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"Run home and cry to mama." - 95%

Empyreal, April 18th, 2008

This album's title is about right; there are none so vile as Cryptopsy on this album. This was the sophomore effort for the Death Metal maestros from Montreal, and it's also their most well known and lauded/loathed. You can say it's overly technical noise, and you can say Lord Worm's vocals sound like shapeless, formless barking, but in all of those cases, you'd be wrong to assume that those are reasons why this album sucks, so there's no point in even trying. The truth is, None So Vile is one of the finest technical Death Metal albums ever created.

First off, the songwriting. These guys took a standard Death Metal formula and completely mutilated it, tearing into the fabric with innovative tendencies that were sharp enough to be a serrated scalpel, ripe with the blood of the recently deceased. It's easy to complain about lame Tech Deth Lite crap these days, but this was 1996, and this sort of sound wasn't near as common as it would be in the future. No band ever quite replicated the sound here, either - a twisted, pulsating mess of dirty, jagged riffs piled on top of one another, alongside a razor-sharp, barbed wire bass guitar, and drums so flexible and nimble that they might as well have been played by Shiva himself. Being a Death Metal album, you won't find a whole lot of variety here, and the whole album lurches along in a maniacal, crazed stomp, pummeling your face into a bloody, shapeless pulp with each note, riff and drum beat played. Every musician here plays to 110% of his ability, no exceptions.

The vocals will undoubtedly be a sticking point for some people, as the infamous Lord Worm utilized an inhuman guttural roar and a maddening shriek, trading off masterfully between the two styles and fitting nicely with the music; evil and demented as it is. He catches a lot of shit for being unintelligible and "annoying," whatever that may mean to his detractors, but don't buy into that, he is very good. Let me just tell you, this is Death Metal, a genre that (in the 90s) constantly pushed its own boundaries, challenging itself like a disciplined martial artist to become even more extreme and twisted and bizarre, and Lord Worm is an excellent example of this sort of mantra, with the music following suit. Any complaints about the man's style and delivery are, quite simply, more bizarre than the music they are directed towards. Fuck your brutal breakdowns and chugging riffs, this is what it means to be "brutal."

There are tons of standout moments here, from the bass licks on "Slit Your Guts," the frantic, melodic head-bashing in the opening "Crown of Horns," the slower grind of "Graves of the Fathers," the chilling, dark romantic piano intro to fan-favorite "Phobophile" - leading into more unholy, blasting chaos when the guitars kick in - and much, much more. There are enough standout moments here to last five Necrophagist albums, though, rest assured. In every song, no less. Cryptopsy are technical as Hell without sacrificing a bit of brutality, and they are melodic without sacrificing any of their malicious intent, and while it is not the best Death Metal album I've ever heard, None So Vile is an almost perfect overview of the genre, the very essence of why I love it. Go get this one if you haven't already.

Originally written for http://www.metalcrypt.com