Review Summary: Septicflesh nail their trademark formula perfectly, without adding anything new to the mix.
After 'Titan' left an unimpressive taste in the mouthes of fans, Septicflesh have now returned with 'Codex Omega', in attempt to wash that taste away with something more pleasant. In that perspective, the record fulfills its purpose with adroitness. With all the classical elements cranked up, subduing guitars at the ready and plentiful ammunition of harsh blastbeats, things soon transcend into grandiose proportions.
The atmosphere present throughout the record is conjured immediately, as the violins cloud over the listener and install a chaotic, yet flawlessly orchestrated feel to the record. With choirs echoing behind the surging guitars and burst-fire of the drums, a remarkably epic sound is materialized from the immensely talented band. The epic soundscape fabricated constantly morphs from sounding menacingly malevolent, to sounding truly magnificent and thought provoking. This is a sublime feature of the record, as it gives the listener small breaks from the instrumental annihilation, which in turn makes the chaos have more of an impact, highlighting the shifts from one mood to another.
Instrumentally, this record is exceptional. The guitarists demonstrate their capabilities to rapidly adapt to the ever-changing mood by forming crushing riffs, which amalgamate with those of a melodic structure. This is all fortified by the bass and drums, which act as an epoxy maintaining everything within its embrace, making sure the turmoil does not lead to a disorganized resonance. This varies from flurries of beats, to bruising blastbeats dealing swift, bruising strikes from the drums. The bass usually hides behind the guitars, which is disappointing as some extravagance could have been exhibited. As well as these instruments, a fair variety of classical instruments are featured, such as violins and pianos, which help form that epic soundscape. This is all perfected by the vocal performance, which serves as the highlight of the record. Menacingly hellish growls are disposed, as well as the occasional spell of operatic clean singing, supported by the backing choir making their intermittent appearance.
Aside from all this, comes the feeling that you've heard this before somewhere. This is due to the band squeezing whatever life they can out of a formula that's become noticeably stale. There is little variance from other records, apart from the fact that the production here is even better than before. Furthemore, this record does not really have any stand-out tracks rife with variation, so the whole record moulds together as one colossal slab of symphonic death metal, rather feeling like an album with plenty of curveballs.
Sadly this means that the record fails to stand out in the discography of Septicflesh, and proves to be just another skillfully constructed release from the band. While being enjoyable to listen to, this does not serve as anything that will make an impact on the extreme metal scene. Moreover, this may be one of the last records the band can set loose before they truly do sound stale, so vast changes will have to be made. So, Septicflesh prove they can still make a superlative record with 'Codex Omega', which will be one to attract fans of the band, and once again steer away those who dislike this metallic concoction. Time will only tell if Septicflesh can still sound great, or whether they will wither and die under a lack of creativity.