For various reasons I wasn't too happy with the previous Cryptopsy studio album …And then You'll Beg, and I find Once Was Not disappointing too, despite that the band have sought back to the roots; Once Was Not is just no new Blasphemy Made Flesh or None So Vile. It's an album that definitely needs more than just a few listens before it sinks down, and it does grow the more I listen to it. The songs are varied, and the band tries out a lot of different things, but they have a tendency to sound somewhat messy and perhaps a bit unstructured at times. The music is diverse both with regard to the guitars, but also the tempo. Often the songs start out or become really slow, only to turn on a plate and then blast ahead at an ultra fast speed.
The album can not be accused of being over-produced as the sound is quite similar to the filthy sound on the debut Blasphemy Made Flesh. It does have a bit of charm, but it gets somewhat strenuous to listen to after a while, particular the drums sound weak. A richer and fatter sound would have suited the music better, as it's a very flat and thin experience according to today's standards. Here after several more listens, I still partly fail to find the interesting in Once Was Not; sure there are some good tracks like "In The Kingdom where "Everything Dies", "The Sky Is Mortal", "Adeste Infidelis" and the closer "Endless Cemetery", but three songs are far too few to keep Once Was Not interesting for my concern. I think I'll just go back and listen to Blasphemy Made Flesh or None So Vile instead as they appeal more to my liking.