Septicflesh – Modern Primitive (2022) – Review

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I said it before when we covered their ominous clip Hierophant a few months earlier. For some undefined reason, the old metal warriors of Septicflesh never quite made it onto the RMR review pipe. It’s not that their brand is bad Extreme Metal. It’s just inexplicable, and perhaps it’s also the awful stench of the mainstream that held the RMR reviewers back. Also, in today’s world of metallic abundance, one has the tendency to take freely from the bottomless underground. And – sometimes – we forget that even established bands still produce decent metal, too. And that’s a fact.

So, a repentant RMR finally picked up Modern Primitive, the latest concoction of a Greek Extreme Metal band that served its steely brethren since – 1990. And in truth, Septicflesh‘s latest concoction is a sturdy one. I couldn’t resist that blatant mix of Fleshgod Apocalypse and the fellow Greeks of Rotting Christ. It’s pretty impressive how this band serves you the stomp of Death Metal with some top-notch orchestration. In other words, this goes beyond the melodic into Symphonic Death Metal realms. All of that tastily blackened to a point, so that you never forget those devils in the background.

I’d reckon though that a goodly portion of the fanbase might take exception to the similarities of Modern Primitive to former records. To put not too fine a point on it, Septicflesh here plays the safe AC/DC card instead of showing that progressive streak. And both are fine strategies – to a point. In truth – this might still work this time. But in the not-so-distant future, the band will have to decide if stagnation or evolution should be the way forward. We’ll see, I guess.

That point out of the way, the RMR deckhands marveled at the outstanding production and pretty snazzy songwriting that these guys are capable of. Of course, once Jens Bogren gets involved in mixing and mastering, you can be quite sure of a pretty flawless piece. But even he will always be limited by the base material Septicflesh produces.

That even makes us forgive the band some of the simpler song structures, like on the aforementioned Hierophant. And whilst this might be so, it’s exactly those age-old tropes that will always make you look over your shoulders. Modern Primitive indeed wears those often blatant cinematic vibes like a terrible black cloak. And that sometimes increases tensions to horror-movie levels.

Let me also break a lance for those picture-perfect growls that are always present – true – but also never gripe. In addition, they always sit slightly atop the mix which is exactly where they need to be. And it’s interesting how the outstanding arrangement lets wailings, monologues, and clean or unclean vocals effortlessly coexist. That, when we all know that good songwriting is never easy and – for sure – not effortless.

The record boasts no weak track. And indeed, once Neuromancer hit our turntables, the review committee over here started to don their crash helmets. In other words, the record remains a bit on the weaker side for the first three tracks or so. But then, you’ll get an extremely strong mid-section with Coming Storm, A Desert Throne, and – yes – also Modern Primitive, the title track. And finally, the record peters out with a few ‘weaker’ tracks.

Ultimately, though, Modern Primitive is an extremely well-balanced record. It serves you with a boatload of nuances that Death and also Black Metal have on their menus. And that goes from decently blackened parts to brutal slamming death on other sections, to a combination of orchestral inclusions that rival the folks over at Epica in their proficiency. Heavy chugging guitars, vile growls, pummeling riffs, and symphonics to dream for. Not to forget those frequent incursions into the acoustic realm with contemporary and archaic instruments.

So, you suddenly find yourself with an Extreme Metal record that can proudly stand its ground. That it could be part of the dreaded mainstream or much of the same all over again, really is of no consequence this time. It’s just great, red-hot metal with an ominous Mediterranean twist. A cool record that the RMR crew will certainly be coming back to numerous times.

Record Rating: 8/10 | LabelNuclear Blast | Web: Official Band Site
Release Date: 20 May 2022

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