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Sunday, 6 July 2014

Reviews: Septicflesh, Divine Chaos, Fire Red Empress

Septicflesh: Titan (Seasons Of Mist)

Greek symphonic death metal legends Septicflesh (formerly Septic Flesh) have once again released another heavyweight symphonic metal album full of their traditional orchestral metal flair. The blast beats of Fotis Benardo kick off things in true to form style with the guitars of Christos Antoniou and Sotiris Anunnaki V driving things with their death/black metal aggressive speed riffing that brings to mind Dimmu Borgir and when the vocals of bassist Seth Siro Anton start to growl like a demon you get more of a sense that the band are very Dimmu-like. What sets them apart from a lot of the bands of their ilk, is that much like their Norwegian counterparts they have managed to incorporate orchestrations seamlessly over the top of their death metal assault. This album is relentless with the blast beats coming thick and fast the guitars just shredding like hell and the mix of guttural vocals and haunting clean vocals work well on Burn which slows in the middle for a huge guitar solo bolstered by strings. Like I said with many other bands this oppressive rampaging black metal could get a little tiring but with the perfectly executed orchestrations and symphonic elements it means that much like tour mates Fleshgod Apocalypse, Septicflesh hold your attention with the string ensembles, choirs and general cinematic feel of each track, despite doing this for longer than the italian whippersanppers! This much like countrymen Rotting Christ is the heavy side of Greek metal, it is anti-religion, anti-politics and generally angry and violently music that is bolstered by its symphonic elements. This is an album to be played on a stereo very loudly, or indeed in a live arena, the soundtrack to a (probably Sci-Fi) film yet to be made and with the industrial crush of Dogma, or the doom-like Prometheus (which is as jarring as the film of the same name) Great stuff from Septicflesh, a band for whom all this is all par for the course actually. 8/10 

Divine Chaos: A New Dawn In The Age Of War (Evil EyE records)

Now some death/thrash metal from deepest, darkest...Berkshire, yes with swirling maelstrom riffs, battery drumming and some screamed death vocals, Divine Chaos explode onto the scene with an album full of technically proficient, neck snapping, hair whipping death metal with a lot of old school thrash metal of Testament, Exodus and Death thrown in for good measure which mix together to create another entry into the modern wave of melodic death metal. With songs about war, politics and violence this is the standard death/thrash fodder lyrically, but all delivered with a snarling venom from Benny who is backed by the guitars of Gilmour and Chris O'Toole who are awesome with riff after riff, solo after solo trying to melt your face off with their six string assault. This is all while Tom Baker (no not that one) and James Stewart (no not that one) have the rhythm section to destroy buildings with, see Shadow Of God which is fuelled by hatred and blast beats. this album is relentless with furious labs of melodic death hitting you at every turn until Ignorance Everlasting sets out with a clean melodic lead intro before getting heavier and the main riff kicks in with more pit inciting metal. This is a hell of a record full of the kind of metal Testament, Dark Angel and Kreator play with punishing riffs, snarling vocals and some great songs that are brutal, heavy, fast and most of all technically perfect. The proficiency is through the roof with all the band members showing their chops on the final track Perpetual War Politics which is fast and furious before breaking down into an acoustic middle section that continues until the final moments all very Bloodshot Dawn indeed! A great debut from this British metal band who should rip apart a venue near you soon!! 8/10      

Fire Red Empress: Paint Me The Devil (Self Release)

Ooh this is a bit tasty!! The initial words I said as the riff for Left Unspoken kicked in with a vengeance bringing some big American stoner riffs, a heaving slab of Southern rock, some modern melody and a pinch of British punk. Imagine the Royal Republic & Black Stone Cherry playing with the Black Spiders and you wouldn't be far off. There are dual muscular guitars from Carl and Paul Gethin, the driving bass of Ben Picken, the drums of Luke Middleton keep you fist pumping and Nik Taylor-Stoakes' (formerly of Vallenbrosa) great ragged vocals. For a band that have not been around long they have a serious amount of talent, big ballsy rock riffs permeate the three tracks and gives you an instant kick of excitement with their hard rocking riffs. On these three tracks Fire Red Empress give you everything with Left Unspoken and the title track doing the best in the rockier stakes, full of big guitar riffs that Mastodon and indeed the Black Spiders bring to the table. Before Behind The Veil going all Soundgarden with its long slow grinding guitar and almost psychedelic trippy vibe with its huge throbbing guitars. A nice taster for (hopefully!) their debut album, more please gentlemen!! 8/10

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