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Well what can I say? I suppose I could quite easily sum the album up with a simple:
Wank, Suffocation, Psycroptic, Lindbloom.
However, MA ritual makes it law that I have to write a review, obviously, longer than 4 words. So here it is.
This album can be called "wankery" by some and "mastery" by others. Perhaps it's a combination of both?
The first thing that caught me about this album was the opening track. (It would have had the same effect if I had started it from any track, though) "Stabwound" just slung my mind instantly to Persuader's "The Hunter." Obviously not because of the opening music, but the fucking solos! This guy is like a Magnus Lindbloom reincarnate! The solos are so perfectly clean and precise, with every note being picked at a 3/4-tempo pace, and just makes the whole course of the music slide perfectly.
The next thing that caught me was the technicality of the bass guitar and the drums. This drummer just cuts the cake so well. With a great array of alternating beats and some impressive gravity blast beats. The bassist, also playing a rather solid part in the technical novelty; spilling some rather techy interspersing bass-to-lead-guitar solos. Some extremely impressive finger-work, both left and right hand.
Regarding the vocals, what can I say? I guess it's just like what you would expect from a generic death metal band...Perhaps I'm just cynical when it comes to death metal vocal;. I've never really been a fan of death metal vocals as much as I have the novel instrumental work in technical death metal bands; the vocals are what you would expect from any death metal band, really. That's not to say they're a spoiler; they're a fitter, but not a necessity. These guys could have pulled off a blast-beating, heavier Dream Theater deal, or maybe a harsh-vocalised Psycroptic. Easily.
Now for some comparisons:
My first obvious instrumental comparison would be this guy's [Muhammed's] guitar work to Magnus Lindbloom's. Not many of you would have known before I let on the hint to the Mods to edit the info about Persuader's session players, but the session guitarist who played the majority of the solos in Persuader's album "The Hunter" was Magnus Lindbloom. But, I mean, if you have NO clue as to who he is, just imagine Muhammed's solos, just a lot faster. But basically exactly the same tone: tremolo-washed, neck-picked, slow-sweeped arpeggios. Works perfect at 3/4-tempo pace.
Another comparison would be with Psycroptic. A lot of you might be like "huh?"...But seriously, it was one of my first impressions when I heard Epitaph. The clean, reverb-less riffs and beats seem to just give it that in-studio brutality feel, and in Psycroptic's "Isle of Disenchantment" it had a VERY similar tone and reverb-less feel to it. Cleans it up a lot, usually bands that have shitty tone need to hide it with millions of layers of guitar tracks and just wash them away with reverb. Bands like Psycroptic and Necrophagist don't.
Of course, there will be those of you that say "WTF, MORB, UR A DICKHEAD! DEY HAVE REVERB IN DEIR SONGZ!!!" But obviously, not much, just listen to how clean-cut the guitar work is! Very little reverb.
However, like everything, there is a downside; hence, the 10-point drop in my rating for them: Their REPETATIVENESS! After "Stabwound," I'm like "Oh fuck yeah, what a bad-ass track" but then it goes onto the next track...Which is barely any different; and then the next track, and the next track and on and on and on...Most of them are just so fucking similar! It's hard to make specific distinctions between the characteristics of each song, which is a very big let-down. With bands like Aquaria, or Iced Earth, or Pantera, (totally different to death metal in every way) they ALL get kudos from me, simply because all their songs have extremely distinct differences between them. However, sadly, (like with Psycroptic's Symbols of Failure...how ironic) Necrophagist fail to present DISTINCTLY different songs. I mean sure, you could put a track to a title after a couple of listens to the whole album, but you should be able to tell the difference between each song's characteristics instantly, and each song should have a similar structure, but a different personality. These guys just don't do it.
However, with everything, you gotta take the bad with the good, because overall, this album just seems to kick technical ass all over the place.
A definite must have for fans of Psycroptic, Suffocation, Martyr or Lindbloom.