“The Great Mass”, released this year, became the 8th evolution of the Greek death metal quartet, SepticFlesh. As Anton and company continue to push the boundaries of their sound and genre will the public be ready for what may come? The ability for a band to color outside their genre lines and old formulas, can do everything to enhance already great sounds. Are we ready for a newer picture from Greece where lines could be blurred and even obliterated?
This latest in the catalogue of metal opens on a haunting note with an eerie but subtle female vocalist, to that a crescendo of drum and orchestral accompaniment rise up ending with a bomb full magnitude metal at the peak. This only starts the devilish tour through a blackened countryside, guided by the vitriolic narrations of Anton. This opening track, ‘The Vampire from Nazareth’, immediately sets tone that the orchestral compositions are not a layer of the music, but rather they are at the heart, soul, and core of our tour. The interweaving of vitriolic Anton, cleaner V, riffs, beats, and orchestra puts forth a true tour de force for the horde from Greece.
Unlike other bands that employ additional instruments to accentuate their sound, SepticFlesh, has integrated this chamber musical sound into their core. One only needs to move into the second leg of tour aptly titled ‘A Great Mass of Death’, to fully appreciate the new center of our blackened journey. The incorporation of pure death metal riffs, bass lines and drumming with choral vocals and orchestral progressions born out of hell, adds immense depth to this sound. This is a depth that seemingly has no end, as with each play a new note and nuisance is absorbed and the full magnitude of perfection begins to unfold.
Timing is everything! As with fellow metallers, Gojira, the band from Greece has the remarkable ability to utilize stops and starts, ebb and flow, with sheer perfection. ‘Oceans of Gray’ provide a notable example of this technique. The ebb and flow of bass, riffs, drums, and orchestra are spot on and combined with well timed and placed female vocals depicts a true ocean of gray. When a group of musicians has perfected coordination of all aspects of music in this manner, an album moves from being a great release to that of epic nature. “The Great Mass” has achieved this status and is a sheer treat to experience.
Releases at this level are never just listened to but rather experienced. Experience implies a gaining of knowledge and appreciation as events unfold around us. “The Great Mass” is a crusade of such moments and as each one graces our senses the feeling of belonging in this music is further engrained. At some monumental moment a transitional inflection point is reached and we become part of the journey rather than a mere observer to it.
As our tour moves forward the incorporation of a variety of vocal styling’s and delivery become wires and fasteners welded through this metal fabric. To gain full appreciation of how the vocals become the liquid metal that holds this web together, we need only round the corner to ‘Rising’. The spell that the vitriolic and cleaner vocals cast over the listener is mesmerizing. The coordination and timing adds the last touch to a masterpiece unfurling before the listener. It is with such emotion and conviction that these notes are put forth that the listener cannot help feel their own spirit rising and joining with the spirit of the music.
All in all, this epic masterpiece is one highlight after the next. Surprise of sounds around every corner, drawing us into a web we cannot escape from. This is a piece that must be heard and if you have never experienced SepticFlesh, now is the time. “The Great Mass” firmly establishes this Grecian quartet as metal juggernauts. Merely listening is not enough, experience the Mass and the trip you take on the waves of SepticFlesh is worth any price of admission.