The Greek godfathers of dark symphonic metal are back with a stunning new album “Modern Primitive”
Septicflesh are along with fellow countrymen Rotting Christ the best known metal exports from the wonderful land of Greece. Since their inception in 1990, they have put out 10 full length albums, now fleshed out (deliberate pun) to 11 with latest offering “Modern Primitive“. So, how does it fair against previous albums? Read on and find out!
Often just described as “dark metal”, Septicflesh straddle the boundaries of symphonic black and death metal. However unlike a band like Dimmu Borgir for instance, the symphonic parts are used to accent and create atmosphere within their music, rather than become the main body of the songs.
The first track “The Collector” starts with an intro, that conjures up images of either ancient Greece or Egypt before a vast monolith-like riff rears up at the 42-second mark. this then leads into a martial drum beat led, and harshly whispered passage before the real meat of the track kicks in, like an unstoppable horde of Spartans.
Onwards to battle…
Well, two tracks in, and this is exactly the imagery I am getting in my head. “Heirophant” is somewhat heavier on the orchestral parts, but these add drama to the proceedings, rather than up the cheese factor as so often happens with other bands. This is a great track, powerful, dramatic and HEAVY!
There is no respite to this feeling of an album that is propelling a march over to enemy lines. “Self Eater” again is a track of considerable depth, provoking some emotionally charged instances.
Starting with an acoustic bouzouki and guitar part, “Neuromancer” then hits in again hard, before really heavying up the ante. The vocals are very reminiscent of aforementioned countryman Sakis Tolis of Rotting Christ. There are also clean almost spoken vocal parts to what is a fairly technical track, which is also the longest on the album clocking in at just over 5 minutes. None of which are a disappointment!
This could be a soundtrack to a movie..
I’m sure after listening to the first four tracks, you may like me think this would make a great movie soundtrack. Well once you hear “Coming Storm” you will probably want that to be the case. This is bombastic, exciting, dramatic, and my album highlight. The Filmharmonic Orchestra of Prague earn their money on this track, adding the atmosphere whilst not overpowering the overall feel of the track.
“A Desert Throne” carries this feeling further forwards – it’s a track that you feel pulled along by. The orchestra add to the desert imagery one can conjure up in one’s mind. This has an epic feel to it – somewhat akin to “Lawrence of Arabia” or some of Cecil.B.DeMille‘s movies.
The title track does not hold back. Heavying things up a notch, it much like the other tracks on this album deal with modern societal issues and attitudes. Its an apt title considering recent world events of violence and lack of compassion shown by the perpetrators. Again, this is a wonderfully composed song, incorporating all the previously mentioned elements together to great effect.
A heavy finale..
The last two tracks are definitely heavy, with “Psychohistory” topping the stakes. A spiteful sounding track with punishing double kick drums and riff as heavy as you could ask for. A pity that this is the shortest track on the album at just over three and a half minutes. But worry not, the finale of this album is to come!
Entitled “A Dreadful Muse” (No not the Teignmouth based pop prog band!), this much like all the other tracks, seems as if its an extension of the one before it. This is great, as it give a considerable flow to the album, that is hard to match.
Now we have heard it all, it is time to remark on the production. This has to be one of the best produced albums I’ve heard in a while. Every instrument can be heard, and the orchestra and choral parts never force their way to the front. All is in unison, leading to a fantastic listening experience!
Overall, if you like your music very heavy, yet highly melodic, and intelligently written and performed, then this album is for you. I loved it, and will someone please use it as a movie soundtrack!!
The album is out now on Nuclear Blast Records
01) The Collector 4:04
02) Hierophant 4:05
03) Self Eater 4:27
04) Neuromancer 5:01
05) Coming Storm 4:50
06) A Desert Throne 4:19
07) Modern Primitives 4:12
08) Psychohistory 3:34
09) A Dreadful Muse 4:10