Monday, July 7, 2014

Septicflesh - Titan

Greek symphonic melodic death metal (or whatever you choose to label them) band Septicflesh released their 9th full-length album last month. Septicflesh have quietly become one of my favorite metal bands over the past couple of years despite falling into more of a goth arena than I usually like, so I was eagerly awaiting this record for quite a while.

The result was mostly satisfactory. The symphonic, almost operatic orchestration is as interesting and engaging as ever, the guitar riffs are surprisingly simplistic but their bluntness creates a reasonably effective contrast against the orchestra. The vocals are solid with a mix of growls, cleans, and effects-laden otherness. The drumming is interesting, and the bass is audible (sad that for a metal album, simple audibility is essentially a compliment when talking about the bass). The production is top-notch, providing plenty of room for individual instruments to move around in and plenty of clarity to allow each element to stand out on its own.

Basically, all the ingredients are here, so if you like Septicflesh you'll like this record. It does seem, though, to be missing something I can't quite put my finger on for some reason. Even though I like them, I have to admit that Septicflesh have always been a band that's more about style than substance. That has worked fine for them, but it does mean I can rule out certain possible issues. I'm not, for example, talking about any suddenly absent visceral drive or philosophical underpinnings or anything, since the band never really had those. I think the problem is in the guitar, since in addition to being simplistic the guitar is also somewhat sparse, which means that in general there just isn't as much core action in the compositions as we've seen on previous albums.

Anyway, don't let my complaints deter you too much. It was still a good album. It falls short of its immediate predecessor, so to a new listener I'd suggest that album (The Great Mass) in lieu of this one, but for anybody who already knows the band and likes them, Titan  is a solid purchase.

Grade: B+

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