"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.