Review Summary: The faulted legend
None so Vile.
Those three words carry such weight within the world of metal.
Often hailed as the magnum opus of the old school death metal, this was an album I ventured into with much anticipation and left it with a small sense of disappointment. It is not that NONE SO VILE suffered from having poor songs exactly, it merely doesn't do much else than wreck everything in it's path.
I would like to state first and foremost that this is one of the most brutal albums my ears have ever had the terror of listening to, and I can definitely understand why this album is held in such a high regard. The only significant problem with this album is that it lacks one very important factor: variation. Brutality and technicality are present in spades on this album, yet every song is designed to pound away with maximum intensity with little thought given to melody or progression. If this is what you are looking for in a death metal album, than by all means, NONE SO VILE is for you.
The album starts off in fantastic fashion, with "Crown of Horns" and "Slit your Guts". The latter is one of the few exceptions in this album where melody is utilized, albeit in the second half of the song. These two songs give a perfect preview of what to expect throughout the course of the album: pure brutality, machine-like drumming and ferocious guitar work.
Whilst brutality is an absolute must in a death metal album, it is also NONE SO VILE's downfall. As previously mentioned, there is very little variation, and this can lead to great difficulty in listening to multiple songs on this album. When the variation does come, however, it is excellently well executed. "Phobophile" is probably the best example of this, and it helps to provide a momentary reprieve from the crushing brutality (I know I keep using that word, but it is honestly the best way to describe this album). "Phobophile" showcases some excellent melodic riffing and leads one to wonder how much this album could have been improved if that style was utilized more often.
The instrumentation is a definite highpoint in this album, whilst rarely straying from one particular style, the guitars, surprisingly audible bass and drums are played with excellent proficiency. The only thing I can take away from the instrumentation are rare mishaps by drummer Flo Mounier (please don't hurt me). There is no doubting Flo's ability, however on the odd occasion (such as the opening blast beats in "Crown of Horns", and during some of the quicker blasts in "Dead and Dripping") it seems as if the breackneck pace of the guitars are simply too fast for him to blast to. Other than that, his performance is fantastic.
Then there's the vocals.
Lord Worm is... well Lord Worm. There is nothing more I can say about him that hasn't already been said, yet if you haven't heard much about Cryptopsy before, I'll just let you know that Lord Worm is simply a beast (as long as you don't care about articulation). Nuff said.
Production is also a high point on this album. All the instruments are well balanced (even bass D:) and nothing is too overpowering. Extremely well done.
All in all this is a very good album. It earned it's reputation for a reason, and will not disappoint if you are a fan of brutal death metal. The lack of variation is a set-back, and listening to it all at once may prove difficult for the average extreme metal fan.
Crown of Horns
Slit your Guts
Brutal as ***