Greece, Season of Mist, Symphonic Death Metal
Symphonies in metal will no doubt inspire an uproar among the old guard, oftentimes rightfully so; cheesy keyboards and overblown quasi-epic passages got old decades ago. However, in the case of a select few bands, the addition of strings and horns (especially in the form of real musicians and not a Casio) serves not to detract from the deathly parts of a record, but instead to augment them. Such is the case of Titan, wherein Septicflesh utilizes a full orchestra to enhance the rhythmic ebb of the band’s doomy core, resulting in an atmospheric yet crushing entry into the necronomicon of death metal.
Titan shows that “atmospheric” needn’t inherently equal boring, poppy, pompous, or fluffy. Sudden bursts of precision drumming harken clearly to more technical outfits than melodic mass-appeal, and increase the overall level of headbanging, as well as complexity. Simultaneously, the bombast of the orchestra carries an oppressive yet memorable atmosphere. Septicflesh summons the full demonic might of a complete classical troupe to augment aggressive riffing, resulting in a visceral tapestry of malevolent music.
While 2008’s Communion had some heavy moments, they were paired with some sing-songy parts that probably alienated some morbid-minded fans. Titan, in contrast, not only features, but seems to focus on more of the outright heavy parts. For example, see “Prototype,” which pairs darting strings and slashing wind instruments with falling columns of guitar.
In the end, Titan surpasses other orchestral or symphonic efforts because of how genuinely dead it seems; rather than splashing commercialism into heaviness to garner mainstream appeal, Septicflesh’s tenth record displays a band who remembers that fans like to stumble away from a record with a bruised brain – which, in this case, feels simultaneously enlarged due to the classical elements.
Reviewer: Witness to the Void