Monday, 2 July 2012

CRYPTOPSY - None So Vile (1996)

01  Crown Of Horns
02  Slit Your Guts
03  Graves Of The Fathers
04  Dead And Dripping
05  Benedictine Convulsion
06  Phobophile
07  Lichmistress
08  Orgiastic Disembowelment

'None So Vile' is the second album by Canadian band Cryptopsy, released by the now-defunct Wrong Again Records on July 3rd 1996. The album is the first to feature bassist Éric Langois and the last to feature vocalist Lord Worm, until his return on 2005's 'Once Was Not'. The cover artwork is a painting of Herodias with the Head of John the Baptist by Elisabetta Sirani.

The reputation that this album has is a bit odd. Seen as the pinnacle of grinding speed, shredding riffs, and guttural vocals, many dismiss NSV as a mishmash of ideas not followed to their logical conclusions. Yes, this album does grind and shred, and yes the vocals are guttural indeed. But, even for 1996, this is not the pinnacle. Precisely because these elements are necessary for the dynamic of the expressive range, not some jocular novelty gimmick designed to appease moshing hordes. NSV does, however, have the capacity to achieve this effect, as I can see a simple fan of slamming NYDM getting into this as much as purveyors of underground musical esoterica. This album can be enjoyed played loudly or softly, and different elements make themselves present as such. High volume yields overwhelming blasted patterns and guitar slams, while low volume reveals the true psychogenic venom behind the tremolo-riffed melodies.

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.

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 (we're still waiting Mr. Suiçmez!), 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, NSV is an almost perfect overview of the genre, the very essence of why I love it.

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