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Cryptic Writings

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(37 Reviews)

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Although it is their sixth studio album,Dark Passion Play marks the beginning of a new era for Finnish symphonic metal masters Nightwish. With new vocalist Annette Olzon onboard, Nightwish returns with their most accessible material to date. Firmly rooted in their trademark symphonic sounds featuring elaborate keyboard and guitar parts blended seamlessly with intricate string and choir sections, Olzon’s vocals have more pop sensibility as they are far less operatic than those of her predecessor. This is perfectly exemplified in the vocal melodies in Amaranth, Eva and the scorching duet with bassist Marco Hietala titled Bye Bye Beautiful. Nightwish mastermind Tuomas Holopainen (keyboards) not only wrote all the lyrics and all but two songs on the album, but also helmed the project as one of the producers along with T.C. Kinnunen and Mikko Karmila, who also mixed the album. Dark Passion Play has already made history as Finland’s most expensive recording project to date with massive string sections and choirs and it is clearly evident in the impeccable production. Nightwish have taken the symphonic elements of their prior works and infused them with a new voice to create a sound representative of the album title: dark, playful and, most of all, passionate.Nightwish returns with an ambitious epic metal opus that begins promisingly enough but quickly devolves into another formulaic power rock affair. The band’s at its most powerful and convincing on the opening ”The Poet and the Pendulum” (all 14 minutes of it), the dynamic ”Bye Bye Beautiful,” and the infectious pop-inflected ”Amaranth.” But mid-album tracks such as ”Sahara,” ”For the Heart I Once Had,” and the limpid closer, ”Meadows of Heaven,” retread familiar ground that reminds us of epic metal’s more disappointing tendencies–faux pop, bombastic bombast, anemic anthems, and a penchant for the maudlin. With new vocalist Annette Olzon in the ranks, the Finnish outfit stands poised to make a thoroughly convincing and wholehearted classic (listen to ”The Islander” for further proof) but falls short, delivering a decent but distracted recording. It’s too ambitious, too scattered, and, simply, too long–and that’s too bad. –Jedd Beaudoin

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  • This album contains 4 Rust In Peace style songs, 4 Countdown to Extinction style songs, and 4 Youthanasia style songs (as said in the CD booklet). This album contains a good mix of light and hard stuff. If you like stuff from Countdown to Extinction on then you will probably like the album. If you are a PRE-Countdown to Extinction person then this album might not leave you fealing satisfied. The guitar solos on this album, although still good, do not shine as much as they do on Megadeth’s previous albums. The album starts up with lighter tunes where as it ends with some harder material. Certainly not their most technical album, but still contains a lot of great songs. I consider this album to be kind of a light-metal (although some songs do break through the barrier). I enjoy this album.

    Posted on February 10, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • After the perfection of 1992’s Extinction & 1994’s Youthanasia, Megadeth come out with Cryptic Writings in 1997, a year after Metallica released Load and shocked half of their fans into fits with changes in both appearance and musical direction. Well…not Megadeth. Sure, they were becoming more and more popular and more and more mainstream metal, but they were still Megadeth and as long as Dave Mustaine was in charge, very little was going to change. Not as brilliant as the two previous discs, Cryptic Writings still boasts some great tunes. Trust & Almost Honest start things rolling very solidly. Use The Man is one of my personal favorite songs. I’ll Get Even is cool. She-Wolf absolutely f*cking rox! A Secret Place is middle of the road. All the rest is weak in some way or another and mostly filler. Still a very potent effort, things will start to come down around Megadeth’s ears on the next outing. Beware…

    Dig it!

    Posted on February 10, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • I agree with Mr. Costa. This is an exceptionally good album. So it’s catchy? Why is that a bad thing? If you want to listen to music with no recognizable melody, go buy some jazz. Just for the record, I have nothing against jazz. I’m just so sick of people complaining about how their favorite bands become too “commercial”. I just want to hear great music played by talented musicians. If it’s radio friendly, so be it. Just listen to all the Nu Metal crap out there. Those bands don’t even compare to Megadeth. Someone said this album is light on solos compared to other Megadeth albums. Well, most guitarists in these newer bands can’t even play a decent solo. People in this country have become lazier and lazier and this is reflected in modern metal as well. Dave Mustaine is twice the age of these modern “musicians” and he still rocks twice as hard to this day!!! He’s the hardest working metal musician of all time! How many other people could recover from a devastating injury and play guitar with the same intensity that they did 20 years ago? Cryptic Writings is a great album. It is one of the best albums from the nineties.

    Posted on February 10, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • When this album came out I despised it. Where was the whole scene going? Well, now it’s gone and almost a decade later i’ve finally come to terms with it. Having discovered nothing new worth anything, I find myself discovering “over-looked” gems in the households of friends as we drink and build walls and try and forget the world of 2000 even exists. So we’re playing cards and my buddy throws in Cryptic Writings. Jesus, at least I haven’t heard it a thousand times. And man, by track five i’m like Holy S**t, this record is awesome. I can’t believe I ever hated it. I mean, I know why hated it. I used to be King Metal. But the world killed that guy. Starved him to death. Or maybe just into a coma. But the song crafting and flow on this album really is incredible. It’s actually pretty. This is music. Like Dream Theatre that doesn’t suck, and nothing like that actually, but the same feeling. As it flows into the final tracks, it starts to sound more like filler and loses the cool groove, but if this was a record of old, it would be A sides and B sides. Two sides of a coin. You could get away with a lot more musical freedom and exploration like that. Like every record was two mini-albums. I miss that. It’s so awesome that you can leave a band behind, leave em for dead, and years later discover this album they made. (…) My favorite band that no longer exists just put a out a new cd that rocks. I went back and listened to Youthanasia but it still sucks. Cryptic of course sounds nothing like early Megadeth, but it is really good music. If it had a different band name and a trend friendly image it would have been a monster success. Then again, maybe not. (…)

    Posted on February 10, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • In 1996, Dave Mustaine’s former band (Metallica) alienated their cult following by releasing “Load,” an album which was very commercial, simplified, and alternative. And even though Dave Mustaine and Megadeth would eventually follow suit and release “Risk” in 1999, they first made an album (1997’s “Cryptic Writings”) which pleased all metal fans, and helped make the Metallica fans less angry. Megadeth’s seventh studio album was, at the time, definitely their best effort since “Rust In Peace” came out in 1990. “Cryptic Writings,” which is kind of like a combinations of Megadeth’s last two albums (1992’s “Countdown to Extinction” and 1994’s “Youthanasia”), is full of crunchy riffs, memorable hooks, and famous, acrobatic guitar solos from axemen Dave Mustaine and Marty Friedman. “Trust,” “She-Wolf,” and “Vortex” are all instant `Deth classics, and “Almost Honest” includes an incredible, long, wailing guitar solo. Elsewhere, “Use The Man” begins with acoustic strums and has a rhythm which subtly gains momentum and speed, “The Disintegrators” features fast, stutter-stepping riffs, “I’ll Get Even” has a very infectious and memorable sing-along chorus, and “A Secret Place” has a catchy, “Rust In Peace”-esque vibe and rhythm. So, “Cryptic Writings” is definitely another great Megadeth album, it is a mostly successful attempt at returning to the thrash sound of the 1980’s, and it is, in my opinion, better than both “Youthanasia” and “Countdown to Extinction.” And if Dave Mustaine hadn’t made “The System Has Failed” in 2004, this disc would still be Megadeth’s best album this side of 1990. Plus, if you buy the remastered edition, you get an unreleased bonus track (“Bullprick”) which is also essential for every diehard Megadeth collection.

    Posted on February 9, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now