Home > Music > Septic Flesh – Communion (2008)

Septic Flesh – Communion (2008)

folderCommunion was one of the last albums by Septicflesh that I listened to, so it was with some understanding of the evolution of the band that I jumped into this album (and also a school assignment to learn about the influence of the Atlantic slave trade on the British industrial revolution, but that didn’t exactly alter my perception of this, did it?). Even more than its successor, Communion reflects a band that hasn’t changed its fundamental approach to songwriting since 1997, but the massive symphonic presence can hide this at times. I suppose this makes sense; after all, it had been successful for them in the past.

Ironically, Communion was also my first exposure to Septicflesh, although I ended up giving Ophidian Wheel detailed attention first. I found it hilarious how the title track’s choral vocals were essentially a minor key version of the “Meow Mix” jingle; in retrospect its structure makes it a bit of an outlier on this album. The first two tracks – “Lovecraft’s Death” and “Anubis” are more indicative of what follows. The former, despite containing plenty of blasts and symphonics is driven more by its passages of clean guitar and chugging rhythms. On the latter, the slower, melodic aspects of the band’s music become more prominent, and the secondary vocalist (Sotiris) offers contributions. Similarly to The Great Mass, much of the material here is reminiscent of work on Ophidian Wheel, but there are references to all previous eras of Septicflesh, even including the clean and poppy Revolution DNA.

All these approaches demonstrate that even on this album, it’s not the symphony orchestra that unifies the band’s writing, but instead the guitar leads. I’ve always said the emphasis on such gave Septicflesh versatility that many bands lacked, even when they *sometimes* stick to writing conventional death metal. The main benefits the symphony orchestra provide is harmonic reinforcement and a greater variety of timbre and textures, although there are many sections of this album (such as “Persopolis”) where they instead of the core band are driving the songwriting. Either way, the band is more successful in asserting their identity here than some other bands have been when they tried to add symphonics to their works. Then again, they went into it with a stronger identity crafted from years of experience, and an understanding of orchestral arrangements built from gradual experiments with the instrumentation – something that culminated in the band’s side project, Chaostar.

With all of this in mind, The Great Mass may be a better recording than this one, its predecessor. However, it would only be due to the production and songwriting refinements that album brought in; they’re essentially cut from the same cloth. Communion admittedly reveals what it’s taken from previous Septicflesh albums, perhaps due to being slightly earlier in the band’s reformation. Either way, if you like one, you’re likely to enjoy the other; perhaps you could get yourself a nice double purchase for Christmas?

Highlights: “Anubis”, “We The Gods”, “Sunlight Moonlight”

 

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  1. 2014/03/13 at 10:22

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