NECROPHAGIST — Epitaph

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NECROPHAGIST - Epitaph cover
4.22 | 19 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 2004

Tracklist

1. Stabwound (2:48)
2. The Stillborn One (4:24)
3. Ignominious and Pale (4:01)
4. Diminished to B (4:59)
5. Epitaph (4:15)
6. Only Ash Remains (4:11)
7. Seven (3:41)
8. Symbiotic in Theory (4:35)

Total Time: 32:56

Line-up/Musicians

- Muhammed Suiçmez / Guitar, Vocals
- Christian Münzner / Guitar
- Stefan Fimmers / Bass
- Hannes Grossmann / Drums

About this release

Full-length, Relapse Records
August 3rd, 2004

Thanks to UMUR, siLLy puPPy for the updates

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NECROPHAGIST EPITAPH reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

UMUR
"Epitaph" is the 2nd full-length studio album by German death metal act Necrophagist. The album was released through Relapse Records in August 2004. Necrophagist was formed in 1992 by lead vocalist/guitarist Muhammed Suiçmez and originally featured a full lineup. By the time of the recording of the 1999 "Onset of Putrefaction" debut full-length studio album, Necrophagist was essentially a one-man project with Muhammed Suiçmez handling all instruments and vocals. The album was recorded using a drum machine. In connection with the release of "Epitaph", Relapse Records took the opportunity to re-release "Onset of Putrefaction (1999)" with re-recorded drum parts by Hannes Grossmann. Grossmann also handles the drums on "Epitaph". In addition to Grossmann and Suiçmez the lineup on "Epitaph" includes Christian Münzner (guitars) and Stefan Fimmers (bass).

Stylistically the material on the 8 track, 32:56 minutes long album continues the brutal technical death metal style of "Onset of Putrefaction (1999)". The songwriting has improved since the debut though and "Epitaph" is quite the sophisticated death metal release, featuring occasional neo-classical leanings, surgical precision playing, and a powerful detailed sound production, which suits the material perfectly. It´s ultra brutal music featuring deep and predominantly unintelligible growling vocals, brutal riffs and both heavy and very fast blasting drumming, but it´s still quite original sounding. Especially some of the lead guitar work is relatively creative. It´s in the songwriting department that "Epitaph" separates itself greatly from the standards of the genre though. It´s one of the few brutal technical death metal albums, that you´re instantly able to recognize when it´s playing. There are other standout releases/artists on the scene, which share the same strengths, but overall too many brutal technical death metal releases/artists imitate and copy each other and tend to become one large grey mass.

With music this extreme you need hooks to hold on to and varied songwriting to keep full album releases interesting. "Epitaph" fully meets those criteria as the album is loaded with catchy riffs, lead melodies, and drum patterns. The vocals are the least intriguing feature on the album, but they get the job done without becoming a distraction. It´s simply a high quality release through and through. From the opening notes of album opener "Stabwound" until the closing notes of album closer "Symbiotic in Theory", the listener is treated to some of the most energetic, well produced, and well written brutal technical death metal around. A 4.5 star (90%) rating is fully deserved. Had the vocals been more distinct sounding, passionate, and convincing, it could well have been a full 5 star (100%) rating.
topofsm
For those uninitiated, Necrophagist's Muhammed Suiçmez may very well be the most technically proficient guitarist in all of death metal. While death bands are well known to be some of the most technical players, busting out a solo doesn't always fit best with the brutal mood they should be conveying. That is why Necrophagist stood out so much when they were active, with refined neo-classical shredding all over the place. With both their albums they may have very well started the tech-death movement we're so familiar with today.

Epitaph improves greatly upon what Onset of Putrefaction introduced. While the first record was indeed technical, it suffered from slightly muddier production and some songwriting that was far more repetive than it needed to be. Epitaph varies the songwriting, tempoes, and moods enough to keep the listener excited. That being said, many people do tire of the endless technicality and some of the non-stop shredding, so that may be a turn off.

The songs' solos should keep the listener entertained, though. There's a solo on each track and they all tend to be highlights of the track. While there's no real iconic solo like the one on "Fermented Offal Discharge" off the previous album, this one still has some pretty cool ones, even if they do tend to sound similar. "Diminished to B", perhaps in a bit of music nerd humor features a very baroque and neo-classical influenced solo that seems to trade in a bit of over the top attitude for some melody and emotion. The one off "Symbiotic in Theory" also is a lengthy one that closes the album off nicely.

Other highlights include the opener, "Stabwound", which is fast paced and energetic and feature some cool sweeping licks in between the verse and the chorus, and some neat drums playing around during the solo. "Epitaph" starts off very simple and fast paced, which should hook the more casual listener, but based on the rest of the album you can guess where it leads to.

All in all, Epitaph is a pretty impressive show. It's one of the most important albums in the tech death scene for a good reason. It does have the tendency to leave listeners cold, but for those who love tech death they should find Epitaph a most enjoyable listen.

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