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As a huge tech death junkie, I recognize the fact that genuinely good technical death metal is hard to find, especially when you're looking at a genre that contains such faggotry as Braindrill and Viraemia. But when you find something like new Cannibal Corpse and Necrophagist, you realize just how good tech death can be. Necrophagist's first full album, "Onset of Putrefaction," was just about everything a tech death fan could want: punishing riffs, fretboard insanity and drum beats that are both relentless and a pleasure to listen to. (Despite not being a real drummer, it still sounded pretty damn good.) The long awaited follow up, "Epitaph," should be everything "Onset" was and more: I mean, it was almost five fuckin' years we had to wait, right? Well, there was certainly moments of brilliance, but there were some sore thumbs on the album that I don't think will ever go away.
Stabwound is an absolutely fantastic opener, introducing us to the new band members as well as attacking the listener instantly with intense blasts, great riffing and the spectacular bass that only Fimmers can provide. A few sweeps and a hurricane of bass later, we're into the meat and potatoes of the song and this leaves us satisfied.
Want more? The Stillborn One, a lumbering mammoth of a song, is a slow burner that lulls us into a sense of graveyard security, up until the song picks up again and then drops the listener on his ass by the time the solo has ended. Ignominous and Pale, another great song, is heavy the whole way through, and offers us a good mosh song that has it's slower, head bang moments as well.
But this is where the shit hits the fan. We hit Diminished to B (Or, if you prefer, Diminished to Be) which has a great start, a good bass solo, and then we hit the verse riff of the song, which is both annoying as hell and is a thinker too. How the fuck did anyone think this was a good idea? Muhammed's vocals are passionate and brutal, and the rest of the riffs in this song are great by all means, but it's soiled by a verse riff that is almost unlistenable. The ending drags on for forever, and offers nothing to the rest of the song.
Epitaph is another fantastic song that is a favorite live. The riffing is solid, the song heavy, Muhammed's vocals as brutal as ever... maybe more so on this song, but then again, that's might be just me. This is tech death gold with as many fills and brutal riffs as you can handle. Then we hit Only Ash Remains. A song that, albeit techy, is not all that interesting to listen to. Fimmers' bass solo is great to listen to and the twin solos at the start are mind blowing, but the riffs in this song are uninteresting and unpleasent to listen to. Nothing in this song is memorable save for the beginning.
I've never been a fan of Seven, but it's not necessarily a horrible song. It seems to get a ton of attention despite other songs on this album being superior, but... meh. Symbiotic in Theory is a great closer, with some more brutal riffing and fantastic, technical riffs that would please a crowd, though I don't think this song has been played live. The last solo on the album seems to mimick the "Fermented" solo, with the rhythm starting slow then getting fast, and then the end of solo fades out at the end. Maybe that's just me, but then again...
I'll leave it up to you, dear reader.
Anyway, "Epitaph" is by all means a great tech death album, but it does have some very obvious flaws that will leave any "Necro" fan scratching their head up until the band's next offering, and even then, long after. This is a solid tech death album that deserves all the appreciation it receives, but deserves all the criticism for it's flaws. All in all, go buy "Epitaph" and enjoy some fantastic music.