave (Interview from Voices from the Dark Side). 

Cryptic Slaughter, at the time of “Convicted”’s release, had Bill Crooks (Vocals), Les Evans (Guitars), Rob Nicholson (Bass, Vocals (backing)) and Scott Peterson (Drums) as members of the band. The youngest member of the band at the release of the album was about sixteen years old and the oldest weren’t more than a few years older than that. Cryptic Slaughter was just a bunch of kids making waves in the metal scene. 


I wish this album would take me back to the time when it came out. I want to experience how the sounds of heavy drums quaked and rattled the foundations of the venues. I want to feel the rage and pain of everyone in attendance. “Convicted” has a bunch of tracks that make me want to let my fists and legs and body work into the crowd.

Specifically, “M.A.D.”, “Lowlife”, “War to the Knife” and“Reich of Torture” all exhibit the best of berserker inducing noise. They won’t quell the frustrations that so many in attendance like to exhibit at shows. These tracks encourage friendly violence (and that is only a thing in metal/ hardcore). It’s violence you know will be forgiven. Violence and anger at the unjust systems and actions of those holding the reins. 

The most interesting (and ahead of their times) tracks on this album foreshadow the rise of thrash metal.

“Life in the Grave”

This track in particular feels brand new for being released in 1986. If you placed this in the hands of an artist making similar noise today, I would absolutely call this modern metal. 

“Little World”

Quick to anger riffs and sadistic drum beats ring in my ears even after the music is paused. 

“Sudden Death”

Graphic suicidal lyric warning. The opening is dynamite. Gnarly explosive drums issue out earthquakes and aftershocks still coursing through my bones. This track feels so much like early grindcore with punk vocals and lyrics. 

Walking Free from the Prison

“Convicted” stands the test of time. Epic chaos ensues once you hit play. Cryptic Slaughter’s echoes and sharp head pains are a welcoming embrace throughout this piece of music history. I will be checking out Cryptic Slaughter’s later work over the next few weeks to see how their sounds changed throughout their short life. I’m glad I don’t need to ask where the bands making music like this now are at because we just gotta search for them. It’s not too difficult to do a little digging. Also websites like Chosic can help find similar sounding tunes with just a quick search.