Returning to prominence after a 4 year hiatus, Septicflesh have released two full length albums (Communion and The Great Mass). Their latest offering is a re-release/re-mastering of their first album; Mystic Places Of Dawn, with an additional treat of the The Temple Of The Lost Race EP added on as bonus tracks. It’s always interesting to hear a remastering of such classic, genre-defining albums as you can spend hours and countless play throughs noticing all the subtle parts that may have been a bit lost in translation in the original mixes. However, one has to be careful when messing with albums that are so fervently well loved by many, especially when the atmosphere is such an important factor in the overall feel, or you’ll just end up with something widely regarded along the same lines as St. Anger. You can figure that one out for yourselves…
The change in production is relatively subtle, only really noticeable in the clarity of the rhythm guitars, which are for more booming and powerful on this remastering. The lead guitars keep a very similar tone which manages to keep the same morbid and creepy atmosphere, especially during the many twin harmonies that appear throughout this album. It was clever of the producer not to alter the overall tone too much, but to just boost the clarity and volume of the mix so that it loses none of it’s original charm and yet highlight the more hidden aspects that one may have missed in the original recording.
If you haven’t heard the original album, or even Septicflesh at all, now then it is absolutely imperative that you get yourself a copy of this right this instant. Go on….. get on E-bay or Amazon or whatever and buy it. You can thank me later.
What I love about this album is the flawless juxtaposition of melodic Doom Metal and aggressive, Obituary-style Death Metal. In theory this doesn’t sound like it could ever work, but trust me when I say that it does. Just look at ‘The Underwater Garden’: from about three minutes in, you have sweeping piano for a few seconds and then brutal metal for the next few. This is a perfect example of how the whole album interweaves these two seemingly divergent genres. It’s quite incredible how they manage to make Doom Death Metal riffs and Death Doom Metal midsections sound so natural, never sounding forced or losing even a fraction of the atmosphere that they’re striving to create. Soaring guitar harmonies, professional structures and fantastically grim vocals throughout really give a sense of grandiose sublimity.
In short; this is an awesome album that definitely belongs in your collection if you’re a fan of either Doom or Death Metal. You’ll make allowances even if you only like one of them, as it is so masterfully written and artfully conjured.
You really need this album in your life.