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Go ahead and run - 72%

Cheeses_Priced, March 17th, 2005

I remember back before I first heard this (seems like this album was somewhat rare for a while) the rumors and buzz went something like so: this was the most brutal death metal album ever recorded; Lord Worm’s vocals were the sickest ever recorded; Flo Mounier’s drumming was the fastest and most technical ever recorded. Contact Guinness right away!

The drumming essentially lives up to billing, hyperbole aside.

The vocals I’m not so sure about. I was really put off by apparent randomness of them on first listen. Countless listens later and… I’m still sort of put off by the apparent randomness of them. I wouldn’t be too shocked to find out that Lord Worm didn’t write lyrics until after he’d finished recording. Or that they tracked his vocals to the wrong songs.

As for the brutality? I’d say it’s in the ear of the beholder. Even Suffocation, Cryptopsy’s most significant immediate precursor, strikes my ears as more brutal than this; their deliberately convoluted riff structuring just has more visceral impact for me than Cryptopsy’s dissonant chainsaw guitar attack. The trebly production on this album does not help matters.

But “brutality” and “extremity” are pretty meaningless, taken alone. The songwriting is more important. And the songwriting on this album is, well…

…“Phobophile” is very good. Very melodic, perhaps recalling the band’s earlier days. “Slit Your Guts” is not so melodic, but still pretty catchy; the dissonant opening riff is very attention-getting.

Other than that, the album’s kind of a fog in my mind, even after all this time. I’ve gone back and forth on my opinion of it more than once… the truth is that I kept waiting for it to click and it never did. And now I’ve given up – it’s had its chance. Even in the parts where there’s nothing specific that I would really complain about, per se, it just doesn’t hold my interest that strongly.

These days, if there’s anything bringing my opinion of this album down, it’s probably having heard Blasphemy Made Flesh, Cryptopsy’s debut album. Why None So Vile is the supposedly legendary death metal classic and not that album is beyond me entirely – the songwriting is stronger, Lord Worm delivers a better performance, and the production’s better. So, if you’re new to the band, I’d advise looking there instead.