Home > Music > Septic Flesh – The Ophidian Wheel

Septic Flesh – The Ophidian Wheel

Greek metal. That must mean it comes from France, right? Obviously I realize that the previous statement is false.

Anyways, some people will tell you that this is is an album of death metal, but it isn’t. Rather, this band appears to have pulled a “Peaceville” in the mid ’90s, by starting out as a death-doom band and steadily moving towards an atmospheric, even “gothic” sound. A few aspects of the previous sound remain, like the death growls of Spiros Antoniou, or the occasional tremolo riffs, or the first half of “Razor Blades of Guilt”.

Three elements of this sound stand out in particular:

1. The frequent guitar leads complementing the (relatively simplistic) riffs – without this, the guitar work on the album would probably be painfully plodding and simple.

2. The sung vocals of Sotiris Vayenas and Natalie Rassoulis – these show up less frequently – by my count, there are five songs – three are duets (Phallic Litanies, Tartarus, Shamanic Rite), and the other two showcase one contributor (Rassoulis on “The Future Belongs To The Brave” and Vayenas on “On The Topmost Step Of The Earth”).

Note that both of these two add significant depth and complexity to the sound – On some of the songs, these elements combined with the keyboards lead to a great degree of polyphony.

3. The lyrics – they’re particularly well written, especially considering that the band is from Greece, and English is assuredly not their first language. They’re generally occult flavored, but with a bent towards intellectualism and transcendence – songs like the first are particularly notable, although Phallic Litanies is most likely an exception (it’s about an orgy, as far as I can tell) Spiros has relatively good diction considering how deep his death growls are, so those who want to study them for whatever reason should be able to parse relatively well, even without the lyrics sheets. The idiosyncrasies in grammar that occasionally pop up just add to the flavor.

This album is frontloaded – the first half simply has better songwriting, up to “On The Topmost Step of the Earth”. It’s got a fairly unique sound to it, although careful listening can reveal its influences (bands like Iron Maiden, Paradise Lost, and maybe, to a lesser extent, some of the better known Greek black metal bands like Varathon).

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