Friday, June 20, 2014

Out of the Ordinary #3: Septicflesh

Septicflesh is probably unlike anything you've ever heard before. They take elements of brutal death metal, technical songwriting and extravagant imagery and they fuse it with a wide variety of symphonic/classical music. Every song feels like an immense amount of work was put into it. Most of them feature full orchestras in addition to the band, so you're listening to over 100 musicians at once. And it all fits together to make something truly unique.

I'm talking about Septicflesh here, not Septic Flesh. See, the band was together from 1990 to 2003 and released a total of 6 albums during that time. They reformed in 2007 with mostly the same lineup when they released they had so much more work to do. The band had a new vision: to create the most epic music possible. They also topped it off with a name change, removing the space between Septic and Flesh because it "looked better" but "kept the same meaning". Now I have a couple things to say about that. First off, the new logo does like miles better than the old one. However, they could have kept the same band name with just removing the space from the logo. Secondly, what the heck is the meaning of "Septicflesh"? Humanity being uncomfortable in their own skin? Increasing levels of radiation in the world? Meat that's been left out for too long? Whatever the meaning behind the name, I supposed it's the music that counts. Septicflesh certainly has that front covered.

This band probably has the most distinct and largest number of transitions in their songs out of any death metal band. Yes, the band has full orchestras, but so do bands like Dimmu Borgir. What separates Septicflesh from the others is that there's sections of just metal, sections where the metal plays along with the symphonic and sections of just symphonic. It's like listening to two songs at once that occasionally sync up. They're also not afraid to fully experiment with both the metal and the symphonic. The metal ranges from acoustic guitars and slow drum patterns to technical stuff with backing blast beats. The symphonic ranges from choirs to 'all at once' instrument spurts to solo keyboard or violin. You never know what you're going to get in any given song. Everything mixes up so constantly.

Of course, the band occasionally misses. There are a good number of Septicflesh songs that I don't find myself particularly fond of. But you have to give credit to the band for trying so many things. They've got deep harsh vocals, clean vocals, male, female and child choirs and all the musical prowess I mentioned above.

Not to disappoint on any fronts, their imagery is also quite out of the ordinary. The band's songs deal with all sorts of mythology and mystical beings. Looking at anything relating to their upcoming album Titan you'll surely see the weird demon-like guy. Seeing their t-shirt designs for their upcoming North American tour, I wasn't sure what people would think about me if I walked down the street wearing any of them. They all feature crazy and/or (anti-)religious characters on them. Prometheus is a central character of the album, but instead of using an awesome Greek titan the band decides the use the idea of Prometheus. He's representative of a creator and a deceiver. It takes a bit of an understanding of ancient Greek mythology, but seeing as the band is from there I trust they have a pretty good idea.

So if you find yourself enjoying brutal and/or beautiful music, I urge you to check out one of the leading members of the ever-growing genre of symphonic death metal. You just can't beat full choirs, technical ability and wonderful mythical themes. Septicflesh is always over the top with the assaults on your ears that they call albums. Their new album Titan is currently streaming right here so you have no excuse not to check it out. You'll be glad you did.

-Zombie Viking

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