After two stunning initial albums, Septic Flesh had built quite a solid reputation of creating excellent music, albeit sometimes with a tad too much of their orchestral approach. Then, however, I only heard a few tracks from their "DNA" album...which let me down so much that I couldn't possibly bring myself to buy it. For all I cared, Septic Flesh had become one of those bands that started off good and somehow got lost in musical areas unappreciated by yours truly. Like Paradise Lost and The Kovenant, they had grown in directions I could not follow. My loss.

The beauty of p2p is that is recently enabled me to give the band another shot by downloading their latest, "Sumerian Daemons". Upon listening to the tracks, I was glad to discover that they had returned to their heavier roots, which resulted in a more or less prompt purchase. I would very much have liked to use the next few paragraphs to highlight the legitimate 'illegal' use of p2p networks, as well as the fact that I think the RIAA is the stupidest rich organisation on earth, but I won't. Instead I intend to get right down to the review.

"Sumerian Daemons" kicks off with the bombastic, classical-like intro, "Behold...The Land of Promise", after which comes the excellently heavy "Unbeliever". Further tracks run the gamut from slow melody ("Virtues of the Beast" and "When All Is None") to classic Septic Flesh ("Faust","Sumerian Daemon" and "Red Code Cult"). There's some tasteful and rather haunting female vocalising, especially in "Dark River" and "Magic Loves Infinity". Only two tracks show some weakness in my opinion, these being "Mechanical Babylon" and "Shapeshifter", both of which feature a few too many industrial elements to my taste.

On the whole, there's a lot of deep grunting with some of the old classic Septic Flesh influences. There is a lot of melodic guitar work going on in the background, and the bass guitar is quite prevalent in the mix. Some of the song intros lend them a bit of a 'gothic' touch, but thankfully not too blatantly. To top it all off, there's a beautifully produced booklet.

This is the CD I had hoped for after "Ophidian Wheel".

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Written August 2003


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