Canada's death grind merchants Cryptopsy have bounced around record labels since 1994's debut, "Blasphemy Made Flesh". 1996 saw the release of "None So Vile", and to go along with the change of record labels, Cryptopsy experienced personnel changes also. And so now, in 1998, they have once again changed labels and members. Firmly entrenched in the Century Media Records camp, I spoke with the newest member, vocalist Mike, while on the road with the Death Across America Tour. With just about ten shows under their belts, they were getting ready to play the Metal hot bead of America, Texas, the evening we spoke. Here is Mike impressions of touring and Metal in general.

Interview by Anne "the American Metalgoddess"      


You're on the Death Across America tour with Opressor, Nile and Gorguts. How's it going?
It's totally amazing! Even on slow nights, Mondays, Tuesdays, the shows have been going good. It's what we need. I think it's a breath of fresh air.

Did you expect this kind of reaction?
With all four bands having a buzz, and the package the way it was, we knew it'd be something else! But at some of the shows we weren't expecting the kind of turnouts we're getting. We just played Atlanta, Georgia, and it was crazy! The crowd was totally into it. The kids were up on the stage! You could feel the energy from the entire crowd. Most of the shows have been like that. So I guess you could say it's been better than we expected.

What has been your best show so far?
I'd have to say Montreal. But Atlanta was great also. The power went out, and the people still stuck around. It was out for about an hour before it went back on, but everyone waited it out.

Montreal is your hometown, you always do well there, right?
Oh yeah, Montreal has a crazy scene. No matter who you are they come out and support you, keep the scene alive. That's why it has remained a hot spot for so long. No matter who the hell you are they'll come and check you out.

And you're touring with fellow Canadians Gorguts...
Yeah and sharing the same club wagon! They're all speaking French and I'm chilling out in the back with my CD player.

You're actually American.
Yeah, I'm from Boston.

You knew these guys before you joined.
Yes. I was in a band from Boston called Infestation. We used to go up to Canada and play shows with Cryptopsy. As a matter of fact, when I was in Canada with Infestation, opening for Cryptopsy, I met my girlfriend. We had a long distance relationship for a couple of years, and then I married her! So I moved to Canada. Around the same time I got married and moved, Cryptopsy needed a singer and approached me. I told them I had to think about it. I wanted to weigh it all out because I just got married and all that shit. I wanted to make sure I made the right choice. I know I did. I knew what my answer was going to be when they asked me, so I really didn't think about it too long!

So it really worked out for you!
Yeah, if that isn't fate, I don't know what the hell is!

What do you think of Gorguts reforming?
I think it's great! Just listen to Obscura. They've got the craziest riffs going on! They've been through this before; they know what to expect. Seeing them get up there every night and playing like they do is a bit of an inspiration.

The reason I ask that question is that they were part of a first wave of Death Metal that happened in the early nineties. Do you think Cryptopsy is part of a second wave of Death Metal?
I feel that could be a possibility. The buzz for this tour is tremendous. We're hoping this tour will give people a sense of security that this music is not gone. That there is something fresh, something new coming. Sure, we want to be part of it. We want to help keep the scene alive. That's what we're all about, playing music we enjoy, and project that on to other people. As much as we enjoy it, we want others to enjoy it also.

Death Metal has always been there; its popularity has just gone up and down. In the early nineties, there were tours like this all the time. But around '94,'95, a tour like this could not get off the ground. Just the fact that it's happening again in 1998 makes me feel good about Death Metal and extreme Metal growing big and getting strong again.
I think so too. Not to knock any other bands, but the ones that have been coming around all the time, I think people are tired of them. This tour is something new. I think it can rebound a tired scene. People have been coming up to us thanking us for coming down, for bringing the package to their towns! They haven't had so much fun in years! That makes us feel good! We're here because we want to be. It makes us feel a whole lot better that people are enjoying it.

I hear you're all over the place up there on stage. What gets into you?
(Laughs) The music! I have to say it's a demon in me. It's like a bomb setting off. You're up there, and you can do whatever the fuck you want. And I do. I just go with it. Go with the flow.

How was the transition with you taking over vocals?
Very smooth. I learned all the songs in six weeks. The only thing though, was filling in Lord Worms's shoes. It was something that played in the back of my mind. He was a guy that was respected for sure. I feel comfortable now, and the band is comfortable with me. My first live show with Cryptopsy, when the band went on, Lord Worm was on stage with them. He started the first song with the band. Halfway through, he fell down and 'died' onstage. I came out dragging a coffin, put him in it and finished the song. The crowd went nuts! I felt accepted right away. We also wanted to show the parting was amicable.

How much influence did you have on the writing of material for "Whisper Supremacy"?
I wrote lyrics for six of the eight songs. Two of the songs were finished when I came in. Those two will have lyrics by Lord Worm. All of us have an important role in composing and arranging. I don't play an instrument, but I have some say as to what parts work well in certain spots. We're altogether when the arrangements are done, we all have a say in that. Its not like someone comes in with a finished song and says this is the way it is. This band is a democracy, we all have some say.

Describe the difference between your lyrics and Lord Worms. I heard his lyrics described as 'educated horror tales with a comedic accent.'
I think mine are more serious. They're set more towards emotions, not horrific detail. I write some pretty horrific stuff, but it's more reality based. It's definitely different! More hardcore, more real.

What is the meaning behind the title "Whisper Supremacy"? It's almost an oxymoron.
It certainly is. You know, it could basically mean anything. It means a lot of things actually. We sat around discussing everything it could mean one night. I think when people see it they're going to come to their own terms as to what it means. Instead of coming out and saying it means one specific thing, we'd rather leave it up to the listener to form their own opinions about it.

We talked about Cryptopsy being part of a second wave of Death Metal. How were you influenced by the first wave?
Oh shit! That's pretty much what we grew up with. Obituary, Napalm Death, they are part of our roots. I still listen to that stuff. In a way we are following in their footsteps. They've played this circuit before, same places, and same kind of shows. We're not following musically, but in a sense we're trying to reach the same people.

Do you have touring plans for after this American tour?
There's been some talk about it. It's very; very loose right now, but there is a possibility this package might go to Europe….

Maybe throwing a couple of hot European Black Metal bands on the bill?
HEH HEH HEH (laughing)

What's you opinion of Black Metal?
I hate it, I really do.

Don't you think Black Metal and Death Metal are connected that it all came from the same place?
Yeah. I guess. There are some Black Metal style bands I like. But I think it's silly. Let's be as evil as we can be. And yet they look like clowns. How evil can you be when you look silly? Personally, it's not something I would do. I'm not knocking the bands that do that shit. But you asked me a question and I'm going to answer it. It's just not a style of music I'm into at all.

They say their type of music came about because Death Metal was wimping out. Death Metal bands were writing politically correct lyrics and wearing jogging suits.
Yeah exactly. I've heard that a lot of times, from the Norwegians. I read about these Black Metal guys ripping into bands like Suffocation. But where are they? I'm not talking about your Emperors, etc. I'm talking about all these smaller bands. It's all extreme music. We shouldn't be talking shit about each other. If you want to talk shit about a style of music, fine. But you shouldn't talk shit about an actual band. Especially an amazing band like Suffocation. Then you're only looking for problems.

I actually think the two scenes are connected, and they'd only help each other out if they'd work together.
I agree. I would throw hardcore in there also. These scenes seem to be segregated. It doesn't need to be like that. If everyone would say fuck it, it's extreme music all across the board. Whether it is Death Metal, Black Metal, and Doom Metal or hardcore. Why can't the scenes just merge and create a stronger front?

How did your contract with Century Media Records come about?
We were speaking with a couple of labels and they put the best offer on the table. They have a good reputation, so we decided to go with them. We signed long term with them.

What are your goals with this band?
We want to keep playing, and reach as many people as possible. Keep putting out quality albums. We're all pumped for this. Some of the guys have been doing it for ten years. It's starting to pay off. That makes it all right.

What can Cryptopsy fans expect musically from "Whisper Supremacy"?
It's as different as "None So Vile" was from "Blasphemy Made Flesh". It's grindcore; it's over the top. You have to really give it a listen, there's a lot going on.

Do you consider yourself a grindcore band or a Death Metal band? Or a mixture of both?
I don't know what we consider ourselves anymore! It's just extreme music. There are a lot of aspects within our music than just a basic label. It's not totally Death Metal but not totally grindcore either. As long as you don't call it alternative, we're all set!