Sunday, 17 June 2012

NECROPHAGIST - Epitaph (2004)

01  Stabwound
02  The Stillborn One
03  Ignominious and Pale
04  Diminished to Be
05  Epitath
06  Only Ash Remains
07  Seven
08  Symbiotic In Theory

'Epitaph' is the second studio album by German death metal band Necrophagist released by Relapse Records on August 3, 2004. The band was founded in Karlsruhe, Germany and is known for its rapid and technical compositions. Unlike the debut 'Onset of Putrefaction', guitarist and vocalist Muhammed Suiçmez recorded the album alongside a group of live musicians. 'Epitaph' bears the mark of a real band and the production is better, extremely powerful and very accurate.

Quite understandably, particularly in the death metal scene, there is a mighty buzz about Necrophagist. To make it perfectly clear about the quality of band we’re talking about here, let me mention a few names: Death, Morbid Angel, Cynic, Pestilence and Athiest. If you know your Death Metal, you know that each and every one of those bands are utterly revered for their amazing ‘technical’ proficiency and willingness to embrace a more progressive element in their music. Necrophagist play in the same ballpark, but they play at about a trillion miles per hour in that ballpark.

The guitar riffs are really complex and difficult to play; lots of string skipping, alternate picking, arpeggio technique is mostly used in solos. Although some might say that riffs and rhythms are nothing special, but just listen “Diminished to B” or “Symbiotic in Theory” and you’ll find complexity and simplicity coexisting in this songs. The song structures can only be compared with virtuosity of classical compositors. Hannes Grossman plays probably the most underappreciated role on this album, with some very difficult drumming (namely doing blast-beats while hitting various other cymbals). Infact, one has to wonder why this guy doesn't get the attention he deserves. If there is anything, however, that certianly deserves attention, it is perhaps the defining part of this album; Steffan Fimmers and his complex yet atmospheric bass lines. His bass parts redefined death metal bass on this album, which used the bass as a lead instrument while the guitars play the rhythm parts. He even gets to show off what he can do on two parts of "Only Ash Remains" with some fairly difficult bass tapping.

Aside from some questionable decisions in the songwriting department, this is a very good slab of technical death metal, and a more complete album than their debut. All in all it comes down to what you’re looking for. This is a quick and flashy album with incredible guitar trills and irregular time signatures. The disc in my opinion is 80% musicianship, and 20% accessible music. This CD defines technical death metal.

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