Thursday, July 19, 2012

Cryptopsy - None so Vile

This is the one album that I would consider to be the top contender for the 'brutal death metal perfection sweepstakes' that Suffocation's 'Effigy of the Forgotten' has unwaveringly remained at the top of. Not so much because it's so brutal, but because of the fact that, not only is it indeed "brutal", but the songwriting is through the fucking roof. I understand that there are a million bands that, ahem, "downstroke" their guitars to the point of redundancy and fill every rhythmic crack and crevice with an onslaught of  totally guttural "ree-ree-ree's" and "ooh-ooh-ooh's" all the while the drummer is having a severe bout with Tourettes in the background, but all of those seemingly "brutal" elements do not constitute a classic album, nor an enjoyable one to endure.

I remember first hearing this album back in '97 and being absolutely blown away by it. There haven't been many "genre defing" moments in death metal since the first wave of bands came crashing through the gate back in the late 80's. For me, the albums that really took extremity to the next level were far and few between. When Slayer's 'Reign in Blood' came out, I was convinced that that was the final word in all things brutal and extreme... and then came Deicide's self titled debut, which absolutely crushed and burned that notion to the ground. Now I was absolutely convinced that the final frontier had been reached. No one could ever outdo the chaos and insanity I had experienced through listening to that album. Wrong again. In 1991, Suffocation released their instantly legendary debut album, 'Effigy of the Forgotten' and blew the world's collective mind. It would be 5 long years until the kingdom established by Suffocation was violently shaken to its core and the gods themselves were in danger of being dethroned.

As I mentioned earlier, it's not just that 'None so Vile' is a supremely brutal and aggressive listening experience, but the riff writing and arrangements are second to none. Not even Suffo has been able to write shit as flawlessly intact as this. The riffs are imaginative and everything blends in perfectly. There's stuff on 'Effigy..' that sounds way out of place. Forced, even. Not here. All of the riffs and the drummers answer to them are top fucking shelf. This is the masterwork of an already promising band. A band that had finally reached their creative peak and stood atop the world.

The one key element that prevents this album from toppling Suffo's position as the reigning kings of "brutal DM" are the hilariously retarded vocals of Lord Worm. It never ceases to blow my mind when people scream rabid praise to this Man for his "unmatched expertise" (!!??). He sounds (and I'm trying to be as concise with this as possible here, folks) like one of those dogs, leashed up in the back yard that you want to kick in the head because they will not shut the fuck up. It's actually quite the bummer, really, as the lions share of lyrics on the album make for a rather interesting read. In Mr. Worm's favor, I will say that his screams are on fucking point as well as a few isolated low end growls scattered throughout the album, but when it's time to sing a verse, this guy falls flat on his face.

Aside from LW's sub-standard vocal performance, this is a top shelf release and one that set the bar higher than even the band themselves could reach as they have never again visited the creative apex this album sits upon. As I mentioned before, if it wasn't for the goofy vocals, NSV would have ground 'Effigy...' into dust as the riffs of Jon Levasseur are un-fucking-matched and Flo's unbelievably spastic drumming truly did bring it to the next level.

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