Sound — 9
The sound is a brilliant mix of brutal death metal, a touch of black metal, and a decent portion of grindcore. This was the band's 3rd album (counting Ungentle Exhumation) and has Lord Worm on it, one of the best metal vocalists in the history of the genre. This was Cryptopsy's milestone album and, indeed, a milestone in death metal. The vocals are placed high in the mix but don't drown things out most of the time. The guitars have a strange effect on them that makes them shrill and very interesting to listen to, which seems to be a trademark Cryptopsy sound. The bass is placed perfectly in the mix with both a low end and a high end, exemplified with several slap riffs. The sound can get muddled occasionally, but it only adds to the atmosphere when it does. The entire band are geniuses when it comes to riffs. For example, during one part, the guitar and bass are alternating riffs, and when the bass produces a noisy, messy series of notes that sounds like a mistake, the guitarists then take that series of notes and produce a riff. I must also note that every member of Cryptopsy is a virtuoso at their respective instrument and that Flo's hyper blast beats are inhuman.
Lyrics — 10
Lord Worm is a beast of a vocalist, churning out some of the most indecipherable guttural growls and ridiculously high shrieks I've ever heard. Needless to say, you never have any clue what he's saying at any point in the whole album. Even when reading the lyrics it can be tough, since he mainly grunts and howls the correct number of syllables and enunciates about as much as a drunk Elton John would. Worm was an English teacher before the release of None So Vile and, I believe, resumed the job for the 8 years following before he was recruited for Once Was Not. Worm has a massive vocabulary and puts it to use in his lyrics. He takes himself just seriously enough to convey a sinister attitude that never gets tired or cliched. And believe me, with song names like Slit Your Guts and Orgiastic Disembowelment, the fact that he's able to do that is incredible. The lyrics fit perfectly and deal with religion but more in a jokingly satanic, Slayer-esque way than the pure cold hatred black metalers put in their music. It also treads occasionally into the realm of the occult with generally interesting and satisfying results. Lyrics are great. There are only two samples used on the whole album but their placement is sheer brilliance, as is their mood. Tasteful and well-done, while still managing to be undeniably brutal; this is the essence of Cryptopsy.
Overall Impression — 10
Needless to say, Worm is an infinitely better vocalist than Mike DiSalvo or Martin Lacroix. His lyrics and direction are what set None So Vile apart so drastically from Whisper Supremacy and ...And Then You'll Beg. It's a less technical record to be sure, but it fits better with their more "organic" sound at this period. Every track is fantastic, and I must say that the bass and piano at the beginning of Phobophile is genius. I won't spoil anything for you, but everything in this album is a roller coaster ride with no point other than to rid you of all your musical inhibition. It envelops you in a wave of sound that is both appallingly brutal and beautifully melodic. If it were stolen or lost I would absolutely buy another copy. It ranks with the likes of Master of Puppets, Reign in Blood, and Scream Bloody Gore and is a legendary record in the death metal realm. If you're into this type of music or think you might be, buy this album immediately, it's a classic.