Septicflesh- Titan Review
By: Mike Parker, Contributing Writer
As a rule, I usually try to steer clear of anything Greek (go work in a restaurant owned by first generation Greeks and you will know why). However, Septicflesh is one of Greece's finest exports and with their new album, Titan to stand on, they continue to reign supreme in the world of symphonic metal.
Let me first get the bad out of the way... The male choral vocals and Sotiris Vayenas's clean lines tend to be a bit flaccid and suffocated.
The second track, "Burn," has vocals which should be pretty much tossed into the Thracian Sea, but the bridge with the light touch of a lute and a great Gilmore-esque guitar solo are worth the slog through the flat, emotionless chorus. I would have liked this album to have had a bit more drama and theatrics. Done properly, a few well-placed spoken words and sound effects could have brought Titan’s storytelling to a level approaching mastery.
Its overture-like first track, "War in Heaven" was all I really needed to hear to know that this record was going to be a great ride. The changes in dynamics, not just within one song, but throughout the whole album, gives it that “Beowulf” sort of feel with which most of us associate with the symphonic metal genre. Though Titan may take a Greek scholar to decipher, with the lyrics all ripped from ancient Greek Mythos, I would still consider it a very accessible album.
Sometimes it is a challenge to differentiate between instruments. This is not a bad thing; it forces the listener to really try and hear each instrument. Some of the greatest classical composers did the exact same thing and are lauded for it every day. Christos Antoniou's composition work is phenomenal. The music never gets muddy... It gets complex, and complexity can be a good thing. Titan never stales and the continuity of the album keeps your mind rolling through the bleak and frigid themes while rarely scratching a sour note.
My personal favorite song, "Confessions of a Serial Killer," is worth a listen if only to hear a Theremin being played through some kind of distortion on a metal album. Most of the songs hit that epic style that typifies symphonic metal. Septicflesh are able to do in under five minutes (mostly) what takes other bands in this slot seven to ten minutes to do. Dare I say it is a good introductory album for the new symphonic metal listener?
The album unforgivingly crescendos to a climax with track nine, “Ground Zero”, before gently rocking you to sleep in a bassinet of razor wire through the next track, “The First Immortal”.
After everything is said and done, I see myself lying on a bed of Grecian pillows, being serviced by only the best of servants, drinking ouzo and absinthe and letting this album force the wrath, beauty, hatred, love, and jealousy of the gods into my brain.