Septicflesh - _Communion_
(Season of Mist, 2008)
by: Kostas Sarampalis (9 out of 10)
It was rather surprising that Septic Flesh (now Septicflesh for some reason) disbanded after releasing probably their best album since their debut in _Sumerian Daemons_. Now, five years later, they re-emerge into the metal scene with their own, rather unique take on bombastic, orchestrated death metal.

On initial listens, there are few surprises for the fans who have followed the band since inception. _Communion_ is aesthetically closer to the band's last album, but the experience and skill accumulated throughout their career is evident and well applied. Take "Babel's Gate" as an example of how much of perfectly crafted insanity and malevolence they can pack in a song shy of three minutes. Probably the best and most experimental song of the album, and one of the most violent of their career, there is something perversely genius musically that is screaming to get out. This only goes to show that the band still has a lot to offer. That is, of course, if they continue exploring their music in the same focused path these last two albums have carved.

_Communion_ is indeed a very focused album. At under forty minutes, most of the nine songs are to the point. "Communion" and "We the Gods" complement "Babel's Gate" in their speedy riffs and high precision drumming, with just the right amount of orchestration to keep the songs from becoming mere death-fests. "Persepolis" sees them for the first time employing some Greek lyrics, even if in the form of narration. This song harkens slightly back to the days of "Mythos" from their magnificent _Mystic Places of Dawn_, in that it employs dramatic classical passages that would not sound too alien in an Elend album.

The rest of the songs are slightly lighter, more melodic. None sounds out of place, and most require further listens to fully appreciate and discover their hidden touches. It is interesting to note how they make use of the full orchestra and choir. This side complements rather than takes over the music. No extravagance and no silly meandering, it creates a densely packed uncomfortable atmosphere that sucks the listener in.

The core of the band remains the same, with the addition of a new drummer and a full orchestra this time. Spyros' vocals are as guttural and deep as ever. He is still one of the best death metal vocalists around, though this time his vocals are more processed. The riffs are tight and the drumming even more so, and the whole album is expertly produced. According to interviews with the band, they spent a lot of time building and fine tuning the album until they were satisfied with the result.

In short, Septic Flesh have come out of their coma in great shape with a fantastic album. If you were interested in any of the band's previous releases, you will like _Communion_. If you are already a fan, you will probably love it. Here is to many brutally happy returns.


(article published 6/4/2008)

5/15/2011 K Sarampalis 9.5 Septicflesh - The Great Mass
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