Soundtrack To Your Annihilation: An Introduction

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This world is filled with terrors. You might be terrified of an Ebola outbreak on U.S. soil. You could be anxious that terrorists will strike your favorite Hot Topic hangout at the mall. You might be obsessed with GMOs, and decry “Monsanto as the great American devil“, all day long on your favorite social media sites. You may be plagued by unseen existential horrors, burdened with working one hundred hours every twelve days, or nervous about an impending job layoff. Due to my inability to write a regular weekly series, meet deadlines, keep a schedule, or write about topics that are current, meaningful, or relevant, I got an idea for this ambitious series, much in the same way L. Ron Hubbard developed his ideas for Scientology. The concept is simple. What happens to your average metal fan as they follow an aural path into the heart of darkness and a “rabbit hole of what-the-fvckery”?

The Toilet Ov Hell is excited to bring you the first part of this series, Soundtrack To Your Annihilation. I am going on a journey; I hope some of you will come with me. We are going to take a look at and have a listen to records in a wide range of metal’s subgenres and some on the outer fringe of it. These records will get more brutal, darker, weirder, and more difficult to listen to as the series moves on. You may know and love some of these records. You may not have heard them at all. We are going to learn a little more about subgenres we know, and cover some that haven’t been covered in great lengths at the Toilet Ov Hell. We will laugh together, we will cry together. We will join hands and hearts and reach into the inner recesses of our own humanity. While some writers have used their skill and positions at the Toilet Ov Hell to cover heartwarming, fist pumping, righteous anthems, this series intends to head in the opposite direction, towards a stunning and shocking conclusion.


 

Cryptopsy - None So Vile - Wrong Again Records 1996

CryptopsyNone So Vile – Wrong Again Records 1996


The first album for this series is none other than Cryptopsy’s 1996 album, None So Vile. I get it, I get it. This is not exactly an “easy” starting point, unless you were raised by your parents on a strict diet of power electronics and fear. It’s as good a place to start as any. Why? None So Vile has been called a “landmark” album by Decibel Magazine, who inducted it into the Decibel Hall of Fame a couple of years back. Islander at No Clean Singing has said of it, “listening to None So Vile is an experience that’s almost too intense”. I had that experience my first time through it. Released in 1996, None So Vile came out long before Colin Marston became his own subgenre of music, and before all your neighbors in the suburban gated community started their own tech death bands. This record is almost twenty years old! Watch for it to hit the metal blogosphere all over again in 2016. Well, what about the album?

None So Vile is a technical death metal album, but it is not frilly. Cryptopsy find a near perfect balance between stunning technicality and pummeling savagery on this record. Rather than awkwardly playing air weedlies in your cubicle, this is death metal you can snap your neck to. The album is mixed tremendously for an album in that genre and from that era. Buzzing guitars complement frequent blasts and double bass drumming. Over the top guitar solos are used tastefully; they don’t overstay their welcome and appear no more often than needed. Check out the end of “Slit Your Guts” for a prime example. An absolute standout on this album is Lord Worm’s vocal performance. This is one of the great vocal performances in metal. Travis Ryan would later be placed near the top of his class; the class already included Lord Worm. Worm sounds completely maniacal. Worm is educated and well read, apparently these lyrics are quite insightful and darkly funny. As I have written before, I rarely read lyrics to any of the metal albums I listen to. “Phobophile” opens with a soft, brief piano interlude, you are given fifty seconds to catch your breath before the next onslaught. There are few moments of respite in None So Vile’s thirty two minute run time, like those solos, this album does not overstay its welcome. Nor will this write up. You can tell these guys have a sense of humor too, the album closes with a sample of Bruce Campbell from Army of Darkness.

This is loud, fast, and chaotic music played with nigh mechanical precision. In the spectrum of aural violence, place it in a category with other top tier tech death bands, bands that play tightly controlled grind, and some of the more digestible slam out there. (Digestible slam, serious?)

Do you consider None So Vile to be a classic? Why does Canada have so much good death metal? (See also: France. Don’t even get me started on France. I could and may someday do a whole series on French metal and noise). Are you excited to see what’s next on Soundtrack To Your Annihilation? Have you been infected with the Ebola virus already? Does STYA sound like an abbreviation for a corrupt government agency?

If you haven’t heard None So Vile, give it a listen as soon as you can. If you have heard it, feel free to sound off in the comments with your unwavering agreements.





Huge thanks to Christian Molenaar for the major assist in the conception, planning, and execution of this series.

Photos via & via

 

  • I don’t know what the fuck I’d do if terrorists destroyed my local Hot Topic. So many great band shirts there.

    • Edward Meehan

      … drive to the next closest mall with a Hot Topic?

    • W.

      Order from their online store?

      • CONAN THE MOTHERFUCKING KING

        If i order from rockabilia or a seller off ebay i feel better about myself. Of course i have no access to a hot topic, so i can feel superior without trying !

    • Janitor Jim Dvggan

      I used to buy a lot of band shirts from Hot Topic but I stopped doing that because the good shirts stopped being sold there.

    • Lacertilian

      Indiemerchstore.com ?

    • Gurp

      All the stores I used to live near had killer shit like Death shirts with the original logo. Used to…

  • MoshOff

    5/5 fresh worms from a goblet, mang. Jon Levasseur rips so much anus in half an hour it’s amazing he didn’t get sued. Also, I found this fairly recently:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E759cdSmDa8

    • Edward Meehan

      It was funny, well at least to me in an ironic way, that I submitted this article last Wednesday and the very next day on the Toilet Ov Hell I started seeing all this None So Vile love. Made me feel all warm and fuzzy i.e. dark and brutal.

    • Gurp

      I love really old-ass videos of bands performing in their prime.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0dffivjWUTo

  • I’m gonna steal a page from RiotAct666’s book and say that Cryptopsy is the gold standard of what technical death metal should sound like. Looking forward to the rest of this series, Edward!

    • Edward Meehan

      I know for certain what the next two albums will be, and with assistance I have most of the rest of it mapped out. We are gonna get weird. I hope you and Joe will even just run one of them, the one I referenced above ha.

      • Virgil the Ghost Poet

        I am not the biggest fan of death metal (as I cower in a corner afraid waiting for the shamming and beatings) but I will give this a listen. I am looking forward to learning about more music. Mr. Bungle, Fantomas Directors Cut perhaps? Old industrial maybe oh the possibilities! This is going to be fun!

        • Janitor Jim Dvggan

          I can’t wait to see how dark this gets. I loved the Cryptopsy album so much and I want to see how this music goes with existential collapse. There is death metal I don’t like but that is few and far between and includes any Morbid Angel album after Domination, The Unspoken King and the Sodom album from 2010.

          • The Satan Ov Hell

            I predict much DSBM in the future of this.

    • CONAN THE MOTHERFUCKING KING

      When this came out it was just called death metal

      * words from a decrepit old man living in the past*

  • frozengoatsheadupanunsarse

    This whole album is just “Duuuuuuddddeee……..?”

  • Cock ov Steele

    Tech death seems a particular amongst the French Canadians at least.

    • Edward Meehan

      Right?

      … actually since you pointed out they were French Canadians that makes a little more sense about my puzzlement related to French people and dark twisty music. See also: Japan.

      • Death

        French people make the best black metal.

        • Edward Meehan

          … like they have some kind of unfair advantage.

          • Death

            Illuminati?

          • Edward Meehan

            Hail Illuminati.

  • Death

    This album has been one of the few metal albums that I have never gotten bored of in my life.

  • Nordling Rites Ov Karhu

    Just listening that drummer and completely ignoring the rest of the band. Okah maybe a little worm here and there but that’s it.

    Really looking forward to this series continuing, it’s got the makings of greatness.

    • Edward Meehan

      I have a feeling I might get a fair amount of hatred for the last or second to last part of the series, ha.

  • Nordling Rites Ov Karhu

    Cryptopsy must feel a little bad about this every now and then. Giving the world this so early on and never quite being able to top it

    • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

      Exactly. They shot their wad. Simple as that.

      • Steve Smithwick

        That second wad is never even nearly as good.

      • Mother Shabubu III

        I don’t think it’s necessarily shooting the wad. In many cases, especially with like death metal or metallic genres, there is only so much new ground to tread before you run out of innovations, shock value, or new ideas, or even just get lazy and complacent due to success (See Mastodon for example). That’s why some metal bands make the same record over and over, or just sound shittier with each release, or just never live up to that magnum opus. Even worse; they get more melodic and try more conventional approaches, or try to come off as artsy (AKA become accessible. See Mastodon for example). Also; metal bands influenced by almost nothing but other metal music tend fall apart really fast.

        • Cock ov Steele

          Maiden managed to beat that trope about 3 times before their wad was finally shot.

          • CONAN THE MOTHERFUCKING KING

            I would stand up the maiden discography against rush. Solid. No other metal band operating since 1980 has kept it as solid as IM,

          • Scrimm

            Absolute truth.

          • Cock ov Steele

            Very true, although I give Priest credit. Trend riding gave them 2 mediocre albums but it also produced one of the best speed metal albums ever made.

  • dr.derelict

    A series that promises to get progressively darker and starts with None So Vile? Ballsy.

    • IronLawnmower

      I predict towards the end it’ll be black nosie. Which is like white noise only more evil.

      • Edward Meehan

        I cannot confirm or deny your speculation, but that is a very good guess on you’re on the right track lol.

        • IronLawnmower

          Post noise blackend sludgedeath brutagrind?

        • IronLawnmower

          Or like the music equivalent of the mindrape scene from Neon Genesis Evangelion?

      • frozengoatsheadupanunsarse

        Fingers crossed Wold’s Screech Owl will appear.

      • The Satan Ov Hell

        Stalaggh, yeah!

        • Edward Meehan

          I had not heard of them before seeing this earlier today, and I did a little Google-ing on the subject. Have not listened, yet.

        • Call the Slambulance

          Goddamn fucking Stalaggh. I love that shit.

          • The Satan Ov Hell

            Great band, feels like being dragged through hell by yours truly, hahaha!

  • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

    I’m not a huge fan of techy death metal. Even more so, since this album can’t be touched. It’s perfect.

    • Steve Smithwick

      Bah. Tech Death = Best Death, at least to these ears. Give me clean production or don’t give me death! (There are exceptions, of course, but those seem to be my rules!)

    • Renan Ribeiro

      Me neither, but this album is great. The riffs sound like a subterranean monster lurking at a frenzied pace

  • Beunhaas

    This album has one of the best album covers in death metal. When I first saw it, I immediately knew that this one was special.

    • Nordling Rites Ov Karhu

      I disagree. While the painting is quite nice the placing of the logo and the arrangement of the name were so bad, I didn’t touch this for three whole years (and after touching regretted those years).

      • Beunhaas

        I never looked at it that way. I always just see the painting. I will have to agree that the logo is indeed not placed perfectly. Still, the painting has a sort of melancholy around it.

        • Nordling Rites Ov Karhu

          The painting is good, but I’m a Peter Gabriel about this (badly placed graphic, mostly words can simply ruin a great piece of art and often do if the piece of art wasn’t created with that graphic in mind).

  • RustyShackleford

    Heaviest fucking shit i’ve ever yep’d in my goddamn life. good bug killin music. yep.

  • Renan Ribeiro

    I’ve been stalling the purchase of tickets to Extreme Hate Festival in December, a show that will have Criptopsy, Suffocation, Belphegor and Watain. This article made me feel worse about it.

    • Janitor Jim Dvggan

      Go to it. I love Watain and Cryptopsy is amazing as well.

    • CONAN THE MOTHERFUCKING KING

      You should feel bad, now get those tickets before your true metal fan credentials are taken away.

      I am half joking…………..totally joking man, just bringing some edgy humor to the bowl. It’s tough to buy tickets to every show, because you may buy tickets and the next week another show is announced and you are broke. Not to mention merch, i spent 170 bucks on skeletonwitch and amon merch last night. Really put me in the hole.

      • Cock ov Steele

        I’m trying to get up and get those 100$ King Diamond tix. I know it’ll be worth it but damn I hate how the venues just want to milk it.

        • more beer

          Ticket fly has tickets to that show for between $31 & $45 Found my Denver ticket for $35. The venue here had them for as much as $300 but they seem to be outsourcing the ticket sales to thieving 3rd parties definitely look on ticket fly.

          • Cock ov Steele

            Will do! thanks!

          • more beer

            No problem when I saw the prices here at the venues box office I almost shit my pants.

  • JWG

    The only thing to fear is Ferrets Health.

  • That drummer must have bullet time.

  • I really enjoyed this piece, Edward. I’m looking forward to further br00tality.

  • That album is the kitties titties. All the tracks that get praised in reviews of the album are definitely worthy and great in their own right but Benedictine Convulsions dude. The drums , Lord Worms growls, and that fucking breakdown.

  • Janitor Jim Dvggan

    I listened to this Cryptopsy album not long ago and I loved it so much. I still don’t get how a band as good as these guys could even think of releasing The Unspoken King. At least that wasn’t a permanent style change.

  • W.

    Well done, E. HD and I have actually been kicking around an expose of French metal. Perhaps we can get you to be the third leg.

    • Edward Meehan

      I’d love to contribute if you guys would have me, keep me posted.

      • W.

        Will do. It’s on my growing list of articles to write.

        • Edward Meehan

          Fortunately, that is a problem I don’t have lol. I have a draft started on STYA2 and my Best Albums of 2014. I’d like to learn how to come up with solid interview questions cause I have a couple people I’d like to interview that might be open to it, but I don’t want it to be amateur hour.

          • W.

            Stockhausen has set a great example.

          • Edward Meehan

            See also, HD and CM. I have been supremely impressed with the quality of the interviews and questions so far.

    • George lynch will approve

  • Is demilich going to be the next in this series? Plz

    • Scrimm

      If there is any justice.

  • Gurp

    Love this album, but I’ve never thought Lord Worm’s vocals were anything special.

    • Edward Meehan

      … really?

      • Gurp

        Yep. Just sounded like incoherent grind shrieking.

        • Edward Meehan

          What’s one of your favorite metal vocalists / favorite performances on record? If I haven’t heard it I would be glad to check it out.

          • Gurp

            If we’re talking extreme metal, my favorite vocalists are gonna be in the neighborhood of Ross Dolan, John Gallagher, or Craig Pillard.

          • Edward Meehan

            Ah, big on the death metal side of things all around.

  • Janitor Jim Dvggan

    I love this article Edward. The intro paragraph fills my heart with dread and then listening to None So Vile afterwards made me question everything I knew about the world and myself. I can’t wait for the next article.

    • Edward Meehan

      Appreciate that JJD. I’m hard at work on the next one already!

  • Scrimm

    I must be the only one who doesn’t like this album. At all. Really good right up though.

    • Edward Meehan

      Appreciate that, Scrimm. I hope you like one or two of the next two I am covering.

      • Scrimm

        I’m sure I will. Not really sure why this album never did anything for me, I have a ton of respect for the musicianship.

  • Xan

    I can’t wait to read this tomorrow. Spent the whole day studying for midterms so I didn’t get a chance to read most of the articles today. Looks like I’ll be pulling a double toilet shift tomorrow.

    • Virgil the Ghost Poet

      Yeah, double toilet! Good luck with your test.

  • Virgil the Ghost Poet

    Just an announcement: Litergy has a new album coming early next year!
    The more you know!

  • KJM

    For the night is dark and full of terrors…

    As such, we might as well get high.

  • The Satan Ov Hell

    DID YOU SAY BLACKER THAN BLACK? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UaEaEIfKo70

    • Edward Meehan

      … it’s possible I mentioned something about blackness… or bleakness.

  • Link D. LeonhⒶrt V.

    I played Cryptosy a while ago.. In Decibel mag they did an interview with Lord Worm about that induction the writer talked, the guy is very educated and teach english to french-speakers canadian. Hope you put some Pornography, from The Cure, or Dirt, from Alice in Chains.. In their own genres, both albums are very twisted sounded in some songs; and the internal struggles in their makings intensifies the listens..

  • George Clarke

    >doesnt read lyrics

    lame

  • Xan

    I’m very interested in really dark music. Channeling the innermost horrors of human atrocities, invoking the arcane beasts from beyond knowledge, and plummeting to the darkest depths of the void are what I search for in music. When I find an album that instill
    me with fear, I relegate it to a particular shelf. As much as I like the classic metal bands like Death and Obituary, there is something about the outer fringes of metal where the people themselves seem otherworldly that gets me going. Though None So Vile obviously isn’t a Lovecraftian style album, it is dark and very heavy. If this is just the first album in the series, my testicles tingle in excitement at what may come. For me, one of the albums that has given me the greatest feeling of fear this year was Ceremonial Casting’s “Cthulhu”. I’m pretty sure they didn’t make any physical copies and the only way to buy it legally is $15 dollars on their BandCamp. The problem is, that version doesn’t come with what I consider to be the best track. It is an hour long ambient piece that expresses much of the sentiment I receive when I read Lovecraft’s work. At the risk of being sued, I have uploaded it to
    YouTube for your listening pleasure: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YQW84S39lY

  • Call the Slambulance

    Ed, this is fucking awesome, man! I can’t wait for this series to continue. Negrodamus uber alles!