Meet Crypta, the Brazilian Band Taking Death Metal to New Extremes

Photo by Estevam Romera.

Fernanda Lira has had a passion for metal since she was a kid. As a 13-year-old, she looked up to Iron Maiden’s Steve Harris and her dad as inspiration to learn how to play the bass by herself. She played in many metal bands as a teenager and joined Prika Amaral’s thrash metal outfit Nervosa in 2011. But she needed a place where she could flesh out her own musical ideas. That’s how in mid-2019, Crypta came about.

The four-piece girl band has come far in this short period since its formation. After releasing their debut record, Echoes of the Soul, in June 2021, Crypta has been acclaimed worldwide for their extreme and innovative contributions to death metal. Throughout 2022, they toured Latin and North America and Europe, playing big festivals like Wacken Open Air in Germany, Obscene Extreme in Czechia, and Rock In Rio, Primavera Sound, and Summer Breeze Festival in their native Brazil. 

On Aug. 4, the band released its sophomore album, Shades of Sorrow. Out via Napalm Records—known as the home for influential bands in the extreme realm like Cradle of Filth and Satyricon—the LP comes just in time to cement Crypta’s status as one of Brazil’s biggest and most important metal bands active today. 

Crypta started as a parallel project for Lira, vocalist and bassist, and Luana Dametto, drummer—who was also in Nervosa. “We never thought it would end up being the main project of our lives,” Lira tells Remezcla during a video interview. “But after we left [Nervosa], it was good because we didn’t feel like we had to start from scratch. We were still writing the first songs, but it was good to have Crypta, even if it was in its baby steps.”

The initial idea was for Crypta to have an old-school death metal sound, but it was scrapped in the early stages. “The band naturally flowed in other directions and became this big death metal melting pot, which involves many different elements from various death metal subgenres,” Lira explains. 

The band’s sound is also a reflection of the musicians that have passed through the band since its beginning. The big, epic riffs in Echoes of the Soul partially display former guitarist Sonia Anubis’ taste for hard rock, which she showcases in her current band Cobra Spell. In comparison, Shades of Sorrow, now with Jéssica di Falchi on lead guitar, takes a much darker turn. 

According to Lira, the record is a “semi-conceptual album” that builds on the different kinds of pain and suffering. The intro is a 61-second piano track titled “The Aftermath,” created as a sequel to the last song in Echoes of the Soul. “From the Ashes” is a tale about overcoming trauma. “When you overcome trauma, that’s when the consequences come. You have to face a myriad of other situations and feelings,” says Lira. “When we’re navigating through difficult periods, we end up discovering that there are, in fact, several tones of suffering. Each of the songs talk about one of these tones—be it anxiety, fear, rejection, loneliness.”

To accompany the darkness of the lyrical themes, Shades of Sorrow presents a gloomier, more emotional take on death metal, at times showcasing influences of black metal with its melancholic riffs. “It wasn’t planned at all, but it naturally fits with the emotional charge the album presents,” she says. 

“There’s a tendency in metal circles to separate music from politics, as if metal didn’t come from the working class. As if metal wasn’t supposed to be anti-system.”

Autobiographical in nature, Lira defines Shades of Sorrow as her Back to Black, Amy Winehouse’s breakout record, which is also an album about pain. Although the musician is a capital M metalhead, she is also a fan of pop and soul divas like Winehouse, Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald, and Lana Del Rey, and feels inspired by many genres of music. Recently, she caused a stir among metal fans for posting videos of herself crying during a Beyoncé concert. 

Lira has also faced criticism for exposing left-wing and democratic views, including criticizing Brazil’s far-right ex-president, Jair Bolsonaro. Crypta’s music is full of social and political views. For example, the song “Starvation” from Echoes of the Soul is about the thousands of people starving to death in Brazil during the pandemic. “I feel like metalheads are still very close-minded, although it did get better in the last few years,” she says. “There’s a tendency in metal circles to separate music from politics, as if metal didn’t come from the working class. As if metal wasn’t supposed to be anti-system.”

In Lira’s opinion, metal’s counterculture roots are having a resurgence in Latin America, particularly with bands led by women. “I feel that we go through so many hardships that we end up naturally unloading everything into the music,” she adds. “It’s a beautiful thing that I think comes exactly from wanting to challenge the patriarchy. That’s why there are so many women playing [in Latin America], and that’s why ours is the most passionate scene on the planet.”

Listen to Shades of Sorrow below.