Cryptic Slaughter (1984-1988, 1989-1990, 2002-2003, 2018) is a Thrash Metal band from Santa Monica, California, USA.
ryptic Slaughter formed in 1984 with 17 year old Les Evans (guitars), 14 year old Scott Peterson (drums) and 15 year old Adam Scott at the helm; the group met through their participation in the American Youth Soccer League (AYSO). 15 year old Bill Crooks (vocals), a friend of Scott (bass) and a fellow soccer player, would join soon after. Scott would be let go a few months later, however, due to the difficulty of managing time with the band and school to be replaced by Rob Nicholson.
Their first demo, Life in Grave (1985), became circulated in the burgeoning tape-trader underground. Convicted (1986), their debut album, sold over 25,000 copies and earned Cryptic Slaughter the reputation as being one of the fastest bands in hardcore at the time.
Money Talks (1987) sold 35,000 in its first year, surpassing Convicted's success and securing Cryptic Slaughter's a following internationally. The album was a statement against the right-wing theocracy with tracks like Freedom of Expression, challenging the censorial nature of the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC). Their American Heroes track confronted the mass media heroic mythology stance on the astronauts who died in the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger.
The final album for the original line-up would be Stream of Consciousness (1988). Unhappy with the recording process and production as well as internal issues Cryptic Slaughter broke up on their 1988 summer tour before the release of the album.
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Shortly after returning home in 1989, Evans, along with Nicholson recruited Eli Nelson for a new direction. This new incarnation was short-lived, however, for Evans moved to Portland in May 1989 to reform the band with the new line-up of Brian Lehfeldt (drums; ex-Wehrmacht), Dave Hollingsworth (vocals), Bret Davis (bass) and, later, Chris Merrow assuming vocals after 2002, to release Speak Your Peace (1990) before splitting again.
2002 saw the group reform under the original membership to release the all covers EP Band In S.M. (2003) before the band split again. The compilations, Life in Grave (2013) and The Lowlife Chronicles Cryptic Slaughter 1984-1988 (2017), would be released posthumously.
In 2018 they'd reform under the name Lowlife.
Footnote: Cryptic Slaughter are often credited as one of the progenitors of 'crossover', the thrash metal and hardcore crossover genre, along with acts like D.R.I., Corrosion of Conformity and Suicidal Tendencies.
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