Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2019
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

A Minstrel of Morbidity - 96%

Five_Nails, August 20th, 2017
Written based on this version: 2004, CD, Willowtip Records (Remastered)

Necrophagist is a band worthy of admiration. As a more pretentious and elitist douche-child than I am now, I thought that Muhammad Suicmez was the pinnacle of death metal guitarists and that his band was the sort of cultured death metal that one could sip wine to while discussing the finer points of windmilling versus vertically pounding a head to music. While the polemics of that intimation were exaggerated by pubescent angst and a lack of examples in the genre, there is no doubting the contributions of this great guitarist to the formation of a newly nuanced branch of death metal in tech death and his dedication to his craft in having to record this first full album entirely on his own.

“Onset of Putrefaction” is where Necrophagist truly shines on its plateau and achieves the aims of its infusion of classical sensibilities into death metal aesthetic, making one detach his proper pinky from his glass while enjoying the finery of what is effused from this combination of disgusting and delicate sounds. Finally Necrophagist has become a death metal philharmonic and knows its aims well enough to take that desired ambition to its most eclectic and insane in songs like the ravaging “Mutilate the Stillborn” and the defecatory “Intestinal Incubation” while fleshing out an album full of mind-bending sonnets of sickness.

Where black metal can play out an opera, this death metal acts as a symphony in its own right.

In the violent burst of “Foul Body Autopsy” the high and mighty guitar bounces off the drum machine to slice a Y cut with rigor and a not-so-subtle hint of malice. Though it is a reprise of the opening to the previous demo, this re-recording fits like a glove in the full-length as it rushes a wave of insanity through the gate, uplifted by meditative, animated, and shrill riffing that lends “To Breathe in a Casket” further clout. Through the movements of the second song is an intimate story where every last breath is as important as each minute detail is to the entire construct. The recording is intensely crisp with every little heartbeat of silence between each note clearing the air. As though a dulcet quartet has silenced the murmurs of gussied up gentlefolk gracing a garden gala, the song's formula allows the guitars to express themselves gracefully and through a multi-tiered range of rhythms. “To Breathe in a Casket” is Necrophagist exercising its ambition to stand among the great composers and push death metal to a more noteworthy place.

This clean production immensely aids the presentation. Unlike some albums where a band makes its sound too hollow and sterilizes the impact of each instrument, there is just enough bass off the drum machine to irregulate a heartbeat underneath such a seemly string structure. Here one can hear the tension of a million micro-movements in a practiced surgery exquisitely performed in each riff, rise, and trill. This production is crisp enough to sound like it's coming directly out of one's brain onto a record, as though Suicmez' unaltered thoughts were etched onto this disc and the listener is merely hallucinating the instruments, deciphering a synaptic language, paralyzed by the vibrations and unsure if he is simply dreaming each small slice of this six-string scalpel into his brain.

Bass breaks in “Extreme Unction” and “Fermented Offal Discharge” come through with the clarity of a progressive metal band's recording while each riff meticulously itinerizes its sustenance as “Culinary Hyperversity” lyrically embraces the notion of the band's Latin namesake, 'eater of the dead'. Each song structure elaborates on the verse-chorus format initially shown in “To Breathe in a Casket” by allowing each subsequent riff to explain itself and attempt to break out of the mold it has been cast in. Seeking flourishes that jump out of the initial impulse of a song like “Culinary Hyperversity”, these flying buttresses support a soloing ceiling that rises as high as the pummeling percussion digs a deeper foundation. A song like “Advanced Corpse Tumor” ensures that this album expands the scope of its surgery from simple exploration to experimentation with techniques seldom seen in such a savage style, the trills of which are so well known to the Baroque world with which metal musicians consistently flirt.

Unlike many of the band's early contemporaries, Necrophagist took a varied and extra noodly direction to heart, spawning a relentless following of inspired musicians that elaborate on this brutalization of a Malmsteen mixture with the malignant fury that this band achieved. Though this album grabs you and shakes like you're a baby that won't stop crying, it can be faulted for being too clinical an exercise at times that doesn't reach the emotional heights other bands have with their more primitive monocultural approaches. It is a valid criticism. Listening to Necrophagist is sometimes as taxing as studying a more involved text than it is enjoying a brain candy book. Even with that minor and momentary criticism, “Onset of Putrefaction” is an album that I cannot help but keep returning to, an album that is a seminal piece to the technical death metal puzzle, and is indicative of the quiet studious passion found in many one-man projects that ends up ringing longer in an ear than some of the most recognizable bands in the genre. Necrophagist found its niche through its demo phase, nestled tightly into it throughout “Onset of Putrefaction”, and that is what has made this album come as close to perfection as this project's short discography could.

Sometimes I will put on an album and instantly my mood will change. Kataklysm's “Taking the World by Storm” can inspire and motivate me but the band's music isn't too great of an example of melodic death metal when Amon Amarth is right around the corner. Though Necrophagist may not be the most emotionally inspiring band to some, its music plays with a proficiency, fluency, and calculation that continues to impress and mesmerize me even ten years after the band's break up. “Epitaph” is where many feel that this band stumbles in its delivery. But here, at its “Onset of Putrefaction”, Necrophagist finds its flavor and prepares its ingredients skillfully to make an abrasive and artful artifact that shows that death metal is a worthy sort of sound open to innovation. Even if you do turn up your nose to Necrophagist, it is impossible to ignore its pungent potency.