JUGGERNAUT MUSIC GROUP
US-based solo aggrotech project Cryptic Dawn, AKA Matt Havens is rooted in in the themes and lessons of cult TV show Breaking Bad. A strange gimmick, but not not an unusual one with the likes of Finnish doomsters Swallow The Sun's obsession with Twin Peaks coming to mind. Gimmick or not though, the most important thing is that it works. Cryptic Dawn may have a darkly humorous slant to its formula, but that doesn't detract from the fact that this free, five-track EP is rather good.
Kicking off with the title track, Havens gets straight down to business with hard dance beats, Suicide Commando style synth melodies, and heavily distorted vocals. Although this doesn't exactly add anything new to the rule book it does deliver exactly what aggrotech fans will want. 'Guns Up' follows on with a slightly more restrained offering that pulls the melodies in favour of a throbbing bass line that, while nice and groovy, does get lost in the vocals a bit. 'Awake The Demons', which features Imminent Violence, returns the the more bombastic style of the opening track for a nice fist-in-the-air experience. 'El Llamado De la Destruccion' features another guest appearance, this time courtesy of Paranoia Bio Project and again feels a little more restrained, but this time it works better with a more even balance between the music and the vocals. The EP is then rounded off in style with the slow and ambient strains of 'Left To Die', which makes a nice departure from the more blatantly dance orientated structures of its predecessors.
The production is for the most part quite strong, with a nice straightforward style the gives each layer room to move in the mix. The only major criticism is the heavily distorted vocals. They doe have a tendency to hit the ear wrong on faster tracks, and on quieter tracks they are far to strong in the mix.
Yet as a label début, 'Old Blood' is a rough diamond. Musically it's very catchy with some great leads and compelling beats. It just needs a few tweaks here and there to really show off all its features at their best. But for fans of harsh ebm and aggrotech this is definitely a safe bet, and for a free download what more could you ask for?