Review Summary: A benchmark in old school death metal
There are very few names that carry the same weight in the world of death metal than Cryptopsy, a band that has time and time again gifted the genre with utter gold. Blasphemy Made Flesh was a stellar debut that may have set the bar extremely high, but twice since that album have they topped it. One example would be on Whisper Supremacy, their shift into true death metal, but their best album was the album that sat in between these two albums, outclassing them completely. The album was None So Vile.
None So Vile is a near perfect blend of technicality and raw hatred, never taking its foot off the accelerator, and featuring all the Cryptopsy trademarks. On display here is some exceedingly complex drumming from Flo Mounier that is both hyper fast and ridiculously hard to play, some crazily heavy riffing that packs an equal amount of technicality, bass work that is merely impressive because it manages to keep up with the rest of the instrumental work, and a superb death metal vocalist in Lord Worm. Lord Worm has an exceedingly guttural, low growl, but can shift it up to a higher pitched scream and a snarling style of growl, which give the vocals a huge sense of variety and accomplishment. Lord Worm is very much a character that you either love or hate, but in my opinion he is one of the finest death metal vocalists of all time, and certainly the best that Cryptopsy have ever had.
The songs themselves are as solid as can be asked for out of brutal death metal. The songs are full of moments that will absolutely astound the listener, including an absolutely amazing bass solo in Slit Your Guts, that really does take your face clean off. Think Alex Webster on steroids, and only then can you imagine how insanely quick and technical Eric Langlois bass work is on this album, and that song in particular. Slit Your Guts also manages to stand out a little more due to the utterly bezerk solo from Jon Levassaur and the frequent tempo changes throughout.
Crown Of Horns works well as an album opener, serving as a great introduction to the style of Cryptopsy. Starting with a sample taken from The Exorcist III, this album starts at a lightning fast pace and never once takes its foot off the listener's throat, but it is during this song that the one minor criticism of this album also becomes apparent. At times throughout this album, Lord Worm is off time with the music, due to the frantic speed at which he is forced to deliver his vocals. This is nothing that takes away from the experience at all, it just occasionally shows a little chink in the armor that this album wears so proudly. However, the band could not have chosen a better vocalist for this style of album, in which brutality is all that matters, with his unintelligible lows being perfect for the songs on display here and the speed of his vocals carrying all the power and intensity one would expect from such a revered vocalist.
Another stand out moment of the album is the section in the center of Graves Of The Fathers, a fan favorite, in which the drums are right at the forefront with a beautifully written riff over the top of them. This leads directly into one of the slowest sections of the album, and serves perfectly as a transition, and is marvelously written in its own right. It is moments like these that makes every song stand out from the others, giving it a feeling of variety, even though the entire album is utterly brutal and unforgiving throughout.
One frequent criticism of this album is that every single song carries the exact same sound to it, and this is something I completely disagree with. Whilst many of the songs have slightly slower sections, as stated above, there is always at least one moment to keep the songs feeling fresh. On Dead And Dripping, that would be Lord Worm's vocals, which is possibly his finest performance throughout the album, mixing his high pitched screams with his growls frequently. However, more than often it is just one individual riff, such as on Lichmistress, that keeps every song being as memorable as the last. The drumming is always incredibly quick, and also has a huge amount of differences throughout, that make even the breath taking blast beats found across this entire release feeling new every time. Perhaps the absolute finest moment of the album, however, comes on Benedictine Convulsions, which contains by far the most technical performance Cyptopsy had put out at the time, and contains a frighteningly long growl from Lord Worm, that sounds as though he had an oxygen pump up his backside whilst doing it. This is a magical song, and if this doesn't get a listeners head banging, nothing will.
Other than the occasional out of time vocals from Lord Worm, there really is nothing to fault about this album. As an old school death metal album, this still holds up ridiculously well today, carrying all of the power it once had, blasting its way through the countless imitators that have cropped up over the years. This serves as an exercise in brutality and technicality, with jaw dropping drumming, guitar work, bass and one of the finest death metal vocal performances I can honestly name. This is a flat out classic, with just one minor flaw keeping it from perfection. 4.5/5