Home > Music > Septic Flesh – The Great Mass (2011)

Septic Flesh – The Great Mass (2011)

Symphonics aside, this really isn’t all that different from Sumerian Daemons or this band’s seminal ’90s works. I haven’t listened to Communion yet (except for the ‘evil Meow Mix’ title track) , but I’ve heard that this is basically a continuation of the approach heard on that album. Compared to what I have listened to, this seems to add a significant infusion of slow, doomy sections to the songwriting formula. Otherwise, it’s still the frequently contemplative, yet theatrical/gothic approach. The aggression levels are similar to that of their 2003 album,the operatic vocals remain (albeit with a greater emphasis on choirs), and Sotiris’ vocals keep the distinctive flavor they developed on Revolution DNA.

In short, the aesthetics differ, but the techniques and songwriting remain similar to what the band has been delivering for almost two decades. That’s not a bad thing. Case in point: “Rising”, the 7th track, is probably a deliberate throwback to the earlier aesthetic, as it lacks any sort of symphonic backing. It particularly benefits from the beefy Abyss Studios production (thank you again, Peter Tägtgren), but if that was altered, it could pass for an Ophidian Wheel outtake. On the other hand, tracks like “A Great Mass of Death” and “The Undead Keep Dreaming” bathe in the symphonic approach to create some apocalyptic, thunderous death metal. Most tracks are somewhere in the middle – from the relatively restrained “Pyramid God” with its abrupt mutation midway through the song, the relaxed “Oceans of Grey”, the dissonant “Mad Architect”, and so forth. Lyrics are good as usual, probably less contemplative than they were back in the late ’90s, but they stand out less when a band has had as much opportunity as Septic Flesh to practice their craft.

I read somewhere that the band made a serious effort to avoid what they perceived as a stereotypical ‘film score’ style of orchestration. Nothing sounds like that, but if I heard a track from this album in a film, I’d be seriously impressed. It took a long time for me to find ‘extreme’ symphonic metal as good as this, and I’m not letting it leave my clutches. Silliness aside, totally worth the purchase, even though the band hasn’t changed all that much from when they hit their songwriting formula in the 90s. Out of the few albums I’ve listened to that came out in 2011, this is one of the frontrunners for the best. The other is Vektor’s “Outer Isolation”, but that’s another review.

Highlights: “The Vampire from Nazareth”, “A Great Mass of Death”, “Pyramid God”, “Rising”

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  1. 2013/12/07 at 23:15

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