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This album is the epitome of atmospheric death metal, and probably one of the best albums to come out of Greece. It sure put Septic Flesh on the map.
The first real song is "Esoptron," and starts with a simple riff. This is pretty deceptive, because when the verse kicks in, the guitar becomes kind of spacey. Then the vocals...ahh! Lovely death metal vocals! Spiros' vocals are great; very deep, rumbling death growls, but he does scream a few times, and later in the album Sotiris does some chanting. In the middle, it all changes to a Morbid Angel-esque, quickly picked riff (kind of like the beginning of "Rapture"), then a cool ending. The ending is especially nice; a kind of spacey riff with really low piano keys played and Spiros growling "ESOPTRON!" over and over. Before that, Sortiris plays a very good solo, almost like Adrian Smith's work on "Stranger in a Strange Land." "Rising Pheonix" follows, and it's faster. Again, a great hook shows up in the middle, as well as some chanting that sounds like Benedictine monks. "Ice Castle" is very melodic, almost balladesque, but beautiful. It sounds pretty cold, just like the title suggests, and moves along very slowly. "Eyes of Set" pretty much closes the album (the song "Narcissism" is not great), and it's very majestic sounding. The verses build, with a slightly driving riff, and the part after the chorus sounds like some sort of war march. Very cool.
These guys like their sound effect, apparently. I think that Sortiris' guitar is processed through a mountain of effects boards, but he manages to use it all really effectively. I'm often left thinking that this is some bastard hybrid of Morbid Angel's Blessed Are the Sick and Iron Maiden's Somewhere In Time, because they have a real slick synthetic vibe to it, with tasteful solos and a few grinding riffs. The clean riffs are really nice, too. Every song has a great melodic riff that hooks you into the rest of it.
The bummer songs are the little intros and the last song, "Narcissism." "Breaking the Inner Seal" (is this about taking a piss?) is your standard keyboard intro, not interesting at all. "Astral Sea" sounds like someone throwing pebbles at a harp, just to see what types of noises it can make. In other words, it's hardly music. "Celebration" is some sort of harpsichord/flute thing. I hate that shit! Gladly, it's not nearly as bad as anything from a Rhapsody album, but it conjures up images of people dressed up in tutus and dancing around while fantasizing about Dungeons and Dragons, and little happy elves in the forest. So yeah, it's bad, to say the least. "Narcissism" has a catchy little riff, but that disappears into Spiros growling with some keyboards, and then some chanting. Sadly, it's the longest song on the album, and doesn't seem that epic to me. Experimental, and I kind of want to say "industrial," but it's not too mechanic.
Another reason I can't give this a really perfect score is the drums. I think they're done by the same Costas who played with Nightfall, and once again, they sound just like a machine. Granted, they're well programmed, they bring down the whole of the album because they're boring and sound bad.
Even though I'd probably classify this as death metal, it's VERY melodic, and by that I don't mean in the typical Gothenburg way, and it certainly would turn off a lot of brutal death fanatics. The Iron Maiden melodies and solos are everywhere, and there's a lot of experimenting with different textures and atmospheres (done with keyboards and/or guitar synth). If you're open minded, and don't mind melodic stuff, you'll find this a very entertaining album. If not, stay away.