Home > Music > Septic Flesh – Sumerian Daemons (2003)

Septic Flesh – Sumerian Daemons (2003)

The writing on this album is weird. That’s genuinely the best way to describe it. It makes more sense if you listened to the preceding studio album (Revolution DNA), which was full of poppy goth-industrial-heavy metal songs and the occasional weird experiment. This mixes in quantities of Ophidian Wheel style death metal so deep into the underlying songwriting in aesthetics, as well as a small quantity of symphonic metal, that it forges a unique sound/direction on this album. Arguably, this is where the band came out from behind the shadow of Paradise Lost, who did the whole “be a death metal band, then add elements of gothic rock to your music, then just go synthpop/electronic” thing first, if not necessarily better.

Being that this is half “atmospheric” death metal, this album marks the return of operatic soprano Natalie Rassoulis, who was responsible for much of Ophidian Wheel‘s memorability (Don’t worry, Spiros and Sotiris also performed excellent vocals, and it’s not like that album was hugely vocal driven, anyways). She’s less prominent on here, with her vocals being used as accents, as opposed to the focal point of the songs. Riffing is simplistic, atmospheric, and often put through all sorts of aesthetic effects, although the death metal oriented songs here (Red Code Cult, Sumerian Daemon, etc) tend to have more riffs of higher complexity, for obvious reasons.

As just suggested, a homogenous mixture of death metal and gothic/industrial metal is weird, but Septic Flesh makes it work well. The seams are somewhat obvious (listen to “Faust”, if you want to hear clear cut transitions between style weighting), and the melodrama is off the scales. Shrewd listeners will hear a good deal of rock motifs and crowd pleasing metal tropes in here – case in point: “Magic Loves Infinity”, which begins with “edgy” film soundtrack style motifs, has big, simple riffs, and has most of its interesting melodies and counterpoint in the last half of the song. On the other hand, “Red Code Cult” takes advantage of the production job by adding melodic depth to its main riffs – probably the strongest song on here, probably the fastest, the heaviest, etc.

Septic Flesh was never really a difficult band to get into, but this is second only to Revolution DNA, while keeping the death metal “edge”. The production job here is VERY strong – while it’s definitely much louder than previous albums (representing a foray into the loudness war), the guitar tone is more abrasive and otherwise intense than before, and it mixes nicely with the synthesizer/electronic bits. Most likely, anyone who wants to gateway their goth/darkwave/rivethead friends into death metal would do well to start with this album.

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  1. 2012/12/14 at 02:23

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