Review: Septicflesh – Titan

Posted: September 13, 2014 in ALERT: Awesome new music, Reviews
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Septicflesh are one of these bands who defy expectations with each and every release. I first became aware of them on 2008’s staggering ‘Communion’, and have religiously sought out all their previous releases. 2011’s ‘The Great Mass’ was another fantastic record, but this year’s ‘Titan’ is another thing altogether.

Septicflesh, for those of you who are uninitiated, play symphonic death metal. Now, symphonic BLACK metal is reasonably widespread and the quality of those releases have varied depending on which band you’re listening. Symphonic death metal is, however, a much rarer beast. Death metal does not normally strike you as the type of music that would mesh with orchestral flourishes, strings etc. But, like Fleshgod Apocalypse last year, Septicflesh are showing that if and when it is done right, it is devastatingly effective. Take opening track ‘War in Heaven’ here. It combines vast orchestral backdrops with crashes riffs and brutal vocals. It sounds like the victorious march music of a brutal conqueror. Septicflesh ensure that the death metal is first however, and the symphonics enhance, rather than suffocate.

The thrusting, ferocious ‘Burn’ is a much more straightforward display of Septicflesh’s death metal credentials. Lots of blasting, lots of riffs, but layering in some gothic, mournful vocals and ending with a huge, cinematic symphony. Three minutes of more variety than some bands give you in an album. ‘Order of Dracul’ is another symphonic beast, the guttural death metal enhanced by some horns and orchaestral flourishes to increase the scope. ‘Titan’ is a huge record, both in sound and vision. The plunging riffs that open ‘Prototype’, the swaying, Incantation-esque anthemic title track or the soaring ‘Prometheus’ showcase all the strengths of Septicflesh. The songwriting. The riffs. The expert use (or lack of) of orchestral elements. ‘Titan’ has everything a fan of metal could want. Except grimness. This is too ambitious for grimness. It is melancholic in parts (take the vast choral sections of ‘Prototype’) but uplifting in its grasp of power and dynamics.

‘Titan’ has just set back every symphonic metal band by about 5 years. The only bands doing what Septicflesh are doing are Fleshgod Apocalypse and Wintersun, and even they will struggle to create a challenger to this. For want of a better term, titanic.

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