In the minds of the three co-founders of this site, Necrophagist occupies a golden throne in the pantheon of technical death metal. On our metallic island, we regularly sacrifice annoying children in their name while ritually reciting Beowulf passages from The Nowell Codex.
Among Necrophagist worshippers, the blazing technicality of frontman Muhammed Suiçmez is usually the center of attention. But he’s not the only guitar wizard in Necrophagist. Sami Raatikainen, the Finnish guitarist who joined the band in 2006 following the departure of Christian Muenzner (Obscura), is also a dextrous 7-string wonder to behold.
The extent of Necrophagist’s global following is amazing, given that the band has only produced two albums in the last 11 years, and that six years have elapsed since the second one (2004’s Epitaph). At one point, a new album was scheduled for release in the spring of this year, but that turned out to be a false hope, and there’s no current timetable for release of the third album.
Sami Raatikainen joined the band after Epitaph and therefore hasn’t added his name to the Necrophagist discography. But that doesn’t mean he’s been sitting around twiddling his thumbs since 2006. Far from it. In addition to touring with Necrophagist and working on the band’s own version of Chinese Democracy, Raatikainen has been putting in the weeks, the months, the years on his own side project, called Radiance.
The debut album from Radiance is now available. It’s called The Burning Sun. It sounds nothing like Necrophagist. It’s also one long song — 49 minutes worth of song. Part Iron Maiden, part Dream Theater, part Meshuggah, and almost all Sami, it’s a beautifully constructed, superbly executed work that’s worth the time required to hear it straight through. (more after the jump . . .)