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I don't quite get all the hatred for this album. "It's all soulless wankery", well... it's technical death metal, it's kind of expected nowadays. Now, before the chorus of little gremlins pipe up with glaring accusations of hypocrisy, I'd like to say that I believe Necrophagist does tech death better than most bands in the scene today. The solos are all technically challenging, blisteringly fast, and most importantly, ear catching.
That's right, above bands like Psyopus, who can't write a solid riff if their life depended on it, Suicmez manages to make me not only remember the riffs, but the solos as well. Most everything is memorable, which is more than I can say for the throngs of technical bands that are all too busy bashing the bishop over their chops to write a damn song. I'll admit, the riffs can be described as equally wanky to the solos, but I still find myself humming some of the riffs from Seven and Diminished to B (which by the way, either every page on the internet has a typo, or that's one of the dumbest/nerdiest song titles I've ever witnessed). And the fact that I'm humming TECHNICAL DEATH METAL riffs should be a feat in that of itself, who the hell remembers most riffs in the genre? Are there even usually riffs at all? Most of the time I find myself listening to thirty minutes of mindless sweep tapping fudscullery as opposed to actual written songs. Necrophagist prevails above that stereotype in my eyes and writes honest to god songs with at the very least some half assed attempt at structure instead of constant uninteresting fills.
I'll also say here, that not all of the criticism is unwarranted. The album is actually uncomfortably repetitive. That is pretty much the exact opposite of what is desired in music anyways, but the annoyance and frustrated is multiplied when the album is as short as this one is. That is essentially the only complaint I have, as I find the vocals to be good, the drums competent, and the production good (just a side note to those who despise clean production, stay away because this album is not raw in the slightest), but repetitiveness is possibly the one quality that makes me want to punt kittens the most. Nothing is more frustrating than when an otherwise great album falls into the rut of monotony (see A Haunting Curse or Beyond the Permafrost for good examples). Almost every solo follows the exact formula that their "hit", Fermented Offal Discharge, set five years beforehand. The music slows down while the solo gets started, sounding strangely consonant to the otherwise chaotic music leading up to it, but the music in the background inevitable speeds up (usually playing a preestablished riff) and then Muhammed starts sweeping like a mildly retarded janitor. If there is one thing I hate in metal, it is when solos aren't creative, which is what actually manages to happen here.
I hope I'm not sending mixed messages, I highly enjoy this album, but it is far from perfect. A lot of the criticisms of it being modern wankery to appeal to dumbass kids isn't entirely true. I guess I wouldn't recommend this to people who dislike crystal clear production or don't like overtly wanky music (as much as I like this album, it is indeed undeniably wanky). Some songs, namely Symbiotic in Theory, Ignominious and Pale, and The Stillborn One, aren't really memorable, but no songs are explicitly bad. Standouts include Epitaph (if only for the dual guitar harmony in the intro), Only Ash Remains, and Seven. The only way to tell if you will enjoy this or not is to hear it for yourself. I give it a B-, it's good, but unmistakably broken at the same time.