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Perfectly shows off Cryptopsy's live charisma - 78%

psychosisholocausto, February 23rd, 2013

Cryptopsy are a Canadian technical death metal band best known for their early works, a stretch that runs from the legendary and primitive debut Blasphemy Made Flesh through to the technical frills that infested Whisper Supremacy. Every album after this stretch is widely considered to be massively inferior, with some even proclaiming the breakdown filled The Unspoken King to be the St Anger of death metal. Whilst these claims are entirely unfounded as every Cryptopsy album has something to like about it, it does not take a genius to work out that the band went massively down hill in terms of the quality of their material. Eventually however the band did what was predicted for years prior and eagerly awaited and that was that they got in a new French vocalist and recorded the live album None So Live.

This live album is a collection of all the band's most popular songs as well as the seemingly odd choice of Shroud and Defenstration and a seven minute drum solo from Flo Mounier. This may seem like an album that is already on shaky ground to many as the concept of a Frenchman butchering the works of the bands biggest hits such as Phobophile that featured the incredible vocals of Lord Worm is definitely something the band had to be wary of. The track selection itself is very strong with None So Vile taking the lime light as should be expected from anything to do with Cryptopsy. This album is represented four times across the live album, alongside such other fan favorites as We Bleed and the highly regarded Open Face Surgery, meaning the band had left no stone unturned. Each album they had released up until this time was represented on None So Live and the band made sure that they only included material that was considered their best.

The translations of said songs are very aggressive and full of energy, with the already-speedy Phobophile seemingly being played at double speed. The reason for this is that the production on this live is so good that every note of the tremolo picked lines and every kick of the double bass pedal for the drums is more than audible and nothing clashes together so that the live album feels completely organic but is very well handled. Each of the songs is played immaculately with no audible mess-ups to disrupt the flow of the album to any trained listener well versed in the back catalogue of Cryptopsy. For the people who just picked this up due to it being in a bargain basket (congratulations on finding it there) or because of the cover art (unlikely), the sound of the band is the stereotype of death metal only amplified by a thousand times. The guitar lines are fast and intense with some jumps between strings when tremolo picking and a lot of pinch harmonic infested chord based riffs and even the odd slow breakdown such as in the closer Slit Your Guts. Many of the songs have a highly technical edge to them although on this release that is primarily limited to the drumming as many of the bands more technical efforts such as Loathe and Emaciate are completely missing from the set list, with songs such as Cold Hate, Warm Blood and White Worms standing out as the only really technical songs here.

Another aspect that fans of the band will no doubt be interested in is whether Martin Lacroix is up to the job of filling in for Lord Worm on the songs that he was a part of. The answer is that he is definitely more in line with the guttural, indecipherable gargling that Lord Worm became famous for than the hardcore inspired shouting on the previous two studio outings for the band, and is perhaps the second strongest vocalist they have ever had. Whilst not quite matching Lord Worm, he definitely has character live with his angry ranting style of vocals during the faster moments of songs such as Crown Of Horns, and handles the breakdown section to Slit Your Guts surprisingly well. He has not got quite as much power nor stage presence as Worm, with crowd interaction being kept to a minimum aside from a few words on Open Face Surgery and the occasional muttering in French that nobody understands, but he fills in the vocal bracket very well. Flo Mounier's drum solo is another highlight of the album that many wonder about often, with a seven minute drum solo that remains interesting throughout. The man's skill behind the kit is legendary and this solo shows exactly why with many quick runs across his entire kit and an influx of blast beats present throughout that makes this perhaps the crowning achievement of the band on this live release.

None So Live is an essential collectors item for Cryptopsy fans and definitely a solid live album in its own right. For those who are caught up in the band's earliest works with Worm's insane vocals, let this be one that grows on you as the vocals take a little getting used to for those that prefer their earliest works. This is a powerful and energetic series of live recordings that packs a lot of power and makes up for a lack of audience introduction and words from Martin Lacroix with some superbly tight playing.

An acceptable, communal gut-slitting - 60%

autothrall, February 22nd, 2013

None So Live is a bit of an anomaly in Cryptopsy's career in that it's really their only record to feature Canadian vocalist/artist Martin Lacroix belching his brute gutturals into a microphone. After the sad performance of DiSalvo on the shitty, goofy And Then You'll Beg, he and the band parted ways, and Lacroix served as an interim member until they were able to reconnect with Lord Worm for the ensuing Once Was Not. It, was not, however, Martin's first dance with the medium. I'm not sure how many people remember the pre-Augury band Spasme, who had one record out (Deep Inside) through Neoblast at the dawn of the new millennium, but it's worth tracking down, a spastic blend of technicality and guttural intensity that is well within the ballpark of a Cryptopsy or Neuraxis. In other words, the guy was a natural choice for the spot here, and for what it's worth, he does perform well enough over the older material...

The older material, that, thankfully populates most of this Montreal live recording from the summer of 2002. Of the ten tracks (discounting the audience noise intro and drum solo), eight are taken from the first three albums, with only two stinkers ("Shroud" and "We Bleed") from And Then You'll Beg; so it's clear that Cryptopsy knew what the audience wanted, and that was primarily their seminal brutality. I've only seen the band a few times back in the day (though never with Lacroix), and can attest that this is a fairly accurate representation of their tone on stage, though there's no question some of the intricacies of the technical guitar progressions get lost in translation as they do with many similar death metal acts. The rhythm guitar is rich and punchy enough that it doesn't get shown up by the drums, and yet if anyone had any skepticism of Flo Mounier's abilities, they are splayed out here like a single-man marching band. The snares sound like heavy hail battering down on the roof of some tin shed, while the kicks drop dextrous thunder with superb timing. Langlois' bass lines are deep and muddy here, not popping or squelching with the same authority that they do on the studio records, but ample enough when there are breaks (as in "Slit Your Guts").

As for Lacroix, he doesn't quite imbue the tracks with as much character as his predecessors, but he does have a nice, hoarse bluntness to his tone which is a good fit for the hammering, percussive rhythms. It might have been interesting to hear what he could have pulled off in studio, but he's hardly distinguishable from a number of other potential options the Canadians might have run with. The leads here sound a bit sloppy, and the remaining rhythm guitar gets a bit more difficult to perceive in these sections, but it's probably to be expected if the mixer wasn't going to turn them up. Accurate to the live setting. I was actually somewhat relieved that the two And Then You'll Bet tracks sounded far heavier and more appropriate on stage to their earlier neighbors, largely because the vocals are less goofy and the drums and bass sound thicker with the rhythm guitar, but "Shroud" at least still sounds pretty dorky in a bad way. That was a phase of the band I am all too happy to forget (apart from joking), so I wasn't thrilled that they were partnered up with far better cuts. Overall track selection? I would have loved if a few other tracks like "Emaciate" made it onto this, but it could have been far worse...

I was worried that the drum solo would be too long, but it's really only about 3 and a half minutes of Flo showing off (hey, if you got it, flaunt it), and then they leap into another track. The mix of the crowd is decent, constantly present but not overpowering, and easily drowned up when the band is blasting and churning full bore. All in all, it's a decent accounting of the band's performance prowess, but far from a mandatory purchase unless you're completely smitten with the idea of owning everything they produce. The sound is decent if a bit lopsided towards the lower end, and the track selection is not ideal, even if it offers up a comprehensive taste of the four studio albums to its day. I wasn't inspired by None So Live, but neither was I really turned off.

-autothrall
http://www.fromthedustreturned.com

Mechanical music, decrepit vocals. - 49%

hells_unicorn, July 13th, 2008

When it comes to most live albums, I treat them in the manner that one would a college course taken pass/fail, in that they either fail or they pass and I often find myself unable to give them a really glowing recommendation. A few artists in the older guard of metal prided themselves on their lives shows because it was when they’d really show their skills as entertainers. The audio format is the least conducive to this art form because more than half of the concert experience is visual, and barring some extremely interesting musical elaboration or ad lib not found on the pre-existing versions of a song, there is little to grab onto aside from the obvious flaws that come from a single take performance with an audience to distract the performers.

This applies very much to Cryptopsy’s “None so live” in that it would likely be a treat to behold exactly what Flo Mounier and Jon Levansseur look like pulling off these ridiculously complex parts. But within the confines of the audio medium, we are left with this reinterpretation of older and recent material, and the results are not anything to write home about. Though in terms of accuracy on the part of the whole outfit, this performance is flawless, but the sort of perfection that manifests from the 100% faithful live production of complex riffs, flashy bass lines, virtuoso drumming, and inspiring guitar solo work is a bit dull and uninteresting.

The entire listen mostly resembles the mechanical atmosphere that a computer midi reproduction of these songs would give you with a very realistic synthesizer plug-in. It all goes through the motions, very safe and unadventurous, not daring to add anything new to the music, and relying mostly on songs that uniformly display the band’s ability to play fast. Much of the slower songs or less technical material from the earliest album is absent, while “None So Vile” dominates the set list and the selections from the two DiSalvo albums listen the most similar to the NSV album. Apart from a very impressive 7 minute plus drum solo by Flo, which is the highlight of the performance, everything sounds flat and devoid of contrast.

The hack vocalist Martin Lacroix is the only element here that doesn’t sound cybernetic, but unfortunately also proves to be the weakest part of the outfit. The man has zero stage presence, based mostly on his inability to interact with the audience at all. You might as well have the vocals on the songs pre-recorded and have this guy walk out on stage between songs to say maybe a couple short words before leaving and the next song starting up. His vocal character mostly resembles DiSalvo, but with about half as much punch and versatility. I absolutely hated DeSalvo’s crappy percussive grindcore vocal style, and this listens like a less competent version of that with a few lame attempts at trying to recapture Lord Worm’s sound, which are only really noticeable because the songs came from albums that he originally sang on.

People hearing this album before the studio material would likely be impressed with the instrumental work, but you’re better off going back to the original sources of the songs. There is a noticeable style difference between debut album classics like “Defenestration” and “Open Face Surgeory”, which are compiled by clearly decipherable riffs, and “Slit your guts” and “Cold Hate, Warm Blood”, which while competently executed live examples of the band’s musical versatility, are also extremely difficult to grab onto and remember, let alone gain any lasting enjoyment from. There are maybe a few technical sections here and there to keep it interesting while it’s going on, and then basically nothing.

For what this album is, which is an unorganized collection of songs from albums that bear little resemblance to each other, it is not poorly realized. It’s just that half of these songs are not terribly interesting to begin with. You’re better off getting the DVD that came later where they actually got Lord Worm back and played more of the classics from the early days. I’d place it in the higher tiers of the failure side of my pass/fail mode of judging live albums. Not something to crush in your fist in the name of true metal, but likely something that will collect dust on your shelf after about 2 or 3 listens.

Incredible Live Album - 95%

ISadistikI, April 11th, 2007

When one thinks Cryptopsy, one thinks brutality. They think amazing, precise musicianship, and they think sheer, incredible energy. This is not without reason, for these brutal Canadians have given us many albums which prove all these things. After four studio albums, the guys decided to release a live album, very appropriately titled None So Live. At the least, everything Cryptopsy is known for shines brilliantly through this recording.

One of the major points of this album lies in Cryptopsy's new vocalist, Martin Lacroix. This was his first and only recording with Cryptopsy, but he does a hell of a job. Chances are any fan of Lord Worm and/or Mike DiSalvo will like Lacroix's vocals, because they are very much a mix between the two, if not leaning more towards Lord Worm's style. It is indeed much more of a growl than DiSalvo yet not as undecipherable as Lord Worm's, and they have more of a traditional tone to them. We find from the very beginning scream of Crown Of Horns that he can pull off the higher vocals as well. Lacroix adds his own touch to every song by spewing out the lyrics in ways and patterns differently than his predecesors put them in the studio albums. Again, the intro verse to Crown Of Horns comes to mind. Throughout the album Lacroix puts on a stellar performance.

The rest of the band is in full form as well. We have the duo of Jon Levasseur and Alex Auburn on guitars. The pair do amazingly well, if not a tad sloppy at times. I'm pretty sure only one of them did the solos throughout the whole show, and if I had to guess I'd say it was Jon simple because he wrote most of them. Either way both of them play magnificently, and we all know Cryptopsy riffs aren't exactly for an average guitar player. On bass we have Eric Langlois, who is maybe a little less audible than he should be, but you can still hear him. Also Cryptopsy loves to stick random little bass solos in actually alot of songs, and he does all those flawlessly here, although one of them in Slit Your Guts sounded a bit sloppy or different. Either way he played great. And on drums we have none other than Flo Mounier. All I'll tell you is that everything you've heard on the albums is here perfectly done. Need I say more? He even speeds up a section of Phobophile by about tenfold to the point that it sounds like Jon and Alex are having a hard time keeping up with him. Also we have a fantastic drum solo on here that runs at about 4 minutes or so. It's mind blowing to say the least, but it's Flo, so none of us should expect anything less.

The track list is very good. We have songs sprinkled from all over Cryptopsy's discography up to this point. Two from every album, except for None So Vile, which has four songs on here. The song choices were great for each album and the order generally flows well. I thought Slit Your Guts was an odd choice for a closer however, though it does work well and is an awesome song. The production of the album is actually a tad on the weak side for a live recording. Nothing really jumps out, it all sounds somewhat flat. But the music itself is so well done and just exploding with energy that it really doesn't matter and still sounds incredible. Everything is clear at least. And that, given the intricate nature of Cryptopsy's music, just may be more important.

This is anything a Cryptopsy fan could want out of a live album. I've never heard so much sheer energy erupt from a couple of guys on stage as it does here. The brutality and talent that Cryptopsy is known here is here in spades. Sure it may not be a replacement for actually going to a Cryptopsy show, but it's a damn good idea of what you would be in for.

Energy, brutality and melody - 95%

noinnocentvictim, December 4th, 2005

This album encapsulates all that is good and desirable about death metal. In three words, it is "Energy, brutality and melody."

The enrgy fueling this release is unbelievable. The speed both in the guitars and drums are amazing. This is NOT something to run to - you'll burn on within the first mile. The speed in the drums is especially fascinating, since it's not a simplistic hi-hat-and-snare combination as seen in most drumming. You'll find complex beats played at amazing tempos.

The brutality gives this CD replayability, since it's brutal and not boring or overly simplistic. The anger is strong in this CD, and hatred is to be found behind every song. The songs are terribly harsh, and each one has an original melody.

Melody is the most fascinating part of this CD. While still maintaining a level of brutality, the melodies play in a fashion that would be absolutely beautiful were it not for the harsh drums and deep, dark, indecipherable (even with the lyrics) growling.

I am absolutely in love with this album, but what really kills it is the track "Orgiastic Disembowelment." Aside from this one track, the CD is utterly brilliant in every way. I highly recommend it, and it is an essential addition to any metalhead's collection.

For fans only - 40%

NightOfTheRealm, May 21st, 2004

Unconventional // adj. 1. Not conforming to set rules or standards. 2. A word all too often thrown around by labels to disguise music (usually bastardized or unfocused music) as innovative, intelligent, or more punishingly brutal than the triplicate goat phallus of the Dark Lord.

I’ve been sitting on this album for some time now before I finally sat down and started writing this review. First of all, I am not a fan of Cryptopsy, nor have I really heard any of their works that would inspire me to own one of their albums. Second, I’ve seen Cryptopsy live, and they were not impressive at all, and third, the recent glut of live albums has really left me burnt out on the concept of another live recording.

Really, there isn’t a whole hell of a lot on NONE SO LIVE to distinguish this release from any Cryptopsy studio work I have heard to date. On one hand, there is not a whole lot of deviation in Cryptopsy’s style of technical grind-death. In studio and especially onstage, one must acknowledge the tightness of the band’s performance, and musically speaking, the entire recording is virtually seamless. On the other hand, Cryptopsy’s technical strength is also their weakness on this album in that their product does not carry well onto the live recording, and technical proficiency does not always translate into musical greatness. The live atmosphere is very sterile; I wouldn’t consider Cryptopsy a very interactive band after all. Still, I give them fair credit for maintaining their style and musicianship in concert.

Cryptopsy also earn points with their first live album by taking the entire recording from their 2002 performance in Montreal, the home stomping grounds, rather than the faggotry of other bands that take a piecework “live” album from various dates. In addition, the performances by bassist Eric Langlois and drummer Flo Mounier deserve special attention. The bass slaps on tracks like “Cold Hate, Warm Blood,” “Shroud,” and “Slit Your Guts” really rip along with some nice lines. These guys really are exceptional musicians, especially Mounier, whose extended drum solo showcases his variety of skills. In addition, Cryptopsy have chosen a setlist representing each of the band’s four studio albums equally.

When judging a live album, I look at several criteria including musical performance, setlist, sound quality, production, and crowd response/interaction. Cryptopsy certainly are skilled musicians, but they lack the ability to write creative, innovative, or interesting songs. The recording is of high quality, but the production and lack of an appreciable crowd response fails to capture the truly live feel of the band. I think the band has succeeded in their true purpose of this live recording: to introduce new vocalist Martin Lecroix to Cryptopsy’s fans as the band works on new studio material. Cryptopsy fans will probably want to snatch this one up, but as a casual listner, I can’t get into this album.

(originally written by me for www.metal-rules.com, September, 2003)

i like this - 90%

purerockfury, September 30th, 2003

not many death metal bands release a live album. ignorant people think its just even more noise. Like cannibal corpse, Cryptopsy has perfected the art of recording a live death metal show. Similar to the sound of their albums, Cryptopsy includes their intense live energy which creates some of the best sound around. Recorded in montreal, the bewteen song monologues are spoken in french, which obviously isnt too good for any person who doesnt speak french, but thats not the point. The point is that this album is amazing. any fan of death metal will aprove of this album. Every song is played perfectly and Flo's drum solo is just perfect. I was supprised by the bands choice to close with Slit Your Guts instead of Phobophile, but whatever, both songs are amazing and I cant complain. What would be even more of a treat for the fans is a live DVD.... who knows maybe thats next in their list of things to do.

Oh My - 93%

DeadFetus, June 20th, 2003

Oh my, the death metal behemoth Cryptopsy keeps pillaging ears wherever it goes. This is truly a monster of a live album showcasing everything that makes Cryptopsy a first class death metal group. First of all the new singer, Martin LaCroix, does an admirable job. No he's not Lord Worm, but he can do some of Worm's vocal tricks, and he is a huge improvement on DiSalvo's material. Second of all the track selection is impeccable. Showcasing the best material from Cryptopsy's entire catalogue, each track is an exercise in perfection. Musically tight, some of the tracks are played at almost twice the speed of their studio recordings. The musicianship is simply breathtaking.
Of course the drumming is absolutely phenomenal, to hear a song like "We Bleed" in the live setting and have it sound better than the recorded version just blows my mind. There is no doubt that Flo Mournier is the best drummer in the metal world. Everything the man does is simply incredible. In fact one of the highlights of the album is his seven-minute drum solo. Amazing.

My personal favorite tracks on the album originally come from None So Vile which also happens to be one of my top death metal albums of all time. "Phobophile" and "Slit Your Guts" are relentless, the aural equivalent of a stampeding herd of elephants, reducing everything in its way to dust. Both tracks are faster and even more brutal than their studio counterparts and the live setting creates a great atmosphere.

The bottom line: if you love death metal get this album. One of the best live albums I've heard.


Originally Published @ www.metaljudgment.com

Awesome! - 95%

Daedagor, May 8th, 2003

Cryp - top - sy, Cryp - top - sy.. that's how it starts. Then, some sort of eerie background music sets in, still accompanied by the crowd. But it isn't until after about 2 minutes that the sonic assault begins:

A roar; "I do that rather well, don't you think?" and off starts 'Crown of Horns'. Good choice to start the show!

But I'll cut the crap now and get to the important things: the new vocalist is definitely much better than DiSalvo. He sounds much more like Lord Worm despite having his own style. Must say, his performance is really great.

The songs are chosen well, there isn't anything that deserves to be skipped. Crown of Horns, White Worms, Cold Hate Warm Blood, Phobophile, Graves of the Fathers are probably the best on the disc.

What else is their to say? Well, not only the vocal performance is kicking ass, everything else besides is just as great. Cryptopsy do an awesome job at playing everything, the whole performance is very precise which actually makes you kind of wonder how much mixing they did in the studio afterwards. In any case, it does sound 'live' but professional as fuck!

Inbetween the songs, Lacroix is talking to the audience in vulgar French. Unfortunately, my knowledge of that language doesn't suffice to understand anything, d'oh.
But besides, there's always this kind of eerie background music that creates real tension between the tracks so that all the high pace songs come out even stronger and more extreme.

Ok, and then there's the drum solo. Fuck, I don't believe this guy! Even if you're against solos and that kind of stuff which many bands do on stage, you just have to listen to this and possibly look into a mirror at the same time so you can see your jaw drop down. It's completely fucked up.. but that's how I love it.

So, you never heard of Crypotpsy before but want to give it a shot? Get this! It's a good live disc (Which is pretty rare, most live CDs suck) and it contains loads of creativity, a collection of awesome songs and the coolest drummer of the whole fucking universe!
You like Cryptopsy? Why are you still reading this?! Buy the goddamn CD!

Can't wait to get to a show myself..