Thursday, 25 February 2016

Alphabetical Discovery - Week C, Day Six: Cryptopsy

I'm just going to jump right in and talk about None So Vile, Cryptopsy's second - and best - album, and arguably one of the best extreme metal albums. Many bands have attempted to perfect that art of the unruly, the schizophrenic, the chaotic, but none come close to the 32-minutes of complete and utter freakishness that 1996's None So Vile manages to ooze.

None So Vile opens with a roaring demon dinosaur type creature welcoming us into the mad-world; indecipherable lyrics - including a notable selection of references to anal play - and inhuman vocals layered above rapid drumming and unstable guitar sounds that happen to contain both a brain-numbing difficulty and an incredible level of groove. There is so much groove invisible behind the cacophony as in 'Grave of the Fathers' for example. This is unconventional brutal-death, the parameters of straight-forward death turned on its head, floating in a bizarre space defying gravity and the laws of conventional music. This is all incredibly dramatic and hyperbolic but I think a cautious approach does the album no justice whatsoever - sometimes you have to go a bit crazy. 

Cryptopsy - None So Vile
Lord Worm's vocals are made up of some of the most disgusting sounds known to man: diseased and frothing gargles, spewing gurgles, razor sharp snarls, excruciatingly painful groans, piggish snorts, heart-wrenching shrieks, cannibalistic growls - not many other vocalists touch the complete madness of his vocals; they are unstructured and loose, but this unruliness is more of selling-point than a weakness. The vocals are like the cries at an exorcism, some brutal demon pouring from the portal of the throat; this is how the closing sections of 'Benedictine Convulsions sounds. Lord Worm now teaches English - those poor children.

Combining and controlling all of this chaotic unruliness must be a difficult task, yet there is a cohesive unstructured structure to the album; there are immensely good riffs that never linger too long, that always mutate and move on to the next - the band must have sold their soul to the devil for a bottomless pit of riffs because almost every transition is mesmeric. This is attenuated by the maniacal drumming of Flo Mounier - it's difficult to really put my finger on what it is so I'm just going to be completely hyperbolic about describing this too: it's a multi-dimensional, warped, multi-armed piston-heavy explosion of blast-beats, hat-riding, and bellowing rhythmic annihilation. It's an acquired sound; the snare is pronounced, at times sounding hollow, but it works with the album, it's purposely not meant to sound clean or fluid.

The bass is the same; it's played with the panache of a classical or flamenco guitarist - fingers and bass strings stomping and swinging about with such incredible energy. It doesn't really sound like a bass - it transcends the boundaries of sound, curving and warping as the waves tumble through the air. There are also moments of beauty and semi-conventionality carried through brief solos and spurts of rhythm - 'Slit Your Guts' is an example of this. 

Cryptopsy's first album Blasphemy Made Flesh has a much grittier production, it perhaps does not contain the overly-spasmodic tendencies of None So Vile but from an outsiders it's just as unconventional; the bass seems to ping with even greater clearness due to the production on Blasphemy Made Flesh, the vocals are maniacal if slightly more conventional and the drum-work once again pummeling. Their third album, Whisper Supermacy, is also worth checking out despite no Lord Worm on vocals, the instrumentals are still mind-boggling. After that album my knowledge is a bit more hazy - there was that one album that shall not be named. Their 2015 E,P The Book of Suffering was actually decent, but it lacked something, it dropped pretty quickly onto the ever moving conveyor belt of good but not incredible music.

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