In their recent history, Greek Titans Septicflesh have solidified their stance as one of the most prolific extreme bands in the world. If you’ve heard their 2008 and 2011 releases, Communion and The Great Mass respectively, you know exactly what they’re about. 2014’s Titan, while not as favourable as the former two, followed this pattern with monumental succession.
If you’re a fan of Dimmu Borgir, Behemoth, Fleshgod Apocalypse, or all the above, you may proceed with their follow-up release: Codex Omega.
While Titan explored Greek mythology very thoroughly, Codex Omega takes us on a more diverse journey through themes of literature, history, anti-religion, and quite literally, perception of art.
The opening track and first single, based on and blatantly titled ‘Dante’s Inferno,’ acts as a gateway to the rest of the album with a devastating aural foreshadowing: This is a dark one, friends. The first part of Dante Alighieri‘s epic Divine Comedy depicts Hell in nine circles of suffering and damnation. ‘Dante’s Inferno’ captures this mood very well, and opens the listener’s ears to the other nine circles of Codex Omega.
The main title track ‘3rd Testament,’ like ‘Dante’s Inferno,’ reminds us that we as human beings are capable of imagining and depicting all kinds of extremely complex and graphic art forms, in music and in literature. This could well be the darkest thing I’ve heard from Septicflesh since ‘A Great Mass Of Death.’
While half of Codex Omega is very much guitar-based, Septicflesh continue with their trademark intricate orchestral arrangements, which are more pronounced and polished than ever. Particularly in ‘Portrait of a Headless Man,’ with very oriental elements mixed into the epic symphony, quite reminiscent of Christos Antoniou‘s work on Odious‘ 2015 album Skin Age.
Also among these dark elements is the mysterious ‘Martyr,’ an ode to the Greek mathematician and philosopher Hypatia of Alexandria. The song ‘Enemy of Truth’ is anything but dishonest, however there is a hint of deception in ‘Dark Art.’ Just when you think the album starts to slow down, the gentle piano intro ends almost as soon as it begins. ‘Faceless Queen’ will leave you faceless from the sheer intensity.
While ‘Our Church, Below the Sea’ makes me imagine being dragged to the bottomless, atmospheric deep at a fantastic speed with Sotiris Vayenas‘ chilling vocals articulating my doom, ‘The Gospels of Fear’ feels like I’m squared off against a formidable boss character. Most likely in the grotesque form of Alighiero (Dante’s father).
The melodic but powerful ‘Trinity’ brings Codex Omega to an end, and Septicflesh have once again ticked all the boxes and left nothing out of their trademark sound.
With dark art, dichotomy of religion, and allusions to featureless figures (i.e. headless man, faceless queen) thrown into the album’s themes, Septicflesh have put their very functional heads together to deliver more than just another musical masterpiece, but also a journey. If there was ever going to be the perfect soundtrack to a Third Bible, it’s Codex Omega.