WARNING: The following review contains excessive reference to Septicflesh.
My favorite Greek giants of atmospheric, Rotting Christ flavored symphonic death metal are back, and right on schedule with the delivery of their latest force of nature. And to add to my fangirlism, the album’s fittingly titled after the most ancient of all the gods – yes you read right, TITAN! Does it get any bigger, heavier or more metal than that? Septicflesh‘s 2008 release, Communion, with its epic orchestral arrangements, elaborate classical composition, persistent melodies and death-dealing drum and guitar-work marked a dramatic and unequaled comeback for the band. A mere three years on, my appetite was again satiated with the release of The Great Mass, which didn’t knock Communion off its pedestal, but it showed a band committed to their sound development and impressive songwriting. Titan marks my latest tryst with Septicflesh and I’m left wondering whether this vociferous deliverer of death will live up to its name.
“War in Heaven” breaks out, swells and grows in intensity, giving you the impression that the album will indeed be titanic. The opening track, along with “Prototype,” “Prometheus” and “Confessions of a Serial Killer” show off Seth Siro Anton’s immense, accent drenched growls and Sotiris Vayena’s cleans, that have become such an integral part of Septicflesh‘s grandiose personality since reuniting. Much like the vocals used on the bands recent releases, Seth Siro Anton’s growls are consistently menacing, controlled, hostile and as cold as the iceberg that took out the Titanic. That said, they don’t quite hit the deadly reaches of his vocals on Sumerian Daemon. Titan makes use of a feast of vocal styles from the operatics and “beauty and the beast” schools to electronic, disconcerting and just plain creepy as hell in “Burn,” that there’s something in here for just about everyone.
Instrumentally the album’s a grower, with a little over half of it reaching the level of pretty damn good and the rest falling just short. The repetition of earlier albums steals some of Titan‘s thunder, but the addition of oddities like the sound of Mozart hammering madly away on his keys in “Order of Dracul,” the stalkerish melodic struggle between good and evil on “Confessions of a Serial Killer” and the fired-up bizarre contrast of “Ground Zero” work around the repetition and do their damnedest to inject individuality and cement Titan in your subconscious. Outside of these moments of weirdness, Fotis Benardo picks up where Seth leaves off, epitomizing the image of a titan. His drum work is a synergy of aggression and just plain thrill factor and ends up a definite high point on the album.
The biggest downfall for Titan is that the album is so perfectly consistent with what Septicflesh delivered on The Great Mass, from the tracks right down to the album art – at quick glance it’s even tough to tell the two apart. Even the production style is a dead ringer for that of Communion and The Great Mass. And satisfying my suspicions, I see the album was once again recorded at Devasoundz Studios in Athens and masterminded in Los Angeles by Dirty Icon Production’s Logan Mader (Gojira, Fear Factory and Soulfly).
If you’ve enjoyed Communion and The Great Mass, there’s no doubt in my mind that you’ll enjoy Titan, and can consider this a good safe buy. If however you’re craving something more from Septicflesh, like an injection of the variety of Sumerian Daemon, then Titan is going to sound sadly enervated. Whoever heard of titans playing it safe?
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: EU: Season of Mist | NA: Prosthetic Records
Websites: SepticfleshOfficial | Facebook.com/septicfleshband
Release Dates: EU: 2014.06.20 | NA: 06.24.2014