The Great Mass(2011) by SepticFlesh

We head into Greece with a highly sophisticated, shall I say, band. These guys are a Greek death metal band that have been around ever since the 90s and have released albums like The Mystic Places of Dawn and Sumarian Daemons before their break up in 2005 I want to say. But then they got back together to release 2008’s Communition with all guns blazing and a new feature to their music, symphonic metal. Since then they stuck with that style and then released this album, A Great Mass, in 2011 with as much of epic fell as you can possibly imagine. This was also the one that got me into the band.

The Great Mass consists of 10 tracks hovering at around the 4 minute marks for most of the tracks. The album begins with The Vampire From Nazareth with Greek opera at the beginning, then the symphonies come in, then the band themselves. While the vocals are especially brutal and at full force when compared to the other instruments, to me, it isn’t one sided as the symphony aids the rest of the instruments. Then we get tracks like Five-Pointed Star, Mad Architect, The Undead Keep Dreaming and A Great Mass of Death that sound very brutal and, dark and oh so epic sounding. There is the occasional clean vocals which sound eerie to say the least but in a way, works and compliments the music being played. Theriontrophy is also a great ending track in my opinion because it is very crushing, destructive, and sounds like an ending to more of a sad Shakespeare story like Romeo and Juliet for example. The symphonies in the background, while very loud and easy to pick out, also have standout moments to the point that sometimes only they play and there’s also a Greek choir in the background somewhere but I can’t remember where that was. Anyways, sometimes the band just stops and gives the symphony a second or two to shine before they start playing again. The layers of dark, almost horrific atmosphere is also complimented by the background symphonies. As a violinist myself, I would know that, violins especially, if done right and you know what you’re doing, you can create layers of atmosphere whether it be dark and evil or sunshine and happiness.

If you can make any good work to use after changing your style, you can be considered one of the greats. SepticFlesh has surely been able to do that very well. I still think that Cannibal Corpse and Death beat them in terms of my favorites, but someone take me to Greece and help me find this album somewhere. I give this album a 9.5/10. I am the Grim Reaper, signing off.

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