Released: 2003, Century Media
Reviewer: Night of the Realm
Unconventional // adj. 1. Not conforming to set rules or standards. 2. A word all too often thrown around by labels to disguise music (usually bastardized or unfocused music) as innovative, intelligent, or more punishingly brutal than the triplicate goat phallus of the Dark Lord.
I’ve been sitting on this album for some time now before I finally sat down and started writing this review. First of all, I am not a fan of Cryptopsy, nor have I really heard any of their works that would inspire me to own one of their albums. Second, I’ve seen Cryptopsy live, and they were not impressive at all, and third, the recent glut of live albums has really left me burnt out on the concept of another live recording.
Really, there isn’t a whole hell of a lot on NONE SO LIVE to distinguish this release from any Cryptopsy studio work I have heard to date. On one hand, there is not a whole lot of deviation in Cryptopsy’s style of technical grind-death. In studio and especially onstage, one must acknowledge the tightness of the band’s performance, and musically speaking, the entire recording is virtually seamless. On the other hand, Cryptopsy’s technical strength is also their weakness on this album in that their product does not carry well onto the live recording, and technical proficiency does not always translate into musical greatness. The live atmosphere is very sterile; I wouldn’t consider Cryptopsy a very interactive band after all. Still, I give them fair credit for maintaining their style and musicianship in concert.
Cryptopsy also earn points with their first live album by taking the entire recording from their 2002 performance in Montreal, the home stomping grounds, rather than the faggotry of other bands that take a piecework “live” album from various dates. In addition, the performances by bassist Eric Langlois and drummer Flo Mounier deserve special attention. The bass slaps on tracks like “Cold Hate, Warm Blood,” “Shroud,” and “Slit Your Guts” really rip along with some nice lines. These guys really are exceptional musicians, especially Mounier, whose extended drum solo showcases his variety of skills. In addition, Cryptopsy have chosen a setlist representing each of the band’s four studio albums equally.
When judging a live album, I look at several criteria including musical performance, setlist, sound quality, production, and crowd response/interaction. Cryptopsy certainly are skilled musicians, but they lack the ability to write creative, innovative, or interesting songs. The recording is of high quality, but the production and lack of an appreciable crowd response fails to capture the truly live feel of the band. I think the band has succeeded in their true purpose of this live recording: to introduce new vocalist Martin Lecroix to Cryptopsy’s fans as the band works on new studio material. Cryptopsy fans will probably want to snatch this one up, but as a casual listner, I can’t get into this album.