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Necrophagist is out of this dimension. I just picked up this cd having listened it previously in high school. It blew me away then, but most of the riffing went over my head. This was around the release of Annihilation of The Wicked and my band and I were in full Nile-worship mode. Annihilation was my shrine. Not only that, but my fellow guitarist had just introduced me to the inhuman technical leviathan which was the monster known as Decapitated. So Nile and Decapitated, in my mind, were the undisputed overlords of death metal.
One day in band practice, my vocalist comes running downstairs roaring at the top of his lungs, "Maggots! Prepare to meet your demise!" and trips down the last five stairs and breaks his nose on the way down. Nose bloodied and with the demonic blood lust of twelve hungry beholders in his eyes he staggers to the cd player and puts in some record called Epitaph. Don't worry, he had enough sanity to heal his nose with a level 5 casting ability, so he was fine for the show tomorrow.
We all listened to this album in its entirety, going ballistic every other riff. I mean, if you haven't heard these guys riff, you are missing out my friend, 'cause they're crazy. Extraterrestrial dexterity, mature musicianship that's accurate to a T, well-trained jazz tech death ability... the majority of this album is astounding. It's catchy on songs like Stabwound, Only Ash Remains, the latter half of Diminished to Be, Stillborn One, and Seven; it's mind-numbingly complex throughout, bordering on power metal in speed and upbeat tempo, yet it reeks of Decapitated and possibly Decrepit Birth/Severed Savior influence. Maybe I'm wrong on my sources, but however you put it, this is a monolith and a milestone for the entire metal genre.
Plus one of the guitarists is the vocalist. They look pretty young too, actually looking younger than JFAC when they first started, so that puts some perspective on the whole picture. My favorite track is probably Only Ash Remains simply because it is so well-orchestrated. The intro to the song is a wild scale played at such a tempo that I'm almost convinced that these guys were on every kind of stimulant and upper available on the global black market today. I swear these guys have had operations on their hands, joints, and tendons as well. Maybe I'm just a sub-par musician, but I never thought I'd ever hear anything close to the technical proficiency on Winds of Creation and these guys give the Polish gods a run for their money. Sounds like Dragon Force lost their egos and took a trip through the underworld.
Seven and Stabwound are catchy singles if you want a taste, meanwhile Only Ash Remains is a ballistic representation of the diverse musicianship of Necrophagist, including a hilarious closing riff and harmony that sounds like a combination of reggae and polka, or something that shows that they actually have a sense of humor about themselves. You'll understand when you hear it. However, I suggest you listen to the whole album. There's tiny room for improvement as far as songwriting is concerned, which is why Decapitated and Nile maintain god status unchecked and in the clear. I'd like to hear these guys incorporate different styles and influences. Right now there is a lot of monotony in their riffing, and a well thought out groove riff along the lines of the intro riff to Blessed (Winds of Creation) would do the trick. They've got a ways to go before being internationally recognized as true kings, but they have established themselves as worthy successors to the throne of metal.