Codex Omega - Septicflesh

Artist: Septicflesh

Album: Codex Omega

Genre: Extreme Metal

Release Date: 1st September 2017

Review by Jackson Price

The latest release from grim symphonic overlords Septicflesh will be the most indulgent and decadent heavy offering we will see over 2017. Codex Omega is the 10th album from the band and a huge follow up to their 2014 album Titan. With a massive blend of symphonic melodies, precision drumming, tinges of industrial, guttural vocals, crushing guitars, beautiful clean sections and a nicely polished production and mixing that makes for an incredibly immaculate and big sounding final product.

The album opens in epic style with 'Dante’s Inferno'. The track begins with a building piano riff and a string section that joins in before the motif breaks into a full death metal band-meets-symphony collaboration that sends the song soaring into the brutal yet beautiful style that Septicflesh have built themselves upon. The band has always made their vision and direction very clear, and while there have been some weaker moments over the years, Codex Omega is by far one of, if not the most complete album they have released from start to finish.

The record works to a very prominent yet malleable formula throughout the whole track listing, however I do not hear this as a weak point in the album nor does it become repetitive. It shows a band that has already put in the time to experiment with sounds and ideas in the past and now has a more clear cut vision than they ever had before. You can tell they have strived to be heavier, more aggressive and bigger than ever but there is an obvious effort to keep the tracks diverse and create space for the use of symphonic passages, whether it be accompanying or creating contrast. 'Portrait of a Headless Man' and 'Dark Art' are two perfect examples of the band showing off their whole bag of tricks, while '3rd Testament' reveals a more straight forward angry chugfest. 'Faceless Queen' moves in the opposite direction with most of the song pinioning from an orchestral score and the band portion of the sound works more as a highlight.

It’s difficult to pick a stand out song on this album as the whole thing almost flows like one piece of music. But if I had to, apart from some of the tracks I have mentioned already I would say personal favourites would be 'Enemy of Truth' and 'The Gospels of Fear'. 'Enemy of Truth' offers up so much of what makes Codex Omega great, with the added bonus of even throwing a choir into the mix making it not just a very dark and brooding song but also showing some of the most dynamic and epic moments of the album. On the other hand 'The Gospels of Fear' is a pummeling heavily riff driven song. This is one of the songs off the album I am really hanging out to see live. It just has that feel and conviction that could have a strong impact on a crowd, really get people moving and fill a room type of thing.

Some long time fans may notice a slightly faster and more energetic feel to this new album in comparison to other works from the group over the years, and this is something I would attribute partly to drummer Kerim “Krimh” Lechner joining the band in the time since the last album. If the name sounds familiar to you there’s no need to second guess yourself. On top of having a substantial social media following, Krimh was also the guy behind the drums on Decapitated’s Carnival Is Forever, he has filled in for Behemoth on tours while their full-time drummer was undergoing surgery and when Slipknot was in search of a replacement after parting ways with Joey Jordison, Krimh uploaded a number of covers that gained a great deal of support and attention from Death Metal and Slipknot fans alike. With this sort of resume it’s really not surprising that the drums feel like they are playing a bigger role than they have in Septicflesh’s past.

Codex Omega doesn’t so much feel like a giant step up for Septicflesh as much as it feels like they have found themselves on the path they have been searching for over the last few albums. And it sounds like it is written and recorded by a band that went in knowing what they wanted while also having the skills and knowledge to achieve it. I would strongly recommend this one for those who have found it difficult to get into the band on prior releases, just as much as I would also recommend it for those that have been following the band for a long time. The fact that we now find ourselves in the later months of the year, I am confidently going to add I will be very surprised if this doesn’t make more than a few of people’s top 10 metal albums of 2017.

9.5 out of 10.

Codex Omega is out now.

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