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Necrotic and Determined - 85%

Five_Nails, June 22nd, 2017

There has been some division among metalheads when it comes to Necrophagist because of the band's very flowery tech death guitars and filler moments that tend to lack creativity after a face is left dripping liquefied skin from Muhammad Suicmez's scalding soloing. While the division mainly calls into question the necessity of the cleanliness and propriety that Necrophagist's songwriting displayed through “Onset of Putrefaction” and “Epitaph” it seems to miss the mark that this group, essentially the 'Muhammad and Friends Show', made on the definition of technicality in death metal. Through fourteen years and merely four releases this death metal band evolved from an incredibly competent three-piece that intensified the standard death metal approach to become one of the most referenced catalysts in the injection of a classically influenced aspect to ferocious death metal and that influenced a plethora of bands. Sure, things get samey throughout the discography but Necrophagist isn't nearly as worn out as other contemporaries that have rehashed throughout years of just 'being there' in the sub-genre. Necrophagist is clinical in its approach. Though that cleanliness seems sterile to some, in many ways that intense focus and very metered output displays a deeper passion and search for perfection that is more sincere than this band is given credit for by its detractors. Call me crazy but it's refreshing to hear passion through a musician's calculated diligence in his art compared to another dime-a-dozen pissed off toddler throwing a tantrum.

Intense and primitive, “Requiems of Festered Gore” is a satisfying piece of death metal that shows a competent band and barely hints at the unique changes that would make this band such a gloriously eclectic example of how the filthiness of death metal fits classical conventions like a glove. There is an intimate understanding of the ethos of oldschool death metal throughout this relentless half hour where no moments cannibalize themselves or lose steam. Instead this onslaught gradually evolves from a frenzied chaos of riff and blast into the trappings of the cold and calculated compositions that make “Pulverizing Maggot Infestation” stand so far ahead in this album to become symbolic of Necrophagist's surgical style.

Raphael Kempermann's snare grinding is absurdly fast, maybe more so due to the swampy texture of this filthy cassette recording. It gives the warm and fuzzy feeling of chaos, reminiscent of Cryptopsy's full-length debut “Blasphemy Made Flesh”. Muddy blending adds to the raucous racket coming from the snare center and spreads across the cymbals like a rip of skin that unleashes a torrent of blood, pouring from the point of penetration to douse anything in its path with viscous glue. The filth in this demo makes it seem that these sticks are propelling themselves far out of the stratosphere, railing at speeds that propel rockets into orbit and eradicating any semblance of silence between the guitars. “Rancid Disembowl” emphasizes the role of such a robust rhythm section with quick and nearly imperceptible fills. At its highest gear the song unleashes relentless blasts that monopolize each verse of the guitar's contribution while the slower rhythm stands only to oil this machine before the twitchy feet drop again.

Screaming a shrill solo, like many bands had grown accustomed to throughout the late thrash and early death metal days, Suicmez's guitar has a hint of flowery baroque scales creeping in, replacing a verse of guttural chunder with the expected exposition of the 'fourth verse' spotlight, expertly painting a scene without narration. Recording this demo as young teenagers, searching for gigs, and finding a place in a cutting edge music scene, Necrophagist played with some of the wall of grind that Carcass employed in “Reek of Putrefaction”. Especially present in “Cannibalistic Necrophilism”, the lengthier pace of goregrind emulation starts with a slow and ordinary bounce then rattles the cage with unchained aggression before falling back into its initial pace. Like the peaks and valleys of manic depression, this similarity to a song like “Foeticide” uses the rage and cage format to display precision and ability tempered in calculated rises to grab at an opportunity.

In 1992, long before Necrophagist became the guitar-wanking show-pony that some describe and despise, “Requiems of Festered Gore” introduced a death metal band that far surpassed what many bands could achieve throughout a career. Absurdly disgusting song titles conjured images that a surgeon volunteering in a war zone would behold, blast beats pulverized ridiculous riffs that tasted of early Death, and gargantuan grooves granted clemency between moments of brutality. One of the most intricate and technically advanced bands of its time, Necrophagist started off its 'four play, long time' as a brutal death metal band that experimented with the most extreme elements of its chosen arena with great success.