SEPTICFLESH — The Great Mass

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SEPTICFLESH - The Great Mass cover
4.13 | 24 ratings | 6 reviews
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Album · 2011

Filed under Death Metal
By SEPTICFLESH

Tracklist

1. The Vampire From Nazareth (4:08)
2. A Great Mass of Death (4:46)
3. Pyramid God (5:13)
4. Five-Pointed Star (4:33)
5. Oceans of Grey (5:11)
6. The Undead Keep Dreaming (4:29)
7. Rising (3:16)
8. Apocalypse (3:55)
9. Mad Architect (3:36)
10. Therianthropy (4:28)

Total Time 43:35

Line-up/Musicians

- Spiros "Seth" Antoniou / vocals, bass
- Christos "Chris" Antoniou / guitars, samples, orchestration
- Sotiris Vayenas / guitars, vocals
- Fotis Giannakopoulos / drums

About this release

Season of Mist.

Released on April 18th in Europe, and April 19th in the US.

Thanks to Time Signature for the addition and umur for the updates

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SEPTICFLESH THE GREAT MASS reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

UMUR
"The Great Mass" is the 8th full-length studio album by Greek death metal act Septicflesh (formerly Septic Flesh). The album was released through Season of Mist in April 2011. Founded back in 1990, Septic Flesh are one of the most prolific Greek death metal acts on the scene. Stylistically they´ve gone through various phases and styles, they´ve challenged themselves and also tested their audience in the process.

"The Great Mass" may not test the band´s audience that much though, as it is more or less a continuation of the symphonic death metal style introduced on Septicflesh comeback album "Communion (2008)" (they were split-up from 2003 - 2007). Just as the case was on the predecessor guitarist Christos "Chris" Antoniou (who has a masters degree in concert music from the London College of Music) has written comprehensive orchestral scores to accompany the death metal basis of the band´s music. The scores are performed by The International Choir of Prague and The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. The music features a couple of samples but otherwise all classical instruments are played by a real orchestra.

Now on paper it always sounds impressive with a classical orchestra and choir in rock/metal music, but in my experience the combination fails more often than not. "The Great Mass" is one of those rare cases where it works though. Firstly the sound production is powerful, detailed, and clear enough to allow all instruments to be heard. Secondly the classical orchestra and choir work with the core death metal tracks and not against them or parallel with them, which is where a lot of other similar projects fail, and third and last the quality of the compositions are really high and specifically designed for the purpose. These guys didn´t just write a bunch of death metal tracks and as an afterthought decided to put classical instrumentation on top of them.

Needless to say the musicianship are on a high level, both when it comes to the classical musicians and the band themselves. The growling vocals are powerful (could have been a bit more intelligible, but that´s always a matter of aquired taste), the rhythm section is precise and the guitars and guitar themes delivered with conviction. The materal are also intriguing and varied so all in all "The Great Mass" is a strong symphonic death metal release by Septicflesh and a 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.
The Block
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.
Phonebook Eater
8/10

"The Great Mass" is one of the best Death Metal albums of the last few years.

Septicflesh (formally Septic Flesh) is a Greek Death Metal band, from Athens. Their first part of their career, from 1990 to 2003, was relatively obscure to many, so they split up, to reform again in 2008, releasing “Communion” which many consider to be, other than a masterpiece of it’s genre, a sort of second debut for the band. “The Great Mass” in that case would be their sophomore album. I’m not the greatest expert of Death Metal around, but I’ve heard quite a few stuff from it, and I can say that this is one of the best album of the genre of the last few years.

Like in their “second debut”, Septicflesh have a very brutal and fierce sound when it comes to the heavy parts. But they are also able to create great, atmospheric and pretty ambitious parts, thanks to the huge amount of symphonic arrangements they use. “The Great Mass” is in fact a mix between Death Metal and Symphonic Metal, to say it in the easiest way. With symphonic arrangements, I mean soprano female vocals, plenty of strings that accompany the rest of the band most of the time, and sometimes also some horns; An entire orchestra was called to do the arrangements for this album, giving the music a more refined and epic sound. Clean vocals are present as well, but not as much as you would really expect, even though many times the music isn’t exactly melodic. But when it is, the song gets a somewhat beautiful feeling. The production here is phenomenal, crystal clear and even gorgeous sounding at times, it wouldn’t have been as good if the symphonic arrangements weren’t there.

Being from Greece, Septicflesh, even when they were known as Septic Flesh, have always had a lot of Ancient Greek mythology subjects in their music and lyrics, which some times make the music sound almost gothic like, and so happens here as well; the atmospheres are mysterious and even eerie when the music is a little calmer, epic when the brutal parts come along. As a result, the songs here have a pretty solid structure, despite being all less than six minutes. The album consequently is solid too, ten songs that unfold in about forty minutes; starting from the opener, “the Vampire From Nazareth”, which perfectly sets the stage with its eerie sounds and female vocals. There are almost all great songs here worth mentioning; “Pyramid God” has a great, powerful ending that will stick with you even more than the first part of the song, “Oceans Of Grey” is more melodic, but still violent and full of guts. “The Undead Keep Dreaming”, “Rising” are again great songs, but my personal favorite is the extremely dramatic and epic “Mad Architect”, just beautiful in it’s sheer bestiality. “Therianthropy” a haunting song, with a great synth addiction, that closes magnificently the album.

An album that if you’re a Death Metal fan you must absolutely listen to, especially if you felt positive about “Communion”, because hear you see Septicflesh at it’s absolute pinnacle.
adg211288
The idea of mixing symphonic metal with extreme influences isn’t exactly a new thing, and indeed, The Great Mass stands as the eighth album by Greece’s Septicflesh (formerly Septic Flesh). But where most cases of extreme symphonic metal are symphonic black metal, Septicflesh stands as one of the few artists I’m aware of whose music is actually symphonic death metal, something which is executed to near perfection on this album to create an extreme, yet atmospheric and epic record.

The sound exhibited by Septicflesh on this album combines some pretty heavy and extreme death metal ideas with some dark symphonic backing. Sometimes the death metal is leaning more towards melodic death metal with the inclusion of clean vocals, but generally I don’t detect a lot of melodic death metal elements in the music, although it certainly has plenty of melody on offer. The excellent and often eerie symphonic ideas make the atmosphere really special. The combination of death metal with symphonic metal may not be so common, but here it works very well, with results being for me a lot more interesting than much symphonic black metal, the genre’s extreme symphonic cousin.

I especially like that the band opts to include clean vocals from guitarist/keyboardist Sotiris Vayenas along the harsh growl of Spiros Antoniou. There’s an unusual tone to Vayenas’ vocals, but it fits with the music perfectly, especially the atmospheric parts. There’s also some female soprano vocals included on the album. We hear them right away in opener The Vampire From Nazareth, which is one of my favourites from the album. It’s very dark and very epic as well, with the female vocals creating the perfect haunting intro before the band launches themselves into their symphonic death metal attack, which is fabulous on the atmospheric front, with the heavy guitars and prominent orchestration really hitting the spot as well. It really doesn’t take any more than this track to know that The Great Mass is something pretty special.

As one of those albums with a consistent level of high quality material, The Great Mass should stand as a very easy listen for those into their death metal. I also suspect that it will meet with approval from anyone looking for a somewhat different take on the death metal genre. Track highlights for me include the above mentioned The Vampire From Nazareth, A Great Mass of Death, Pyramid God, Oceans of Grey and Rising quickly establishing themselves as firm personal favourites of mine. They save one of the very best for last though with Therianthropy. Band’s like Septicflesh make it a wonder that symphonic death metal isn’t a more common or popular style, but even if it was, I’d imagine it difficult for others to replicate the sort of quality that Septicflesh showcases on The Great Mass, because things stay extremely strong right from the off, and it’s a true pleasure to listen to. The Great Mass was my introduction to the band but it’s an album that has inspired me to take proper note of them, and I’m sure I’ll be enjoying exploring their back catalogue soon enough.

(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven, scoring 9.3/10)
Time Signature
A great mass of death...

Genre: symphonic death metal

Greek metallers return with another perfectly balanced salvo of bombastic symphonic death metal that combines grandiosity, brutality and melody.

The use of symphonic effects creates a tense and dark atmosphere which suits the overall feel of the album very well. Being extreme metal, the music is already quite intense, but this intensity is taken to the nth degree with, for instance, symphonic orchestration laid over insanely fast blastbeats, which sometimes even accelerate to an even higher velocity. Other parts are very melodic, yet dark and intense.

The vocals are primarily growled, with some clean vocals every now and then. And, the vocalist is actually a strong growler, whose deep guttural growling technique is quite brutal.

Overall, this is a very interesting album that perfectly balances grandiosity, brutality and melody into a very intense music experience.
J-Man
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.

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