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Septic Flesh return after a five year hiatus. - 90%

gk, May 28th, 2008

Sumerian Demons, the last album released by this Greek extreme metal band in 2003 was simply stunning and the band’s best. After that, for whatever reason the band decided to disband and I thought that was it for the band. However, the band decided to reform in late 2007 and earlier this year released Communion.

Septic Flesh was always an ambitious band and Communion is no different. The music is mostly death metal but what makes the songs stand out is the use of an orchestra and a bombastic over the top symphonic feel to the music that is more militaristic than classical.

The album opens with the stunning Lovecraft’s Death with its chugging groove and what sounds like a horn section merrily blasting away. The choirs and synth effects push this song up to Therion standards while the deathly rasp is a particularly effective vocal style for this music. Lovecraft’s Death sets the blueprint for the rest of the album. It’s all mostly chuggy death metal with some very inventive use of an orchestra, synth and choir with some melodic underpinnings and the occasional clean sung vocal.

Stand out tracks include the superb Annubis with its epic feel and the rampaging title track Communion which again makes terrific use of the orchestra. Babel’s Gate is probably the heaviest song on the album and again boasts of some very cool use of the orchestra and terrific drumming to ensure that the song has a very unique vibe while still retaining its death metal feel. There’s some Therion in the music in the sense of a death metal band combining orchestration and a full blown choir but the comparison is made at the surface level. At the end of the day this is Septic Flesh as they’ve always been, epic, grand sounding and absolutely fearless when it comes to experimenting. Another thing that works for the album is that it’s all wrapped up in less than forty minutes and the songs are mostly short and to the point. There’s plenty of experimentation but luckily very little wankery.

The band is pretty much the same except for a new drummer who sounds terrific. The vocalist is still one of the most brutal fuckers around in extreme metal but uses a fair amount of effects this time round. All in all, the band are in terrific shape and have put out an album that’s as good as Sumerian Demons if not better.

Communion is an album that is going to make long time fans of the band very happy indeed and at the same time if you’ve never heard this band before then Communion is pretty much the perfect place to start.

Originally written for http://www.kvltsite.com