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deedly doodly diddly,,, - 71%

Cheeses_Priced, August 31st, 2004

Necrophagist is a one-man band (on this album, and it’s not noticeable) that plays technical brutal death metal with explicitly neoclassical lead guitar technique - you know, “shredding”.

The resulting music is quite distinctive from any other death metal band I can name. The vocals are guttural, song titles (and presumably lyrics) are gore-inspired, blast beats are omnipresent, and complicated, Suffocation-style guitar rhythms reign, but in contrast, the band’s overall approach is very clean, almost sterile. If an ordinary brutal death metal sounds “sick”, one might say this sounds downright “well”. The production is very clear, carefully isolating each individual instrument, and the guitars emphasize precise, fast picking and neoclassical flourishes over the tremolo, dissonance and odd squeals one would ordinarily expect from death metal. The solos, as I alluded to above, are the best examples of the difference: they are about as dissimilar to the playing of a Trey Azagthoth or a Robert Vigna as they could possibly be. The bass (which is audible!) follows suit. This fellow is one hell of a musician, by the way: this really is ruthlessly technical music, and very rigid-feeling as opposed what jazz-influenced technical death metal bands come up with. Drums are programmed, but surprisingly, this detracts nothing from the music. It sounds just like a skilled death metal drummer playing on a triggered set without overstepping his bounds, as a matter of fact… it’s maybe a tad on the mechanical side, but it fits in with everything else.

To me, though, that’s sort of the downside of this album. The bizarre, demented feeling or distorted sense of reality that other death metal bands convey with their oddball playing is a bit lost in Necrophagia’s almost robotic style. This is not a boring album by any means, but it does feel a little empty... it's fun getting beaten dizzy by the flashy guitar, but I find that the wow factor tends to wear off a bit after a while. Well, I suppose a bit of musical masturbation from time to time can relieve tension.