Last December, Cryptopsy kicked off the Ashes Shall Reign Asia Tour 2023 by making history as the first international metal band to play in Saudi Arabia. The band then swept through the continent, laying waste to cities across Southeast Asia before landing in Japan for two final shows.
Fans piled into Shibuya Stream Hall on December 12th, packing the venue on a Tuesday night. The air was thick with the palpable anticipation of those there to witness the Canadian technical death metal pioneers return to Tokyo for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic brought the world to a standstill. But Cryptopsy was not alone on this particular evening.
Opening the night was Japanese folk metal band Gotsu-Totsu-Kotsu (兀突骨). The trio, hailed as the Cruel Kings of Kawagoe (川越の残虐王), made their way onto the stage to thunderous applause. Without hesitation, they plunged straight into a riveting performance that seamlessly blended traditional Japanese instrumentation with ferocious metal riffs.
Next up was Japanese metalcore band DEVILOOF, a burgeoning force in the international metal scene. With a setlist designed to decimate, the band began with one of their most popular tracks 拷訊惨獄 (GouZinZanGoku). Vocalist Keisuke (桂佑) instantly propelled the crowd into a maelstrom of moshing with his first guttural scream.
Bassist Daiki (太輝) brought merciless baselines that soon intertwined with the cacophonous blast beats of drummer Kanta (幹太), resonating throughout the venue as the band further ignited the crowd with Newspeak. DEVILOOF truly showcased the band’s unique ability to effortlessly blend spine-tingling melodic hooks with neck-snapping breakdowns with Everything is all lies, the band’s newest blood-curdling track. The instrumental prowess of guitarists Aisaku (愛朔) and Ray was on full display through the calculated aggression of ISHTAR and the controlled chaos of Rebellion.
DEVILOOF closed out their extremely high energy set with the relentlessly intense track Ruin. The members then exited the stage to feverish cheers for an encore. But it was time to the headliners to finish the crowd off.
Enveloped in darkness, Cryptopsy emerged onto the stage as the eruptive chanting of fans shook the venue. Without wasting any time, they launched straight into their set with the blistering opener In Abeyance from the band’s newly released album As Gomorrah Burns. The venue spiraled into a circle pit as vocalist Matt McGachy let out his first piercingly brutal growl of the evening.
Razor-sharp riffs from guitarist Christian Donaldson and bassist Olivier Pinard cut through the air as Cryptopsy took the crowd on a journey through their entire career, mixing bone-shattering new tracks like Lascivious Undivine with classics like Graves of the Fathers, Crown of Horns, and Slit Your Guts.
For the first time since McGachy joined the band 16 years ago, the members made their way off the stage in the middle of the set to give fans a truly unforgettable experience—a dynamic drum solo from founding member Flo Mounier. Known for his lightning-fast speed, technical prowess, and ability to effortlessly blend genres, Mounier unleashed a rhythmic assault.
The rest of the band slowly rejoined Mounier on the stage as fans chanted “Cryptopsy” with seemingly inextinguishable energy. Cryptopsy continued the night’s furious onslaught with Detritus (The One They Kept) and Sire of Sins from the 2015 album THE BOOK OF SUFFERING. Cryptopsy concluded the main set with another new song, Flayed the Swine.
Soon after the band had exited the stage, they were back for a two song encore. Cryptopsy treated fans to a serious throwback, playing two songs from the band’s second album None So Vile. The haunting piano intro of Phobophile silenced the crowd only momentarily before their intricate and punishing sound once again plunged fans into a frenzy. The night ended with the savage, brutal intensity of Orgiastic Disembowlement.
Cryptopsy’s long-anticipated return to Japan was an extraordinary spectacle of technicality, aggression, and unbridled energy. The supporting acts of DEVILOOF and Gotsu-Totsu-Kotsu (兀突骨) kicked off the evening with unwaveringly hard sets, rounding out a truly memorable evening.