Review Summary: Septic Flesh prove their consistency.
It’s 1997. A year that will see Emperor release Anthems To The Welkin At Dusk and In Flames create possibly their greatest achievement to date in Whoracle. Despite these behemoth achievements by large names in the metal world, Septic Flesh’s reputation continued to grow in their Greek homeland, carving out an ever growing loyal fanbase. With the release of their third record, The Ophidian Wheel
, the band once again built on previous performances and incorporated new elements into their ever maturing sound; the introduction of Natalie Rassoulis’s operatic style vocals helped Septic Flesh increase the impact of their dark, often chilling atmosphere. While production qualities and confidence of instrumentation also increased, this is a record that would show this Greek outfit’s consistency, as well as their clear ability to rub shoulders with bigger names on the scene.
The Ophidian Wheel
is an improvement from previous records most notably in the sound quality of the recordings. The production has developed and captures the unique Septic Flesh sound flawlessly in each song. Particularly emphasizing the dual harmonies and chugging riffs of Christos and Sotiris, the two seem more focused than previously and their talents make the album as a whole an impressive slab of melodic proficiency. Seth’s characteristic guttural vocals steer the slower melodic passages along their spacey path and keeps the tone of the album rooted in the gloominess captured on previous releases. Sotiris Vayenas’ clean vocals play a bigger role than ever here and portray the more emotional side of the band; creating great sounding melodies and coalescing beautifully with the soprano tones of Natalie Rassoulis, their performances give The Ophidian wheel
great emotional depth while not distracting from the hostility the band exhibits.
New elements are also introduced to the sound Septic Flesh approach, making this an interesting venture that will appeal to those who enjoy the operatic style the band incorporates. Songs like “Tartarus” for example consists of only operatic chanting and wailing, briefly intertwined with a ballad-esque. Topped by typical Septic Flesh atmospherics, this is a track that will appeal to some, but not all. It does however show the band’s confidence in striving to make each record more diverse than the last. “Geometry In Static” and “The Future Belongs To The Brave” display some of the band’s best collective performances to date. The guitarists harmonize perfectly and devastatingly creating some of the best riffs of their careers, blast beats keep the riffs punishing and competent, confident display give the tracks their profundity, texture and emotion. Several neatly placed, immaculately executed solos also sound fantastic not only here, but throughout the album as a whole.
Overall, The Ophidian Wheel
marks the progression of Septic Flesh and their ability to create consistent atmospheric music different to anyone or anything else. An album that will give fans of the band a sense of the new direction the band would take from here on. Growing in terms of rudiments contained in their burgeoning sound, as well as dominating aggression and brutality, Septic Flesh were by now ready to unleash their monstrous creation to the world. With a strong following already behind them in Greece, it was only a matter of time before the secret escaped. A very solid record from a band on the verge of greatness.