Necrophagist

Onset of Putrefaction

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This album is a landmark in the history of the obsessive, alienating subgenre known as technical death metal. Musically breathtaking, it's even more astonishing when one learns that the whole thing was played (and, in the case of the drums, programmed) by one guy, Muhammed Suiçmez. In much the same way as electronic music composers like Squarepusher and Aphex Twin, Suiçmez composed his ultra-complex songs in solitude; consequently the album documents his singular obsessions. Lyrically, he stays within traditional death metal territory, grunting and roaring about violence, cannibalism, and horrifying bodily mutations, and his voice is the usual guttural growl. It's the guitar and bass riffs (there are a few solo bass breaks thrown in, as if to prove his mastery of the instrument is equal to his guitar skill) that make the album the landmark it is. They spiral and twist in every direction, repeated often enough to give each song a unique identity (something not every technical death metal band remembers to do) and perfectly setting up the solos, which are fluid and hyperbolic without being wanky or ridiculous -- at least, not by the standards of the genre. Indeed, the classically influenced guitar soloing on "Fermented Offal Discharge," the album's closing track, is quite beautiful in an Yngwie Malmsteen sort of way. The programmed drums never sound like a real human hitting things with sticks, but they're sufficiently complex and hammering that they don't let down the material, either. Two bonus tracks, culled from a 1995 demo recorded with actual backing musicians, offer a slightly looser but no less powerful vision of the band.

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