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Septicflesh: The Great Mass

Greek symphonic death metal band Septicflesh received quite a bit of praise for their 2008 effort, Communion - an album often hailed as a masterpiece of its genre. Three years later, and Septicflesh now has another bombastic death metal album for fans to sink their teeth into. The Great Mass is an album filled with evil atmospheres, crushingly brutal riffs, and enough orchestrations to satisfy even the most die-hard symphonic metal fan. I have no doubt that The Great Mass will come across as pompous to some people - but (for me), that's part of what makes this album so great! Death metal purists may want to keep a safe distance from this one, but anyone who can enjoy their death metal on the more melodic and bombastic side should have a great time when listening to this stellar effort from Septicflesh.

The Great Mass relies heavily on two different influences - Gothenburg-styled melodic death metal and symphonic music. There are some brutal sections (with blast beats and such), but the album is seldom as lethal as other death metal acts. Orchestrations and keyboards dominate much of the album, but it rarely come across as "intrusive"; it's an integral part of Septicflesh's music, and fits in perfectly with the compositions. The vocals are mainly in the form of male growling, but there are also some black metal shrieks and clean vocals from both male and female. In many aspects, I'm reminded a bit of Cradle of Filth when listening to The Great Mass - if Cradle of Filth left behind some of their black metal influence in favor of a death metal sound, the result wouldn't be very different from Septicflesh. From a technical standpoint, the album is also top-notch. The production is clear, professional, and atmospheric, and the musicians are obviously experienced and talented.

The Great Mass is another great album from Septicflesh, and certainly something I'd recommend all fans of symphonic death metal to take a look into. The compositions are often unforgettable, the arrangements are intricately detailed to perfection, and the end result is nothing short of satisfying. 4 stars are well-deserved for this spectacular symphonic death metal album. Septicflesh has consistently been pleasing their fanbase for over 20 years, and The Great Mass proves that these veterans are far from running short on ideas.

Track Listing
1. The Vampire from Nazareth
2. A Great Mass of Death
3. Pyramid God
4. Five-Pointed Star
5. Oceans of Grey
6. The Undead Keep Dreaming
7. Rising
8. Apocalypse
9. Mad Architect
10. Therianthropy

Added: June 7th 2011
Reviewer: Jeff B
Related Link: Septicflesh Website
Hits: 3128
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Septicflesh: The Great Mass
Posted by Brian Block, SoT Staff Writer on 2011-06-07 15:48:00
My Score:

Septicflesh, hailing from Greece, has been around for about 20 years leading up to this release, yet never once have I heard their music. That being said, this sure was a great introduction. Mixing brutal death metal with brilliant orchestra sections, Septicflesh has created their own unique brand of symphonic death metal. All throughout The Great Mass, blast beats and powerful guitar riffs also adorn the beautiful orchestration. Though this may be a turn off for some metal fans, it adds a different, yet great aspect to the music that, at least to me, adds to the overall enjoyment of this album.

The Great Mass is an almost perfect balance between symphonic metal and death metal. Take, for example, the first track "The Vampire from Nazareth" which, besides being a great intro, starts out very symphonic and almost atmospheric and then transfers into heavier riffs in an almost seamless fashion. The death metal sections of this album definitely lean towards the melodic side of death metal rather than the straight up, hardcore death metal fashion. While most people might not be used to this combination of music, many will soon figure out that it is, in face, quite good.

Another thing that I like about this album is that there are both harsh growls and clean vocals. The growls of Spiros Antoniou are pretty normal, yet they contribute very well to the bands style. This is especially evident on "Five- Pointed Star", which is definitely one of the best songs on the album. Sotiris Vayenas's clean vocals are a whole other matter. His voice is very odd, leaning into a weird almost crazy pitch during most of the album, but it sounds really cool with the rest of the music. Perhaps the best part of this album is the keyboards, played by Sotiris Vayenas, which add a nice over tone to the whole album.

While being a relatively old death metal band, Septicflesh has still found a way to continue to release very good material. The Great Mass isn't necessarily ground breaking but it provides lots of enjoyment through its music. The orchestration on this album is fantastic, and the production of it is clear and crisp, making everything much better. For a great release Septicflesh gets 4 stars.

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