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An early-mid 90's Greek dark death metal output - 88%

Byrgan, December 24th, 2007

Septic Flesh is a strange sounding band emerging from Greece. Their sound wasn't centrally impactful on the other bands as a whole. But follows somewhat in suit of other notable acts. Where front runner Rotting Christ changed musical directions a few times, from the extremes of grind to death and then incorporating a more melodic black metal sound around the early nineties. As well as Varathron went from a death-thrash sounding act in the late 80's/early 90's to a more melodic entity as time moved on as well. Septic Flesh's 1994 debut finds its way right after some seminal releases. Maintaining a melodic dark death metal sound. Taking hints from Rotting Christ by incorporated subtle dramatic keyboards. And similar in concept to Varathron, having instrumentally melodic music, with a deep, hideously ugly sounding vocalist.

Mystic Places of Dawn is similar and at the same time separated in my opinion compared to the previously mentioned bands. Although, one characteristic is notorious for some early 90's Storm Studios bands: the guitarist and drummer quota was insanely lopsided. Since Mystic Places incorporates a drum machine or electronic drum set. Or maybe there was just a lack of rehearsal space? On the other hand, the riffs are quite memorably written. They typically use very high noted reverbed out, almost lead-like tremolo guitar lines. The style of a typical riff is almost played in the same spot on the neck of the guitar, in a back in forth tremolo pattern. As well as the occasional palm mute on certain guitar lines. Sometimes they use this as a technique to connect one riff to another. Like a spaced out "deh, deh", to go from a slower section to a faster section. The guitars also extend to low regions, and sometimes for changeability will accent these lower riffs with quick tremolo high notes. Throughout the album there are plenty of fitting solos. As well as the occasional reverbed out clean guitar with a watery effect for highlights. The bass guitar is only there to add bass. And there aren't too many stray bass lines compared to lead-like guitar riffs. Although, a cool addition in the beginning of the first track, the music stops completely except for the bass, where it does a quick little solo. The music is also accented by the vocals. His vocals are very deep sounding, somewhat comparative to a throaty growl. It is a strange addition. Because the music can be quite melodic, and his vocals at points match and at other points don't. Basically, they are mismatched in intensity levels some of the time. However, during the faster sections, his bellows do give off a dark aura mixed with the spacy back and forth guitar lines and blazing drums.

A lot of the structures of the songs vary. Giving you many different versatilities throughout the album. Mystic Places of Dawn has plenty of faster, blast beat laden sections mixed in with mid-paced and slower melodic pieces. The song placements amongst each other are slightly patterned as well. Giving you slower melodic songs and then the next song might move with much more intensity and be mainly fast. Like the transition of 'Chasing the Chimera' and then the faster song 'Behind the Iron Mask'. Which explodes into a 3 minute speeding bullet with hardly even a build up riff. I'm glad they did it this way. Because some bands tend to put their best song first, or faster and more intense song first. Then move to slower sections for a while with the remaining pieces. Another words, if you rearranged Mystic's song placements, it would possibly sound like a completely different record. Another example of these versatilities is on the track (Morpheus) The Dreamlord, it is a varied melodic combo of slower paced metal more than half the song, and then after a short climatic moment they add a drastic volcanic eruption towards the end of the song. Literally coming out of nowhere with inhuman-like blasts; lower and higher screamed vocals, for a quick change; as well as a subsonic, explosively played guitar solo, when compared to the other more slower melodic leads. The song Mythos is a pure instrumental, and a detachment from metal completely. Having a driving piano played with other more dramatic effects, such as horns and other varied instruments. It sounds like it came from an emotional movie score about Greece. However, it fits right in with the other songs.

When comparing Septic Flesh's debut to other early nineties Greek acts: it wasn't the whole puzzle but a decent sized puzzle piece of the whole picture. Because their sound as a whole is quite different at times. It does however have the same production values as Rotting Christ's debut and Varathron, with synthetic drums. As well as a close reminder of the concept Varathron has, mixing melodic melodies and harsh deep vocals. But at the same time, the construction of Mystic Places of Dawn is a fair addition to the CD shelf. It has subtle dramatic keyboards, and dark memorable riffs, as well as leads, which keeps you busy when listening to it. This release is also just shy of an hour. So it is safe to say the musicians took a fair amount of time when building up their debut. The second offering of Septic Flesh's, however, is a little more lax in my opinion. As well as the keyboard arrangements are more of a down play, instead of a raiser of intensity. There are a few other additions that are not desired of their later material as well. That is why I'll stick to mainly listening to Mystic Places of Dawn!