Art, Thy Name is Death Metal
Imagine a band that inspires awe from both their symphonic beauty and their deadly guitar tones. Enter Septicflesh. Septicflesh’s 10th album, Codex Omega, continues to build on the band’s successful 2013 resurgence in a big way. The Greek death metal collective has been spitting out brutal tracks since 1994, and their most recent 2017 installment only shows that they’re just getting started.
Every song on Codex Omega has an impactful intro. Whether that’s the captivatingly solemn piano on “Dark Art,” or the rhythmic roller coaster that begins “3rd Testament,” Septicflesh could teach a course on hooking the listener. The first song on the album, “Dante’s Inferno,” begins with beautifully dreadful guitar chords and symphony strings, almost pulling us down to hell to start the album.
From “Dante’s Inferno,” the album ebbs and flows to keep interesting while simultaneously dishing out the Septicflesh tone that popularized the band with the death metal faithful. Codex Omega pulls no punches in the beginning as it churns out the two album singles at first go, and then rallies onto the Game of Thrones Dothraki battle-sounding “Portrait of a Headless Man.”
Septicflesh also unveils a glimpse of clean vocals with the triplet of songs, “Dark Art,” “Our Church, Below the Sea” and “Faceless Queen.” Septicflesh is not necessarily known for using too many clean vocal cuts in their songs, so this is a real indicator of change and growth in the band’s vast music catalog. Not only do the clean vocals sound menacing in their own right, but they work to supply a new atmosphere in what would be an otherwise repetitive album effort.
Those three tracks break the album up nicely, gathering an appreciation for themselves while elevating the big hitters such as “Enemy of Truth.” “Enemy of Truth” is a standout on Codex Omega as it is the apex of what Septicflesh is known for. The guitar and drum rhythms are pounding and complex, while the crisp tone of the choral horns is simply heart-shaking. This is a song that has so many elements to offer and gets better with each listen because of it.
Overall, Codex Omega is a symphonic masterpiece. Septicflesh are of course no strangers to mixing dark symphonies with insanely technical metal instrumentation, and this album knocks it right out of the park. Given that some songs are hard to differentiate from one another, all sound well thought out and memorable as a whole. Septicflesh continues to be an impressive force in death metal music with the intricate bone-rattler that is Codex Omega.