Hallo and welcome back to Throwback Thursday! This is the place where we get to indulge in nostalgia and wax poetic about excellent metal of years past.
This series embarks on a journey in search of albums that have primed the canvas of today's metal music scene. For this week's 21st edition, we visit a band whose career was cut far too short. If only they had recorded more albums…
Epitaph is Necrophagist's aptly named second (and final) album. For a little history, Necrophagist was founded in 1992 by lead guitarist and vocalist Muhammed Suiçmez. Prior to Epitaph, Necrophagist only recorded one other full-length release and a few demos. In 2016, the drummer officially announced that the band was dead (12 years after their 'latest' release). Sadly, we've still not heard of any part of Necrophagist reanimating. Even after some researching, I am not sure what Suiçmez is up to now. If you have any info, please sound off down below!
Epitaph is a brilliant record that combines unrelenting brutality, technicality, and a sense of whimsy all in one stunning package. Opening track "Stabwound" jumps right into the mad genius of Suiçmez's sweep picking and vision for song structure:
Epitaph is literally packed with talent from second to second. The riffs are the definition of effortlessly face-melting. Yes, each song is technical but there is a momentum to the tracks that give a persisting energy and progression to the album. It's exciting to listen to, and the technicality of the playing doesn't stunt the flow of music. Epitaph is a beautiful mix of melody and the unexpected hat tricks of tech death – time changes, fucking insane drumming, tempo switches, and mood changes. I suppose if I had to find fault with this album, I'd say that it's a little too clean. The drums are really subdued which allows me to pick apart each and every song easily. And, there is an enjoyment in that – appreciating each technical aspect because I can mentally separate each element. However, considering the free, harlequinesque playfulness of the riffs, I'd like to see the drums a little more unhinged. The playfulness I am referring to is exemplified on my favorite track of the album "Only Ash Remains":
The outro is flawlessly integrated. The intro with the dual-guitars and bass is bananas. When it comes to precision and fluidity, Necrophagist just gets it right.
This is the first album I ever listened to that got me to care for unintelligible growls like these. When I hear the songs on Epitaph, I see that a mad circus is going on, and the vocals are the clear, cool steadiness of a ringmaster. They're really a nice juxtaposition to the freedom and span of every other instrument.
Epitaph is really a gem, and Necrophagist could've gone down as one of the most talented metal bands in history – hands down, no question. The sheer talent of Muhammed Suiçmez is astounding. I know he recorded their debut album, Onset of Putrefaction, alone – as in recorded each instrument. As far as I can tell, the band's split was amicable, and Suiçmez has been known for wanting to put out the best product possible. So even though they announced a breakup, could we sill see some form of Necrophagist come back someday? If you're reading this boyz, come back (we can change, we swear).