The Great Mass released this year to a surprisingly warm critical reception. Fans of the band seem to be a bit more conflicted. Some cry "Masterpiece" while others condemn it for losing the death metal element that made the band great. However for me, just one word comes to mind upon listening to The Great Mass: mediocrity.
Here you have a Septicflesh that, similarly to the oft-compared to Opeth (never got those comparisons, but whatever), doesn't know where to go. Septicflesh is a band that thrives on melody and a degree of subtlety that's always been about balancing the more flamboyant symphonic aspect with the thick, death metal guitars. Sumerian Daemons was a prime example of this balance in my opinion. However this album throws that balance way off, and shows Septicflesh falling from the tightrope into a crocodile-filled pit where the second group of fans are the crocodiles unwilling to accept the change.
I'm somewhere in the middle on this album. I applaud Septicflesh for trying to find their niche as a symphonic "death" metal band, but the symphonic elements on this album are just TOO much. They remind me of the worst parts of Dimmu Borgir and Cradle Of Filth, just with deeper vocals and slightly heavier guitars. The fruity symphonic elements annihilate the pounding drums and riffs that occasionally reach prominence on tracks like "Rising" and "Five-Pointed Star." However the rest of the tracks, like "Pyramid God" and "A Great Mass Of Death" are overwhelmingly symphonic. Apparently they thought power metal and forgettable symphonics would mix well on "Therianthropy" but it just makes me snarf. At least all the symphonic elements sound like they were performed by a real orchestra. It might be because they actually were. It's cool that they got those guys from Communion to work with them again.
Now there aren't many bands that can pull off symphonic death metal. It's a subgenre that frankly shouldn't exist, and even though Septicflesh has teetered on the brink of "fruitality" for awhile, this is the album that really pushed them over the edge.
5.0 out of 10
|1.||The Vampire From Nazareth|
|2.||A Great Mass of Death|
|5.||Oceans of Grey|
|6.||The Undead Keep Dreaming|