22 August 2014

Septicflesh - Titan


Titan is the ninth album by Greek Symphonic Death Metal band Septic Flesh, though only the third since they’ve been known as Septicflesh. The slight name change came about after the band split for four years and their sound had matured in that time apart. Understandable but a bit pointless.

Whereas the majority of Death Metal bands pummel at you with raw aggression, Septic Flesh always preferred to ease the pace, bleed in some atmospherics and create something a little more ominous.
After reforming in 2007, they released Communion in 2008 which took this even further. It added some clean vocals and an 80 piece orchestra. While Communion was a really good album, they perfected the formula with 2011’s The Great Mass. It’s a near flawless album that drips with malevolence and doom. As a band they don’t really sound like anything else I listen to and it’s always a pleasure to discover something new.

Titan continues down the same path and, while it doesn’t quite match up to The Great Mass, it’s still a stupendous album. The orchestration, for the most part could stand on its own to the soundtrack of some Lovecraftian film. Added to the thudding menace of the band itself it creates a whole that’s both beautifully epic and insidiously evil.

Opener War In Heaven highlights all facets of what they’re going for. The orchestra fades things in until the band lurch forth with a slow, pounding riff and the whole ensemble let rip.  Vocalist/Bassist Spiros' deep, rumbling roar makes itself known straight away along with a disturbing spiral of strings. All of a sudden, everything stops. One by one the instruments open start to pipe up again until Spiros bellows the title repeatedly. Towards the end a choir strike up to great effect.The song is as epic as such a title would suggest. There are twists and turns that are most definitely Progressive Metal in complexity. It’s a great choice of opener.

The next two songs, Burn and Order Of Dracul are more straightforward and heavy, though the time changes and lush orchestral passages are still present.
Prototype is slower, longer and focuses more on the strings. The choir also makes another appearance. When I say choir I mean like O Fortuna not Sister Act. It’s a really nasty song that makes you feel soiled listening to it. In a good way obviously.

Dogma sees the appearance of guitarist Sotiris’ clean vocals. They’re understated, creepy and shouldn’t unduly offend the “Sell out!” crowd.


Prometheus begins with some gentle guitar and piano before the strings and the rest of the band kick in. It’s another slower, doomy song and lets the brass section have their say. You’ll not believe the lowly tuba could sound so \m/ until you hear it here. The songs picks up pace but then drops it down again for a lovely middle section. It’s the light and dark of Septicflesh’s music that makes them so intriguing. It’s not just a wall of unrelenting tension. It lets things ease from time to time which makes the aggression seem even more so what it does get unleashed.

The title track and Ground Zero are like Burn and Order Of Dracul in that they’re just straight, heavy, Septicflesh songs. The four songs split the album well and keep it balanced so there’s plenty of less complicated songs among the more intricate and experimental tracks.

Confessions Of A Serial Killer has a throwaway title but is an unsettling song, mainly down to the harrowing and eerie string section throughout the song. Listening to it give me a feeling of deep unease which, I suppose, is sort of the point.

The final track is The First Immortal which is a lighter song and relies much more on the orchestra than the metal, though it’s still very much present. There’s also a children’s choir which is an effective touch.

Titan is a fantastic album and something original and a little different. That’s something to be applauded in any case but especially so when it works as well as this does. Septicflesh deserve to be heard.

Best Track: Prometheus

9 out of 10. Almost perfect. Almost.

Listen to it on Spotify HERE

Buy it from Amazon HERE
 
 


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