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Necrophagist : Epitaph. A Technical Breakdown

Ranking is purely on basis of technicality. I can play every song on the record, including solos, but some sections I cant get cleanly.

Diminished To Be - The intro to this song uses a nice legato section and some rapid down picking. This section is manageable for the vast majority of intermediate level guitarists, and those comfortable sweep picking will find the sweep riff fairly easy due to the lack of pace to it. It ends on a tap an octave higher. The verse riffs use lots of pinched harmonics and bounce around several strings, but isnt too difficult, and the variant on the sweep pick drops the sweeps in favour of a relentless chug, and this is also rather simple. The only problematic riff comes prior to the ringing chords, with some fleet fingerwork but still isnt particularly tough. The solo opens with some lovely sweeps, and then becomes a shred fest. This solo is harder than a couple of them on the list, but the overall song is the easiest on the record. The outro is simple, with just some string skipping between the 3rd and 7th frets on different cycles.

Stabwound - Seen by many as an introductory technical death metal song for those unfamiliar with the genre, Stabwound is known for its rapid alternating between two notes in its introduction and its fast sweep picking in the two lead films. The entire intro section involves lots of string skipping and alternate picking, with a quick legato tapping fill during the first two cycles of the riff. The hardest thing here is the sweep that ends the chorus riff, involving a rapid downwards sweep into a slide, hammer on and then repetition of the last three notes. The lead fills are both fairly manageable for any semi competent lead players, with the first one focusing more on the rapid shredding whilst the second one almost exclusively composed through three string sweeps and taps. This is one fill I recommend to anyone looking to learn some Necrophagist. The verse riff has some rapid string skipping at the end of each cycle, whilst the chorus riff is similar to the introductory segment

Seven - A slow and ominous intro with some pinched harmonics then descends into the first really challenging material on the album. The verse riff is just weird, with lots of sliding trills and rapid semiquavers. Once you learn the pattern, it isnt too difficult, but the riff afterwards definitely is. There is string skipping across four strings at lightning tempo, whilst the following riff contains a small section left to ring whilst continuing the demented string skipping. The solo is extremely difficult, with lots of odd timings. The opening sweeps lead into the most manageable solo section. Definitely a step up in difficulty here.

Only Ash Remains - One of the most slick intros the band has ever written, this opening legato and shredding isnt actually as difficult as it sounds, but this is made up for by the later string skipped riffs and the solos. Several solos played back to back are the real stumbling block for anybody learning Only Ash Remains, and they are all really difficult. The neo classical influence seeps through here and the harmonic minor scales are played creatively and at high tempos. The outro is worth learning, and is a beautiful rendition of another influence from the band.

Ignominious And Pale - Probably one of the most talked about songs by the band in terms of technicality, Ignominious lives up to this with a blitzkrieg of riffs. The intro hits hard and has some really fast slides and string skipping, whilst the second intro riff has some really difficult quarters to play on the D and G (E and A doentuned a step). The verse riffs are a little easier, with a couple of nice breaks that allow the fingers a precious second of respite. However, the riffs before the solo are among the hardest on record. These really will push the string skipping and time keeping of any player, whilst stamina management is key. The solo is very very fast and primarily involves 16th note shredding, descending and ascending through the usual scales the band employ. It isnt their hardest solo but definitely requires some chops.

The Stillborn One - A deceptively slow first third of this song involving sliding chords and pinched harmonics soon cedes into the usual bonanza of crazed riffing. If not for the fact this third is so easy, this could well have been number one on this list. The riffs when it explodes into life involve some of the most rapid and intense picking laid to record, whilst the solo goes on forever. Some of the tapping sections of the solo really push the human hands to the limits. If you can play this, your fingers should be capable of pleasing anyone.

Epitaph - The title track here is one of the most intense the band has ever written. The first two riffs sound very impressive, but arent quite as difficult as they sound, but the band are leaving a red herring here. In reality, the later riffs are utterly ridiculous. There is one involving string skipping between the G and F string (downtuned A and G) that also involves sliding and is the biggest stamina bastard on here. The solo is absolutely nuts, with the first half being challenging enough and only serving as a prelude to the insanity of the second half. The sweeps in the middle of the solo are nothing short of madness to catch.

Symbiotic In Theory - Second only to Advanced Corpse Tumor, this is the bands second hardest track. The ridiculous intro takes some getting used to, and is among the hardest moments on the album, whilst the sweep picked lead fill utilises all six strings and is nasty to play. Even some of the slower riffs prior to the solo, giving off that Fermented Offal Discharge feel, are rather tricky to capture the timing, and when it explodes before the solo it is mentally difficult. The solo is also ridiculous with six string sweeps and insane shredding to put every skill learnt to the test.
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