Season Of Mist – Out Now.
When the members of the Symphonic Death Metal outfit Septicflesh (originally Septic Flesh) decided to call it a day back in 2003, there were quite a few of their fans, myself included, who truly felt that the Athenian band was still a long way from reaching its artistic peak with the release of the otherwise massively enjoyable “Sumerian Daemons”.
That feeling remained unaltered even as their sensational comeback release “Communion” (2008) began to climb charts worldwide and it is only now, though the release of studio album number nine, entitled “Titan”, that one begins to comprehend what these four unbelievably gifted individuals are capable of creating, given the right level of support.
Continuing on a path similar to the one trodden by 2011’s “The Great Mass”, but far more mature and balanced in comparison, “Titan” consists of ten powerful compositions filled with massive head banging riffs, bombastic drum beats, cleverly arranged orchestral parts and epic/pompous orchestral arrangements whose quality even the mighty composer Vassilios Poledouris (“Conan The Barbarian”, “The Hunt For Red October”) would be proud of.
Dominating the proceedings with his low-register growls, singer/bassist Spiros “Seth” Antoniou finds himself once again willingly under the spotlight, exerting his authority and enhancing his performances with the assistance of various male choral and female soprano vocals. While this takes place, his remaining colleagues are left to expertly weave a thematically intricate musical tapestry, with a truly concept-like quality.
You know that an album really means business when it opens with a song as commanding and bombastic as “War In Heaven” – a five and a half minute epic filled with intense drum themes, cinematic oriental-sounding orchestral arrangements and riffs whose head banging quality is second to none.
More riff-based and straight forward in nature but featuring moments of technical maturity, “Burn” will become an immediate hit with the band’s fans, while the Gypsy-style folk themes in “Order Of Dracul” add a lot to the album’s thematic diversity. Filled with impassioned female vocals performances, “Prototype” truly stands out from the crowd while the more pompous “Dogma” adds a dramatic quality to the mix.
The one composition, however, which encapsulates the very essence of Septicflesh in the year 2014 is the six and a half minute opus “Prometheus”. Presenting some of Christos Antoniou’s best orchestral arrangements to date and operating a ruthlessly intense tempo, this is without a doubt the album’s magnum opus – a status that both the Morbid-Angel influenced “Titan” and the impressive duet of “Confessions Of A Killer” / “Ground Zero” come close to achieving but cannot quite replicate.
The album concludes with another pompous composition in the shape of “The First Immortal” – the last opportunity for the members of the band to flex their technical muscles and showcase, in the process, their outstanding musical skills.
The executives at Season Of Mist must still be rubbing their hands with satisfaction in the knowledge that their decision to offer Septicflesh a home back in 2007 has led to the release of material of such outstanding quality as “Titan”.
This is a colossal piece of work whose value we may be able to recognise today but whose real importance will be gradually revealed to us through the passing of time – that being the case with every classic release.
The closer we get to the end of the year, the more we tend to think about choosing our ‘album of the year’ will intensify but, as far as I am personally concerned, my mind is pretty much made up! Simply outstanding!
Rating: ***** (5.0/5.0)
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