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This review was originally written for http://www.metalneverlies.com
Necrophagist is full of extremely talented musicians. Epitaph (2004) is proof of that. This album is full of amazing, truly magnificent music. I couldn't ask for better guitar playing, more brutal drums, or sicker bass lines. Every musician is in top form for this release. Something is missing though, there is one reason why I couldn't rate this CD better. Really the music itself is near flawless, yet the album is not near flawless. I'll explain more later, so let me cover the material a little bit first.
“Stabwound” is a pretty damn intense introductory track. If you listen closely, you can hear that drumsticks are actually on fire from how fast Hannes Grossmann is pounding on the drumset. The riffs are extremely technical, and the Muhammed take a seemingly philosophical approach to the lyrics this time around. The guitar solo is just crazy. The album continues with “Stillborn One” - a great track with another stunning guitar solo. The rest of the album is actually much of the same. It's all extremely talented music, but if you're listening to this CD for the first time you might notice how it just all runs together.
I said something earlier about this album missing something: It's missing passion, and innovation. To me, it seems as if Muhammed said to his band, “Alright guys, we are pretty much the best musicians in the world of Technical Death Metal, let's make this CD to show off and make people jealous of our playing abilities!” That's it: a good portion of the album is essentially crazy riffs and insane drumming with some brutal death growls on top. It's as if the band was too preoccupied with showing off to forget they were writing music.
Well, what I typed above was pretty harsh, as there are a few songs that are pretty awesome. I would recommend “Stabwound,” “Stillborn One.” “Only Ash Remains,” and “Symbiotic in Theory.” To anyone who wanted to get a good taste of what this band is capable of. Although Epitaph (2004) is full of amazing music, it unfortunately feels lifeless or forced at times. If Muhammed had spent a little less time trying to impress everyone, and used that time to work on his song writing, this release could've been a masterpiece.
p.s. The bass solo at the beginning of “Only Ash Remains” is SWEEET!