Original album artwork
Ceramic sculpture by Cecilia Jansson
Photo by Jukka Tilli

Septic Flesh have made much good music - almost too much. These Greeks mix death, doom, black, goth, thrash, and industrial metal, with clean and dirty vocals, both male and female. Their records are sprawling, and their epic feel can get tiring. So can their keyboards, which are creative but sometimes sound cheap.

Communion (Season of Mist, 2008) fixes these problems. At 38 minutes, it's Septic Flesh's shortest album to date. (Inexplicably, they now spell their name Septicflesh. I will call them Septic Flesh, as that is how the world knows them.) Yet it's also the band's biggest sounding, thanks to recording with an actual orchestra, the Prague Philharmonic. (The PPO has also worked with Ian Gillan and Dimmu Borgir.) Besides sounding full and natural, the strings have crisper arrangements. Now they complement rather than fight the guitars. At times, the band lays back to highlight cinematic string passages. Choir and brass also shine, especially over blastbeats. The production is muscular, and the songs are lean, despite their massive instrumentation. This is a strong, focused effort.

Today the band kicks off an extensive tour of the States, hitting all four quadrants, and also some Canadian cities. (See dates here). Satyricon and Cradle of Filth will accompany them. Bombast will ensue. Septic Flesh have almost raised the bar too high with a real orchestra. On tour, they will surely use keyboards. Will future albums have large enough budgets to avoid such a fate?

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