Thursday, April 21, 2011

Album Review: Septicflesh - "The Great Mass"

People throw the word "epic" around an awful lot these days. "Epic Win", "Epic Fail", and "That's Epic" get so overused, we've lost the impact of the word. Princeton University defines epic as "very imposing or impressive; surpassing the ordinary (especially in size or scale)" using an "epic voyage" as an example.

Septicflesh's newest album (released April 18th, 2011) , The Great Mass is truly, in the purest definition of the term, an "epic voyage" of sound and music. Impressive? Absolutely. Surpassing the ordinary? Beyond belief. Blending the powerful genre of Melodic Death Metal with beautiful symphonic and orchestral arrangements, it hits you square in the face with brutal, melancholic and awe-inspiring-jaw-dropping music. So plug your headphones in and let the darkness devour you.

Personally, this is the first release by Septicflesh that I've listened to, despite hearing raving reviews about their last album Communion. After hearing this album, I'm definitely going to give the rest of their discography a listen.

Lyrically, Septicflesh tend to deal with Fantasy and Occult themes, with a tendency to focus on Lovecraftian topics. The complete lyrics for this album are nigh impossible to find online, so I cannot comment on their quality right now. However, the lyrics shouldn't be the focus of this album. Once you start listening to The Great Mass, the first thing that jumps out at you is the use of an orchestra. Rather than using synthesized instrument sounds, Septicflesh went all out, and recruited the prowess of the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. The classical arrangements never seem out of place, or made to make up for lack of guitar or drums. Septicflesh never recorded a song and afterwards thought "Hey, it would be cool to have some brass right here...", they wrote the songs with the intent of flawlessly fusing the two styles of music, and by John Petrucci, they did.

Bomb-Ass Tracks

The Vampire From Nazareth: Immediately setting the eerie and dark tone of the album, the opening track creeps up with operatic vocals and a haunting violin line to tribal drums and ringing brass of the orchestra up to the full blown brutality of Septicflesh's own memebers. It keeps up this pace for the entire track and ends beautifully with ritualistic chanting.

Think blast beats and tubas didn't go together? Think again.

Oceans Of Grey: This track is the perfect blend of Metal and Classical music.The Prague Philharmonic Orchestra really shines here, with some wailing vocal melodies in the background, giving an unsettling feeling in your stomach the entire time. My favorite track on the album, by far.

Rising: This song embodies Melodic Death Metal. Brutal vocals, soaring lead guitar lines, and driving drums. We're even treated to some clean vocals in the chorus. They aren't perfect, but there's something rather catchy about them.

The best thing to come out of Greece since Kalamata Olives.

Overall Score

9 out of 10 Apocalypses.

Seriously a contender for Best Metal Album of the year. Definitely in the Top 3 of my list so far. The Great Mass is more than a voyage, it's an experience.

That's all for now, folks.

Keep being Awesome.

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