Thursday, April 21, 2011

Album Review: Septicflesh - "The Great Mass"

People throw the word "epic" around an awful lot these days. "Epic Win", "Epic Fail", and "That's Epic" get so overused, we've lost the impact of the word. Princeton University defines epic as "very imposing or impressive; surpassing the ordinary (especially in size or scale)" using an "epic voyage" as an example.

Septicflesh's newest album (released April 18th, 2011) , The Great Mass is truly, in the purest definition of the term, an "epic voyage" of sound and music. Impressive? Absolutely. Surpassing the ordinary? Beyond belief. Blending the powerful genre of Melodic Death Metal with beautiful symphonic and orchestral arrangements, it hits you square in the face with brutal, melancholic and awe-inspiring-jaw-dropping music. So plug your headphones in and let the darkness devour you.

Personally, this is the first release by Septicflesh that I've listened to, despite hearing raving reviews about their last album Communion. After hearing this album, I'm definitely going to give the rest of their discography a listen.

Lyrically, Septicflesh tend to deal with Fantasy and Occult themes, with a tendency to focus on Lovecraftian topics. The complete lyrics for this album are nigh impossible to find online, so I cannot comment on their quality right now. However, the lyrics shouldn't be the focus of this album. Once you start listening to The Great Mass, the first thing that jumps out at you is the use of an orchestra. Rather than using synthesized instrument sounds, Septicflesh went all out, and recruited the prowess of the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. The classical arrangements never seem out of place, or made to make up for lack of guitar or drums. Septicflesh never recorded a song and afterwards thought "Hey, it would be cool to have some brass right here...", they wrote the songs with the intent of flawlessly fusing the two styles of music, and by John Petrucci, they did.

Bomb-Ass Tracks

The Vampire From Nazareth: Immediately setting the eerie and dark tone of the album, the opening track creeps up with operatic vocals and a haunting violin line to tribal drums and ringing brass of the orchestra up to the full blown brutality of Septicflesh's own memebers. It keeps up this pace for the entire track and ends beautifully with ritualistic chanting.

Think blast beats and tubas didn't go together? Think again.

Oceans Of Grey: This track is the perfect blend of Metal and Classical music.The Prague Philharmonic Orchestra really shines here, with some wailing vocal melodies in the background, giving an unsettling feeling in your stomach the entire time. My favorite track on the album, by far.

Rising: This song embodies Melodic Death Metal. Brutal vocals, soaring lead guitar lines, and driving drums. We're even treated to some clean vocals in the chorus. They aren't perfect, but there's something rather catchy about them.

The best thing to come out of Greece since Kalamata Olives.

Overall Score

9 out of 10 Apocalypses.

Seriously a contender for Best Metal Album of the year. Definitely in the Top 3 of my list so far. The Great Mass is more than a voyage, it's an experience.

That's all for now, folks.

Keep being Awesome.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Only Way to Feel the Noise is When it's Good and Loud. So Good I Can't Believe it, Screaming With The Crowd

Since it's been almost 2 months since my last post (time has flown by this semester), I give you a well overdue musical update! A nice review right before the semester is out.

Woo! :D

For those of you who've read (and those of you who haven't), let me tell you/ refresh your memories of my planned musical projects for this semester.

  • Blues/ Jazz duet/ trio
  • Classic Rock/ Blues jam group
  • Electronic/ Ambient duo with my fellow music lover, The Champion
  • Comedy/ parody Heavy Metal project with Mr. Marti
  • Prog Rock/ general musical silliness collaboration band/ group

Now, naturally, juggling the class load/ schedule of an Engineer, five musical projects as well as working every other weekend and actually attempting to maintain some form of social life, not everything was accomplished. Luckily, none of these projects have specific deadlines. A nice contrast to my school life.

Here's what I actually managed to accomplish:

  •  Prog Rock/ general musical silliness collaboration band/ group
  • Starting the newly inspired guitar based Ambient/ Progressive Instrumental project


The pure chaos which was born from the twisted minds of myself and my good friend The Champion has started to take form. It will be an ever-evolving, never ending project. We've decided to be really obnoxious and name it the Omega Omnidimensional Atomic Wizard Death Alliance. The band is open to anyone to join, as long as they contribute some form of sound to the album.

The album itself is a concept album, based around one poorly oiled chair. As of now, it has a tentative title of Appple Core Circus.We've already recorded some songs/ ideas spanning the genres of Folk, Gypsy Jazz, and Dark Ambient. We plan on covering all our bases with this, jumping from Dubstep to Stoner Metal to Happy Hardstyle to Orchestral and everything in between.

If you read those last couple paragraphs and facepalmed (see figure 1), laughed at our stupidity, or couldnt even figure out what I was trying to tell you, good. We've done our jobs.

Figure 1


I've been up very late (or early, depending on how you look at it) recently, and I've usually been playing guitar in that time, picking, fretting and tapping into the wee hours of the morning.

That spike is known as the Br00t4l Hour.

I've discovered that Dave Weiner (guitarist in Steve Vai's backing band) has a youtube channel where he posts different licks, riffs and guitar lessons every week. I've beecome rather fond of them, and they've re-inspired me to pick up my guitar and just play, irrelevant of what comes out the speakers. This inspiration mixed with the brilliance of the newly discovered band Earth creates some very satisfying results.

I've decided to try and make a low, melodic and airy track as an experiment one night, and this is what I came up with:

I was told it makes great makeout music. That wasn't really what I was going for with this piece, but hey, I managed to enhance some form of emotion. As a musician, I'm pretty happy with that.

I plan on getting another track done in the same style (hopefully at least 3 minutes long) as well as a cover of Andrea Bocelli's Time To Say Goodbye arranged for only guitar. If worst comes to worst, I'll just cheat a bit and use a backing track. :P


This summer is going to be fantastic as far as concerts go! I've got two planned up immediately after I'm out of school. On the 27th I'm off to see Progressive Metal kings Symphony X with a legendary opening lineup of Powerglove, Blackguard and Borealis! Thursday the 28th is going to be a night of pure 80s Speed Metal! [insert ludicrously high pitched 80s Metal wail] Canadian metallers Cauldron are going to rip up the stage with the fantastic Holy Grail and Skull Fist! (Also Canadian!)

Hopefully throughout the summer I'll be able to head to more concerts before I hit the Heavy Metal Mecca of Ontario: HEAVY T.O.

It's going to be two days of being Metal as fuck with my buddies in downtown Toronto. Awwwww yeah. The lineup for this festival is to die for, including Slayer, Testament, Megadeth, Opeth, Motorhead, Mastodon, Anthrax, and Rob Zombie...



Even Batman approves.


It's the end of the semester. Holy balls. I've got one exam on Thursday and my final one this coming Monday, and then I've finished my first year of university. It's been an incredible year. I can't even begin to descibe how I feel about this. I've already seen off one of my closest friends earlier today, and I'll be seeing more off by the end of the week.

I'll save the emotions and whatnot for another post. I'll try and churn out another one before I head home fro the summer.

That's all for now, folks.

Keep being Awesome.