Something evil stirs beneath the Akropolis1. Runes begin glowing red in the deep tunnels beneath the temple. Animals scatter in panic as drums rise from the depths. Vendors in Anafiotika pray to their respective gods, but find no respite in faith, as the ground begins to shake and crack. The reason for this unholy display? Septicflesh are back with another fat slab of orchestral death! After I somehow let the Greek purveyors of Sumerian cultism slip off my radar since the massive and memorable Communion, it was about time I reacquaint myself, as Codex Omega is released upon the unsuspecting world.

Codex Omega does not reinvent the wheel for the band. Their sound is well established by now: an epic, bombastic display of chunky riffs and pounding drums, overlaid with a thick blanket of orchestral elements, neighboring other big names like Rotting Christ and Fleshgod Apocalypse. Horns, strings, choirs, and a searing lead guitar make up the ingredients of this demonic cocktail, fronted by the incredible growl of Spiros Antoniou. Where many other symphonic death metal bands focus on the orchestra, Spiros is the greatest asset in Septicflesh, with a deep, menacing, venomous growl that injects the music with a kind of infernal majesty the Philharmonic Orchestra can support, but never replace.

The band always puts a strong figurehead on their bows, and “Dante’s Inferno” kicks off with bombastic verses and a powerful, hellishly stomping chorus. Guitarist Sotiris Vayenas puts in his usual share of excellent clean vocals of the ‘demonic priest’ persuasion, among others on “Portrait of a Headless Man,” which is driven by a rapidly oscillating string quartet. The strongest track, however, is the centerpiece “Enemy of Truth,” a fiery prosecution of modern misinformation. The application of the orchestra is both judicious and calculated here, and the use of a soprano choir in the chorus lifts the track above itself, escalating the epic grandeur to Lovecraftian proportions.

The songwriting does not quite reach the lofty heights of Communion, though it does get close. Comparing Codex Omega to my only reference point, the main tripping points here are variation and memorability. There is plenty of variety within the tracks, mind you, with interchanging tempos, different vocal approaches, and the range of instruments in the Philharmonic. Compared to one another though, few of the tracks truly leap out, “Enemy of Truth” being the exception that confirms the rule. This is mainly due to a minor shortage of hooks, which makes the tracks feel denser and not as easy to absorb despite being fairly straightforward in composition.

The production, on the other hand, is modern in a good way. Sure, the master is pretty loud, but it stops well short of being fatiguing, and I’ve had no problem spinning Codex several times in succession and at decent volumes. One of the biggest reasons for this is the mix, which is exact in doling out volume to the myriad of instruments, both classical and modern, and the vocals. Different elements rise up and quiet down, never just blasting at full volume all through a track. The variation in the track composition gives plenty of pause to the ears as well, while it makes the straight blasts feel more powerful by contrast.

Summing up, if you like the previous works of Septicflesh, you will like this too. It’s a thundering record, big on atmosphere, displaying grandiosity and darkness with every note. Antoniou remains a force to be reckoned with, filling the room with his infernal growl. The band does seem more keen on honing their sound than experimenting with it, and with further records, they need to beware the danger of growing stale, particularly on the songwriting. However, as of right now, that’s not a major concern, and it is easily overlooked by the precision in the execution and the heaping helping of demonic character the album exudes from its every pore. Codex Omega may not surprise long time fans, but neither will it leave them disappointed.


Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Season of Mist
Websites: septicflesh.bandcamp.com | septicflesh.com | facebook.com/septicfleshband
Releases Worldwide: September 1st, 2017

Show 1 footnote

  1. Yanni usually.
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  • HeavyMetalHamster

    Well speak of the devil…

  • Nice to see some environmentally minded folks conserving water via stillsuit.

    • Sean Piersol

      he has the Weirding Way

    • Monsterth Goatom

      So that’s what it is. I thought it was some kind of satanic leisure suit, a kind of diabolical onesie.

      • Tonight only, the Satanic might of Diabolical Onesie!

      • basenjibrian

        Diabolical Onesie would make a fantastic band name for a Satanic black metal-loungecore act.

        Oops. Steel beat me to it! curses!

    • GardensTale

      You mean that wasn’t from the auditions for DC’s Aquaman?

    • Dagoth_RAC

      As a bonus, lets you drink more ouzo before dehydrating!

  • Absolomb

    It’s funny to think they took that photo with a green screen background.
    Will check this out this evening.

    • Dagoth_RAC

      Actually, Pope Francis is a big SepticFlesh fan! This photo was taken while he was giving Antoniou & Co., a private tour of St. Peter’s.

  • AndySynn

    “Where many other symphonic death metal bands focus on the orchestra…”

    Funnily enough this has been my EXACT complaint about SF for the last couple of albums, all symphonic pomp, no trousers (metallic trousers).

    • Repantsless!

      • Metrognome26

        Dammit! I’m trying to slack at work and my supervisor is just one desk over. Stop making me laugh, sir!

  • Vega Magnus

    Anyone remember the 2012-2013 meme where we asked if an album sounded like Septicflesh regardless of context? It originated from several albums that were reviewed in close proximity to each other earning Septicflesh comparisons.

    So… does this sound like Septicflesh?

    • GardensTale

      The question is, does Septicflesh sound like this?

  • Monsterth Goatom

    What’s the evolutionary advantage of having your womb in your head?

    • Keeping on eye on your unborn child?

    • André Snyde Lopes

      You start life ahead of everyone else?

      • Monsterth Goatom

        Winner!

      • Ivan E. Rection

        Your head has eyes, so it’s a womb with a view.

    • eleven.eight

      Hmm… advantage? When the child develops and starts kicking, you can grow up with headbangers early on?

    • RuySan

      Use a motorcycle helmet and the featus gets way more protection than in the belly.

      • Monsterth Goatom

        I motion for staff to move this to the AMG “Tips & Tricks” internals page.

  • Akerblogger

    I think they reached the peak of their ultra-clean symphonic sound with Communion. It has big ballsy hooks and memorability in excess. I’ve never had the urge to listen to their more recent stuff but I’ll give this a go to see if it can re-kindle my interest.

  • Andres Pintos Nocerino

    now listening

  • welyyt

    It’s kind of a stupid comparison, but I’ll do it anyways:

    Septicflesh > Fleshgod Apocalypse

    • Strong words.

      • Julien Robitaille

        As far as orchestral instrumentation goes (and mixing it up adequately with metal), Septicflesh>pretty much every thing else.

        Come at me !

        • Why no King Fleshpocalypse?

          • Julien Robitaille

            Now that you mention it, where has that crazy brazilian lass gone?

          • I think once she saw Fleshgod appear on a Top ten list she vanished back into her lair.

          • welyyt

            I think she found peace and dissolved into thin air.

          • AndySynn

            She was… dealt with.

          • [not a Dr]

            uau!

      • SoLeftISeeRight

        Why no…?

    • Pedro Morini Mietto

      I’m really looking forward to seeing both of them live in October, Friday 13th!

    • What with Christos’ schooling, a bachelor in composition and master degree in concert music (composing & orchestration) from London College of Music and Royal Northern College of Music, and a full philharmonic orchestra conducted by Adam Klemens to perform the orchestral arrangements, that shouldn’t come as no surprise.

    • thornh

      It’s funny, I always relate these two bands too. Fleshgod has been more consistent, in my opinion, and I give them the slight edge. Codex Omega is a solid 4.0 though. Excellent album!

  • Hammersmith

    One of these guys has been playing way too much Crysis 2.

  • Cherd

    Eye doctor: Well Mr. Animal Parts, I think we’ve figured out why you’re having trouble seeing.

  • PapaRay

    Slowly but surely Antoniou reveals that he is, in fact, Lord Licorice from Candyland. Getting sloppier and sloppier, you old fiend! http://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1b3839638463007a57baac905272070919bd7cfead96bfe15de3774dbb39a803.jpg

    • Wow.

    • Cherd

      Marvel revealed the reboot costume?!

  • Feu Arsenault

    Loved every album since communion. So far I love this one too.

  • Kronos

    I loved The Great Mass, but the last one didn’t stick with me. This is hitting the spot though; not as good as Communion or The Great Mass, but scratching that itch. Great review.

    • In my ears, Titan and Codex Omega are cast in the same mold. The lack of development might actually be my biggest concern with the Codex. They are both great albums, though.

      • Kronos

        I certainly see that – they sound quite similar, and they are both a bit less blatantly melodic than the first two fully blown symphonic affairs.

    • TGM is a strong outing. Titan, not so much.

  • Septic

    I am surprised that the Septicflesh didn’t send you their updated band photo… You know, the one they took with AMG, Druhm, & the Epica scooters?!? http://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/78254cdf79c33b94144afee843babeeb5aa40c5cb69ee52945698518cf17f8d7.jpg

    • basenjibrian

      My new computer background has arrived!

      • Septic

        It would be a honor sir!

        • Death_Black_Metal_Fanatic

          Ah, Rudolph.

    • S Mahan

      I can’t decide which is better, Epica’s Lawnmower tug-o-war or Septicflesh riding Epica’s scooters.. I am torn

    • Brilliant!

  • DeathComesRipping

    Album absolutely bangs. They are the only symphonic anything band that matters

  • HeavyMetalHamster

    My wife used to use the excuse of Pregnancy Brain…..but I had no idea…..

  • Master of Muppets

    Something about that face and get-up makes me want – nay, need to hurt the vocalist’s feelings, assuming that’s what Goth Zedd’s place in Septicflesh is. Sweet tunes, but that is one very punchable looking character.

  • Wilhelm

    Does anyone else prefer the band when they simply called themselves Septic Flesh and their style was atmospheric doom/death with occasional outputs of goth, opera and industrial? I find the early incarnation of the band more unique in style, songwriting, and hell, even artwork.

    • herrschobel

      totally..this is clown metal

    • Death_Black_Metal_Fanatic

      I love the song “Mechanical Babylon”!

      • Wilhelm

        That was on Sumerian Daemons, which everyone loves but I’m not into much. That album is when their style started getting aggressive in favor of atmosphere. I liked Communion though, for what is it.

  • Nukenado

    A weird place to say this but…
    We’re getting some seriously fucked up shit in the comments recently.
    What happened to the unicorns and spheres?!

    I’m not sure I want to be in an AMG where I have to live in fear of a red scooter riding Henrik Fevre to come down on me while AMG nukes me with North Korea’s nuke arsenal.

    Oh, also, Septicflesh is great.

    • Master of Muppets

      I, too, sense and fear the coming meme and troll invasion. We were only ever going to be safe for so long.

    • Me

      The Metalsucks crowd hath arrived. :(

    • ElectricEye

      Hordes of chaos!!! …oh, sorry, wrong band

  • Shrümpelstiltskin

    I remember listening to Titan, thinking it wasn’t as great as The Great Mass, and then moving on. I’m in the middle of Codex and I think I’ll listen to this record quite a bit. I almost forgot how much fun Septicflesh is. I actually probably should revisit Titan too and see if it grew on me.

  • herrschobel

    well…if you wear costumes like that you have something to hide …. by the way i hate this music :-D .. still enjoyed the review though …

  • Dr. Wvrm

    Titan never really sat well with me, but this, I like this.

  • Death_Black_Metal_Fanatic

    Communion was incredible; The Great Mass was very good, but a step below; and Titan was a huge fall off. I’m hoping this one rebounds big time.

  • HeavyMetalHamster

    I’ve got this and the new one from The Script playing back to back on my ipod lol

  • Me

    I was really bummed about this album first time through. After several listens I’d give it a solid 4.0. Kicks the crap out of Titan. Not as evil as Great Mass but the overall quality is higher. I’d put it right next to Communion. They really brought more focus to the guitars this time.
    One of my year end contenders for sure.
    Perfect Autumn album.

  • Arjan Zwamborn

    I’m happy with the first spin of the album just now. Which is quite the achievement, since this was the one album I was looking forward to this year perhaps the most.

    Surprising to read there are apparently a lot of people unfamiliar with SF’s albums after Communion. To me, The Great Mass was both a revolution in their sound, as it was the pinnacle of it in their quite impressive discography thus far.

    Titan left me a little cold initially, but for some reason I kept getting back to it over and over again. Currently, I like it almost as much as The Great Mass and Communion. It’s just so enormously catchy – numbers such as “Burn”, “the Order of Dracul” and “Prometheus” keep me coming back to it.

    Anyway, mister Reviewer, do yourself a favour and listen to their previous two as well :-)

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    Band photo is very unintentionally funny.
    Not feeling the need for a new Septic album myself. Hopefully a decision I don’t later rue

    • FutureBeyondSatan

      Rue away, This is massive!