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Wistfully, I gaze into those empty holes. - 100%

LeMiserable, December 24th, 2014
Written based on this version: 2013, CD, Hammerheart Records (Digipak)

The fact that a band seemingly drunk during the recording created a masterpiece like this makes me want to make it a rule that bands have to be either tripping or intoxicated before even attempting to enter a recording session. I can't imagine how you can make such a precise album while everything you see is either double or spinning. Anyway, regardless of whether the band has any recollection of what happened in 1996, it's a well-known fact that Cryptopsy's sophomore effort None So Vile still stands as one of technical death metal's crowning achievements. Even today, roughly 18 years after this album hit the shelves, there's still nothing that ever came close to matching or even replicating the utterly brilliant slab of music that fills this album. And it's no wonder, this is a one-time thing. The world will never see a masterpiece such as this again. Countless bands nowadays all try to "improve" upon this album's formula, but most fail horribly by imitating this album the way most haters/idiots actually look at it; a wall of noise.

A wall of noise this is not however. It's easy to mistake this album for one on initial spins, but when given further time little drips and drops of brilliance will slowly start to seep through, rendering it virtually impossible to dislike anything about this afterwards. This is inherently excellent and eccentric, but most definitely not for everyone though. None So Vile gave a big middle finger to all the genre's conventions and basically reinvented the wheel. Sure, the riffs on this album aren't exactly original in the sense that they were never heard before at the time, but it's the way this album put it all to practice that sets it apart AND ahead of everything the genre was and is currently made of. While mostly consisting of tempos so fast they're hard to properly headbang to, Cryptopsy have structured the songs in such a way making it seem as if they're mindless creatively misguided wank sessions, but in reality are some of the most brilliant compositions death metal has ever seen. The band perfectly crafted 8 entirely different songs, and they're all brilliant in their own way. The songs shift tempo quite a lot, but it never feels as if they don't know what they're doing, they all climax and don't feel short. Every passage, riff or solo has its contribution to the whole, they're not just 'there' to remind you how technically skilled the band is, they really serve a purpose, even though they do this at basically twice the speed of most of death metal's records at the time.

Frankly, for a technical death metal record, this album generally wasn't very 'traditionally death metal' in the sense most records were at the time. The genre itself hadn't even fully birthed 10 years ago and was still searching for ways to expand its horizons, but I feel None So Vile is THE one record that introduced technical death metal to its utmost extreme very early on. I mean, one will notice that when listening to the bulk of the riffs this record spews forth that they're basically as grindy as death metal riffs are gonna get before it blatantly becomes a deathgrind record. Most of the riffs found here are both tremolo and played fucking fast, setting this apart from most of the albums still stuck at trying to make something out of 'ordinary' death metal riffs at the time. Actually, apart from the fact that Lord Worm is a death metal vocalist and that most of the material is structured in a very death metal-like way, this is basically just a grindcore record dressing itself up as a technical death metal album. This is just far too focused on speed, intensity and chaos compared to most 'usual' death metal records.

Logically, if you wanna have a shot at playing an album with such frantic compositions at this, you need the right people to be able to pull it off properly. Needless to say, the people that embodied Cryptopsy at the time this was recorded were well up for the task. None So Vile has some of the best individual performances you'll ever stumble upon in a lifetime. Whether it's the blasting frenzy brought forth by the drumming God himself, Flo Mounier, the crazy leads by Jon Levasseur, the bouncy bass lines by Éric Langlois or the utterly schizophrenic barks by Lord Worm, every member of the band is performing some of the best stuff the genre will ever amuse us with. What's arguably even more impressive is that, while everyone is playing at what is perhaps the best they can, this album never runs out of steam or things to do. It's literally bursting with ideas and brings each individual idea to the table in such a way it always feels new, fresh or exciting. The instrumental department of this album deserves a medal. None So Vile has about a gazillion riffs on display, but none of them feel even remotely similar to one another, there simply just isn't a note on this album that feels repeated even though it spends roughly 32 minutes smashing 500.000 notes into your eardrums.

Every member of the band is just a complete God at what he's supposed to do. Lord Worm is still one of the most insane vocalists the genre has ever seen. He doesn't even properly growl though, well he does, but he does it in such a way that it discards most of music's borders. In contrary to the band's even more chaotic debut, he actually barks on tempo this time around. He's still completely indecipherable and everyone who thinks they can make something of what he utters will be saluted by me, but at least you can follow his lyrics along this time around. The lyrics themselves are just as brilliant as everything here; I can take legitimate amusement out of reading the lyrics, even when the album isn't on. His brilliantly-written lines with hints towards perversion make for some truly weird lines for you to feast your eyes upon.

Jon Levasseur is just simply one of the best guitarists metal has ever known. Whether it's the crazy leads, the hyperactive tremolo's or the oddly melodic solos that pop up from to time, it's all played on such high levels that I can't help but wonder why people don't mention him as 'one of the best' or 'THE best' more often. The same more or less goes for Éric Langlois, you don't really get to see his name anywhere often, but his performance on this album is one that's of obvious high levels. The bass was arguably something that pulled Blasphemy Made Flesh down, but it's great here. The bass gets to shine from time to time as well, often having the album focus on the bass happily thrumming away. Regardless of these moments, the bass is generally very audible altogether. You can hear the thing popping behind the leads and drums more often than not. I like it when the bass is nice and audible, and None So Vile's production job allows for a lot to shine through.

Together with Levasseur though, Flo Mounier steals the show. I can't even begin to explain how great this man is. Obvious praise of course for the speed and spazz of his playing, but it's the steady array of beats scattered throughout the album that really impressed me the most. He's hitting lightning speeds now and then and his fills are all over the place, but not even once throughout the album do I get the impression he's using a technique or fill he used before, making for an absolutely jaw-dropping drum performance.

Being the massive fanboy I am, I consider None So Vile to be metal's zenith. While there have been albums creeping up to it lately, none have been able to surpass it, and I don't think anything ever will. Records such as Obscura, Iluminations Of Vile Engorgement and Fused Together in Revolving Doors have made me doubt this records' reputation as my all-time favourite, but in the end it crept back upon the throne again. Ladies and gentleman, this is None So Vile, art expressed in the most eccentric way possible.

(I should really stop deleting this)