The right amount of pompous orchestration and death metal

Septicflesh are one of the originators of the symphonic death metal sound that even today can be hit and miss in its sound and approach, both by this band and others that have followed in their wake. This 10th album doesn’t change the formula that they have stuck to since their reformation on 2008 album Communion.

Opening with all the bombast to be expected when you incorporate symphonies in your approach, ‘Dante’s Inferno’ begins with an almost cinematic welcoming before vocalist Spiros “Seth Siro Anton” Antoniou reminds you exactly what party you have decided to crash. For a time in the middle of the song his strong vocal presence makes you forget about all of the music crashing around him as his vocals overpower everything.

‘Portrait Of A Headless Man’ opens with a feel in the vein of Nile, as spoken words clash with death vocals and the orchestration takes your mind on a journey of musical beauty.

The band has stuck the right amount of pompous orchestration and death metal like a lot like last year’s stellar King album from Italians Fleshgod Apocalypse, choosing just the right moment to let the metal shine like the build up to the mid section of ‘Martyr’ or allowing the orchestration to take over, or the bombastic, cinematic ‘Enemy Of Truth’.

Overall this album is more highs than lows, with only the strained clean vocals used sparingly here and there taking the focus away from the great job they’ve done. The lush production of Logan Mader allows both band and the orchestration to breathe when required so you can soak up the full effects. Listening to this album through a set of quality headphones at least once to swallow everything on display is highly recommended.

Codex Omega shows a band in genuine touch with their art, and what they feel the fans want to hear. This leads to my only concern: sure they have built a strong foundation over the course of a few albums, but is it all memorable for the riffs? Or is it only remembered for its bombastic nature? Perhaps a minor complaint because music this grand does make your spine tingle often throughout, I just wonder where they can take it from here.

1. Dante’s Inferno
2. 3rd Testament
3. Portrait of a Headless Man
4. Martyr
5. Enemy of Truth
6. Dark Art
7. Our Church Below the Sea
8. Faceless Queen
9. The Gospels of Fear
10. Trinity
11. Martyr of Truth (Orchestral Bonus)
12. Dark Testament (Orchestral Bonus)
13. Portrait of a Headless Man (Orchestral Bonus)