Septicflesh - Sumerian Daemons
Hammerheart Records
Atmospheric Death/Dark Metal
13 songs (56:10)
Release year: 2003
Septicflesh, Hammerheart Records
Reviewed by Crims

Listening to Sumerian Dreams for the first time I was expecting Revolution DNA part two. Thus, I was ready to sit back and enjoy some dark atmospheric melodies, with some growled vocals and some clean vocals, and mixed with occasional keyboard/sample work and mostly mid-paced, majestic song structures. Instead I was bludgeoned over the head with crushing riffs, aggressive drumming, and sinister vocals. What the hell happened?

Of course, Greece’s Septic Flesh didn’t always sound like they did on Revolution DNA, but those style of songs were still present on most of their older work, however, I was not expecting Septic Flesh to return to their more aggressive roots and then some. Usually when a band exchanges brutality for atmosphere (look at Amorphis or any number of Doom/Death band) they stay that way. This is obviously not the case with Septic Flesh. Even though the first real track, Unbeliever is a very cool song that comprises of the aforementioned brutal aspects with the now commonplace keyboards of Septic Flesh, the rest of the CD goes back and forth between song styles. I think this might be one of the most varied CD’s I’ve listened to in the last little while. Mixed with the more brutal songs, we have songs that are very similar to the past style of the band such as Dark River and Infernal Sun. Then we have songs that mix the old style, with more aggressive sections (which might include fast double bass or a crushing riff break) such as on The Watchers and Virtues Of The Beast. Septic Flesh goes from style to style almost seamlessly and never loses a step, as every song flows very well.

Obviously there will be some of you new Septic Flesh, so what can one expect? Well, in my opinion Septic Flesh has been one of the most original sounding bands around in the last couple of years. They have such a unique atmosphere and feel to their music that is made possible by strangely catchy and melodic “dark” leads; multiple vocal styles; spacey, evil keyboards; and unique song writing. The keys aren’t evil for evil’s sake either; they just give off that atmosphere because they are incredibly haunting. Are all those elements present on this new CD though (after all, these elements are what made Septic Flesh, Septic Flesh in the first place)? The answer is yes and no. And herein lies the potential low points. Those dark leads aren’t present on all the songs and the clean male vocals are now completely gone. In my opinion this was a big mistake. The clean vocals added a ton of atmosphere and texture to the sound of the band and now they’ve been dispersed with. The growled vocals are now more sinister and deeper, and while it definitely fits with the more aggressive sound of the band on a couple of tracks, they are now a tad more generic than they used to be. This isn’t a cookie-cutter style or anything like that, but they’ve lost some of the character they once had. Thankfully the operatic back ground vocals are still present in most of the mid-paced (Revolution DNA style) songs, and while it’s nothing new, they sound very unique and well placed behind the heavy sound of the band. As one might guess, the production has been beefed up a couple of notches. The drums are very powerful (the double bass sounds really good) and the guitars in general are louder and heavier than they ever were before. This new production sound kind of gives the band a slightly different feel, even on the songs that have a similar style to the older material.

Once again, Septic Flesh has released a brilliant CD. It’s not as original as Revolution DNA or even Ophidian Wheel, but the band is still in a league of their own. Old fans of the band will like a lot of the tracks on here, but those of you who swear by Revolution DNA might be disappointed by the more aggressive approach on about half of the CD. While it’s great to hear the band continue to evolve by combining new elements and tried and true song writing, I did miss a lot of the shear originality that was present on Revolution DNA and this CD isn’t instantly catchy as some of their older work. Despite the very few faults, mostly present because of what the band has done in the past, I thoroughly enjoyed Sumerian Daemons and it shall be listened to many times in the future, just because it has a lot to offer.

Killing Songs :
Unbeliever, Virtues Of The Beast, When All Is Done, Dark River, Magic Loves Infinity, Infernal Sun, The Watchers
Crims quoted 89 / 100
Other albums by Septicflesh that we have reviewed:
Septicflesh - Esoptron (reissue) reviewed by Jared and quoted 60 / 100
Septicflesh - Ophidian Wheel reviewed by Mountainman and quoted 95 / 100
Septicflesh - The Great Mass reviewed by Goat and quoted 90 / 100
Septicflesh - Communion reviewed by Goat and quoted 88 / 100
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