Farewell to the Flesh
CoC chats to Spiros of Septic Flesh / The Devilworx
by: Jackie Smit
Over the years, the extreme metal underground has had more than its fair share of passers-through who, it could be argued, were a step or two away from getting their just comeuppance. Several examples spring to mind, but in the humble opinion of this writer, the most poignant is perhaps Greece's Septic Flesh -- a band who opted for that big old festival line-up in the sky shortly after releasing their finest effort in _Sumerian Daemons_ back in 2002. Unsurprisingly, nary a sad word was uttered by anyone other than a few disgruntled fans, and not even the world's self-styled left field magazines seemed to pay too much attention. So, as a steadfast admirer of the band harking back to the glorious days that saw the likes of _Mystic Places of Dawn_ and _Esoptron_ rule my world, I felt the reparations needed to be made, and thus tracked down former Flesh member Spiros (also known as Seth-H), to discuss his afterthoughts about a band who will forever be sorely missed... by a dedicated few, at least.

CoC: First of all, allow me to say once again what an amazing record I thought your last release _Sumerian Daemons_ was. Given the overwhelming response it received, it's a shame that Septic Flesh should have split up following its release. Was this a case of wanting to go out on top?

Spiros: To be honest, we were expecting that our fans would appreciate this album, because in our minds it was a pure Septic Flesh piece -- similar in feeling and nature to our first album (_Mystic Places of Dawn _), but with a more modern touch, more of the orchestral elements and a much darker feeling and atmosphere. Our intention was never to split up the band after the release of _Sumerian Daemons_, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do. Sotiris [vocalist / guitarist] was not able to fulfill the increased commitments that were being placed on the band, because he wanted to concentrate on his studies into the metaphysic substance of the human nature and the dark power of the chaotic ego. This resulted in us having to cancel some shows, and a number of festival appearances, and gradually the notion of splitting up Septic Flesh became a more viable idea to us. So, basically the split thing came up after releasing the album, because Sotiris was a big part of Septic Flesh and certainly much more than just a player or singer, and since he could not longer give his all to follow the band, we were left with no other choice.

CoC: When you look back at the legacy left by Septic Flesh, what are some of the first thoughts that come to mind?

S: I don't know if Septic Flesh has left a "legacy" as you say, but I certainly do appreciate that you would think that. The thing that stands out for me about this band is that in every step that the band took toward making an album and creating music, there was a sense of purity and a desire to be unique and original, without having in mind what kind of music style sells more. That is why you can see so many differences from each album to the next, and certainly such a huge step from _Mystic Places of Dawn_ to _Sumerian Daemons_. We were and still remain fans of development and evolution.

CoC: So, in that sense, what stands out for you as perhaps Septic Flesh's greatest musical achievement?

S: Well, it may seem a cliché given that it was our last record, but I'd have to say _Sumerian Daemons_; and as far as which song I think encapsulates all of that, I believe that "Virtues of the Beast" is the most representative piece of music in the sense of what defined Septic Flesh as a band.

CoC: Looking back on it all, do you have any regrets, or is there anything you wish you had done differently from both a career and creative perspective?

S: Not really. I believe that in each step you take, you see what you're doing wrong or right, and you learn from your mistakes, as well as from your achievements. As for regretting anything musical that we created, I don't think that ever happened to anyone in Septic Flesh. Certainly not to me.

CoC: One thing that always intrigued me about Septic Flesh was the very intricate concepts that seem to run through every album that you delivered. You always kept the meanings fairly cryptic and mysterious though -- care to shed some retrospective light on them now?

S: Well, our lyrics were always fairly similar in style, and we explored different concepts and ideas within a larger framework, if you will. For example, on _Mystic Places of Dawn_ Septic Flesh wanted to decode the dark mystic unconsciousness of the human nature. On _Esoptron_ we attempted to decode the esoteric substance while we honor and worship the chaotic ego of mankind. _The Ophidian Wheel_ was talking thematically about life and death and everything that lay beyond that. _A Fallen Temple_ was a study and a celebration of the temple of the human soul, and a hypothesis that it functions as a cell. We were talking about theories like rebirth and reincarnation that were inspired by various texts and myths, for example the analogy that the human soul is reborn after death into an eternal cosmonaut of the universe, which we sang about on "The Eldest Cosmonaut". With _Revolution DNA_, we stepped away from myths and examined science as a discipline and looked at scientific theories that contradict religious "facts" and various articles of faith that have been accepted as the truth for years and years. Then with _Sumerian Daemons_ we explored the future and how the concepts and ideas taken from the Sumerian gods fit into the human race's on-going questions about the mind, creation and the evolution of civilization in general. With the lyrics to that particular album, we were focusing on the relationship between, as well as the individual concepts relating to magic and infinity. We saw _Sumerian Daemons_ as a step towards darkness, and definitely the most extreme and at the same time the most avant-garde release of the band.

CoC: Now, I know you have been or probably will be asked this by countless other journalists and fans, but if only for the sake of making this interview complete: will there ever be a Septic Flesh reunion?

S: No, there won't be a reunion. The only reason that Septic Flesh split up was to make something more powerful. Even when we were discussing the possibility of breaking up, we knew that we wanted to form a new band that would combine elements from all kinds of extreme metal -- from black metal to modern stuff. Thus we created The Devilworx, and certainly the music that has been composed so far is evidence, I think, that we have managed to create something really unique and creative. Whenever people ask me what the band sounds like, I always say to them: "Imagine the passion of a serial killer as he commits his crime, and combine that with the coldness of a homicidal scientist, mixed with the feverish imagination of a surrealist artist".

CoC: How would you want Septic Flesh remembered in the grand scheme of things?

S: As an occult band that had a very unique and personal musical identity -- nothing less, nothing more.

CoC: Let's talk about you new project, The Devilworx. You mentioned that it was an idea that had been discussed while Septic Flesh were in the midst of splitting up, but what's the official story behind the band's formation?

S: Well, we officially got together after Septic Flesh had split up, and I think even more than with Septic Flesh, the goal was really to do something unique and extraordinary. The band is made up of myself on bass and vocals, Chris A (also of Septic Flesh) on guitars and synths and then Fotis, who played with Septic Flesh on their European tour in 2002, on drums. So far we have recorded four tracks in our home studio, two which have since been posted on our website.

CoC: And in terms of your current activities with the band -- what can we expect from The dEVILWORKX in the near future?

S: We are working very hard in creating more new material. Chris has signed a contract with Digi-Guys, a 3D company of the famous Pinewood Studios, where some of the scenes in films like "Alexander the Great" and "Tomb Raider" were shot, and they basically commissioned him to compose the music for the video game "Wardevil", which will be released for the Xbox console sometime this year. So right now, Chris is busy negotiating with them to add a Devilworx song to the game's soundtrack. He is also composing the soundtrack for a 3D animation movie, although I can't really say too much about that. The music of both projects will be possibly recorded in cooperation with the Symphonic Film Orchestra of Moscow, who also performed the music for the movie "Hellraiser IV". Other than that, we are looking to get a contract settled with a decent label, and hopefully release an album shortly thereafter.

CoC: I have actually heard some of the new music, and while it certainly remains extreme, there is a distinctly more accessible and more modern touch to it as well. In that sense, I was curious to know what bands you are currently excited by in the metal scene.

S: This may come as a bit of surprise to people who know me only from Septic Flesh, but I really like Heaven Shall Burn and Stampin' Ground.

CoC: Anything else you care to add as we conclude this interview?

S: We are coming back, hiding our strength and dark cannibalistic profile under the costume of an ordinary man, just waiting to do the devil's work.

(article submitted 3/15/2005)


ALBUMS
5/27/2003 J Smit 9.5 Septic Flesh - Sumerian Daemons
6/7/1998 P Azevedo 8 Septic Flesh - A Fallen Temple
5/13/1997 D Schinzel 8 Septic Flesh - The Ophidian Wheel
GIGS
5/11/2008 J Smit Vader / Septic Flesh / Devian Pedigree Butchery
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