Reviews : Albums : Cryptopsy, "None So Vile"

Cryptopsy, "None So Vile"
None So Vile
Wrong Again Records
1996, Wrong Again Records
Cryptopsy, "None So Vile"

There is none heavier, none faster, none better in the brutal death scene than Cryptopsy on their sophomore effort None So Vile. This is without a single doubt these Canadians' best work (and in my opinion, this is the single heaviest, best brutal death metal album ever). Though the music is technical, it is played so that aspect isn't the first thing the listener notices. Instead we all hear the amazing chopping grooves that infiltrate every song, the horrific screams, the beyond earthly blasts and the sick twang of the bass as it sets the beat. Tracks like "Benedictine Convulsions" have more slow, hefting power than any other band I can think of, "Phobophile" has the most destructive 30 seconds (Lord Worm's opening scream is so absolutely unnerving) and by 1:20 turns into proof that drumming on this album is 100% unmatched by anybody. And then just for humor's sake the end of "Orgiastic Disembowelment" has a quote from Sam Raimi's Army of Darkness, how cool is that?

If this isn't brass tacks enough for you, here's a more step by step breakdown of Cryptopsy's formula for success. The guitars constantly flirt with the sick and evil high-end, but every time return to the more resonant, thick and grooving quagmire necessary to compliment the now absent Lord Worm's amazingly vile, guttural/screamed, completely indecipherable (even if you have the lyrics in front of you, following along is difficult) immeasurably valuable vocal delivery. In addition, the lead work on None So Vile is much more thoughtful than on later releases, with excellent use of both harmonic and melodic aspects as well as slower deliveries so that they really stick out in the maelstrom that surrounds them. The rhythm section is possibly the fastest in the business. Drummer Flo Mounier has been reported to pass out near the end of a live set due to the effort he puts into his performance. The bass on the album is also quite impressive with its clean and audible portions as well as the way it is always right behind either the drums or the guitars, making everything thick and muscular. And finally, the production on the album is warm and full, which helps the band incredibly. By contrast, all their subsequent work has been produced to sound very cold and sterile, and with the addition of vocalist Mike DiSalvo and less focused songwriting, Cryptopsy's potency is about the same as an old man in want of his Viagra. If you choose to hear Cryptopsy before they lost their edge, and trust me, you really do, None So Vile is the ticket, though I'll warn you that you won't likely listen to And Then You'll Beg or Whisper Supremacy ever again.

Standout Tracks

   Slit Your Guts
   Graves of the Fathers
   Benedictine Convulsions

Peter Johnston