In hindsight, Cryptopsy is one of those bands that never managed to outdo themselves. When None So Vile dropped on the extreme metal world in 1996, it cracked it right down to its misanthropic, molten core and remolded one of the most sonically extreme metal sub-genres ever: technical death metal. It became an instant classic, and set a new benchmark for what it means to be simultaneously crazily proficient in one’s instrumental skills, musically unconventional and viciously sick in the head.
As the album title aptly suggests, the music contained within the innocent-looking disc is pure vileness. In particular, the greasy, throbbing bass lines will slap your ears as hard as a boa constrictor’s fat tail would and leave you dazed and quivering in masochistic joy.
The highly irregular time signatures, breakneck tempos and frequent syncopation constantly make the tearing onslaught of cheek-ripping noise viciously entertaining. The music often stops suddenly for a very brief moment, only to accelerate to 666 mph in a split second and then decelerate to 333 mph or so, like a Satanic and bipolar version of the Acura NSX Concept car (the sexy beast we see Tony Stark drive away in during the closing scene of The Avengers); and the whole process does not necessarily repeat itself in this exact order. As a result, ribcage-cracking grooves are created, and they just keep coming and crushing in various musical patterns.
Eargasmic guitar solos (check out 3:05 to 3:32 in “Slit Your Guts”) are also present, and not only do they provide structural balance to the groove-dominated songs, they will make your neck muscles convulse and slam your head back and forth rapidly between the surface of your table and the wall behind until your brain bashes itself into a squishy grey mess. Basically, Cryptopsy was the Insect Warfare of technical death metal; there is never a dull moment on this album.
And we are not done with the “never a dull moment” part; there is even a beguiling piano introduction in the track “Phobophile”! After lulling you into a false sense of security with its beauteous melancholy, the piano exits to make way for something slick and sinister. A bass guitar solo slithers in to wind around your neck, before constricting suddenly to snap your neck as effortlessly as Hercules would with a dry twig in a sudden burst of corpse-grinding noise.
None So Vile is a timeless metal record that perfectly captures the scabrous spirit of extreme underground death metal, and it is also a testament to the tenet that death metal can never only settle for fast – only faster! Cryptopsy’s later works do not surpass this masterpiece, and they will probably never be able to produce such an important record ever again. Whatever chance they had of having a go at this challenge disappeared with Lord Worm’s second departure from the band in 2007.
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