Reviewed: June 2022
Released: 2022, Nuclear Blast Records
Reviewer: Kira Levine
“Anubis” is now fourteen years old, but it remains Greek dark metal band Septicflesh’s best-known song. Founded in 1990 and originally named Septic Flesh before splitting up in 2003 and reforming in 2007, the quintet are now on album number eleven, Modern Primitive. Vocalist/bassist Seth Siro Anton (who also takes care all of the band’s visual merchandising), his brother guitarist/orchestrator Christos Antoniou, clean vocalist/guitarist Sotiris Anunnaki V, guitarist Psychon, and drummer Kerim “Krimh” Lechner form the current lineup.
“The Collector“ and fourth track “Neuromancer” both begin acoustically, causing them to stand out from several of the others. The latter contains lyrics that resonate with the world today, while the former explores the usual ancient Egyptian themes that Septic are so fond of.
Sotiris’ clean singing on “Hierophant” promotes it to a stand-out track vocally. Other than this, riff-wise, the song is very reminiscent of Titan-era, namely the song “Burn”, additionally because of the spoken word parts.
The various voices heard throughout “Self Eater” communicate contrasting emotions, the child choir adding a touch of innocence to the often chaotic-yet-refined track.
Embracing their cinematic side, while retaining their metal style “Coming Storm” can be described as a combination of string and wind instruments clashing with riffs and racing drums. According to the lyrics, the song seems to reference not only a natural weather occurrence but also man-made disasters.
Catchy number “A Desert Throne” is uplifting and triumphant, but only if one disregards the lyrics which have the opposite effect. It could be linked to five-year-old “Faceless Queen”, and is probably the only instance here when a song echoes another only loosely.
The album title is pluralised for track seven, becoming “Modern Primitives”. This number inhibits all that is great about Septicflesh: their ability to effortlessly balance orchestral elements with death metal, singing delivered in unison with death growls and a gargantuan rhythm section.
Bringing a renewed heaviness back to Modern Primitive, “Psychohistory” demonstrates the sheer power of Septicflesh’s trinity of guitarists. However the lyrics in the repeated in the chorus ‘Psychohistory, the one you’ll never read’ bear some similarity to Codex Omega’s album closer, “Trinity”, which contains the closing lines ‘Trinity, the one possessed by three’.
By the time “A Dreadful Muse” arrives, the song is promising but the cliff-hanger ending just falls short of doing the job as the song exhibits nothing new. It is also worth mentioning that without the bonus instrumental tracks, Modern Primitive does end rather abruptly, so listeners would do well to acquire the limited edition version for the full experience.
Codex Omega is a tough act to follow, even for its creators. In terms of quality, their current effort falls slightly behind the 2017 record, paling in comparison while still being an above-average listen. It seems that Septicflesh have less to share this time around, since the latest (standard version) album is around 9 minutes shorter than the one before, and their briefest since Communion (2008). All in all, Modern Primitive is an enjoyable record, but will not stand out from SF’s recent back catalogue. Definitely one for the five-piece’s die-hard followers. Their music will also be of interest to fans of Behemoth, Fleshgod Apocalypse, and Rotting Christ.
Seth Siro Anton – vocals, bass
Christos Antoniou – guitar, orchestra
Sotiris Anunnaki V – clean vocals, guitar, 12-string guitar
Psychon – guitar
Kerim “Krimh” Lechner – drums
1. The Collector
3. Self Eater
5. Coming Storm
6. A Desert Throne
7. Modern Primitives
9. A Dreadful Muse