Cryptopsy - _None So Live_
(Century Media, 2003)
by: Pedro Azevedo (9.5 out of 10)
Back in the mid-'90s, Cryptopsy were one of those very few bands that managed to maintain the role of innovators in the death metal scene -- through their 1994 debut _Blasphemy Made Flesh_ and especially the 1996 follow-up _None So Vile_. The sheer lunacy, brutality and extreme technicality, almost impossibly coupled with passages that were actually very catchy, made Cryptopsy really stand out from the death metal crowd. With Mike DiSalvo replacing Lord Worm on vocals and some more style changes, _Whisper Supremacy_ and _And Then You'll Beg_ alienated some old fans, but remain powerful testaments to the band's skill. _None So Live_ (and what a suitable title this is) deservedly focuses mostly on the band's _None So Vile_ era, while still covering their career quite well considering it only contains ten actual songs. Recorded in Montreal in June 2002, this live performance already features new vocalist Martin Lacroix. Fans awaiting his studio debut may be pleased to notice that Lacroix is neither exactly like Lord Worm nor Mike DiSalvo, but rather somewhere in between. Also worthy of notice is the fact that this live disc was mixed by Pierre Remillard, producer of every Cryptopsy album except their debut.

The live set kicks off with the brilliant intro from _None So Vile_, followed by the same album's excellent opener "Crown of Horns". The album tour continues as the band visits the other three records in succession with "White Worms" (_Wisper Supremacy_), "We Bleed" (_And Then You'll Beg_) and "Open Face Surgery" (_Blasphemy Made Flesh_). Then it's back to _Whisper Supremacy_ for "Cold Hate, Warm Blood", followed by my personal favourite, "Phobophile", from _None So Vile_. Then comes "Shroud" from _And Then You'll Beg_ and "Graves of the Fathers" from _None So Vile_, which includes a near four minute drum solo midway through. The disc then finishes with "Defenestration" from _Blasphemy Made Flesh_ and "Slit Your Guts" from _None So Vile_. In other words, you get four tracks from _None So Vile_ and a couple from each of the other three records. There is very little I can think of to improve this set list other than add a couple more songs -- which might end up doing more harm than good anyway, especially if they had to be taken from a different show.

As for the recording itself, the sound quality is good, but not so good that it sounds like a studio album; and the playing is tight, but not always so tight that it sounds like some sort of cleaning up took place. I cannot guess exactly what happened between the original recording and the finished product, but to me it doesn't come across as artificially good. The performers, on the other hand, are of the highest calibre -- above all, unsurprisingly, Cryptopsy's unbelievable drummer Flo Mounier, quite possibly the best drummer in the metal world. His drum solo helps cement that claim, but just hearing his performance throughout the show goes a long way to proving it. (Never having been to a Cryptopsy show myself, I can only imagine his arms flying all over the kit.) The other band members are in top shape as well, with new vocalist Lacroix putting in a very convincing performance. The guitar work is excellent, even if occasionally slightly messy. Nothing frequent or jarring enough to even begin to spoil a Cryptopsy fan's enjoyment of this superb performance though. Indeed, with such a quality set list, very adequate sound quality and an excellent display by this highly talented band, this is just about as good as a live album can get -- so much so that the only record I can see challenging it successfully is My Dying Bride's superb _Voice of the Wretched_. _None So Live_ is a deservedly outstanding live document of an equally outstanding band.


(article published 11/5/2003)

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