Friday, December 16, 2011

12 Days of Christmetal: The Great Mass - Septicflesh - 2011

I just got Septicflesh's The Great Mass this week and I may well have played it to death over the course of the day today. Friday mornings are quiet at our office and for the few that come in early, we usually enjoy some coffee, conversation and, on occasion, crank up a little rock to start the day. This morning I popped in The Great Mass, unleashed "The Vampire from Nazareth" and the Sales Manager standing across from my desk could respond only with "That's fucking epic." We quickly agreed that music on this scale is best suited for riding large horses in slow motion through frosty, haunted forests, cloaked in animal skins with a battle axe in one hand and an unconscious maiden draped across the saddle.

It sure as hell beats scanning timeclock records for missed punches.

Researching Septicflesh I keep seeing the term "grindcore." I guess I know what that means but I would just go with the more cumbersome "operatic, symphonic power-death with melodic and gothic undertones - that also fucking rocks." The Great Mass lives up to its name and feels like a lengthy religious experience of the darkest variety. It almost teeters on the verge of the ridiculous and seems to take itself a mite too seriously but maintains such an intensity that, like any good sword and sorcery epic, the listener is able to suspend disbelief for forty-five minutes and simply immerse one's self in the most theatrical of heavy metal majesty.

"The Vampire from Nazareth" is likely the album's apex but the remainder is forged from the same elements and it all delivers the goods in a similar vein. I will say that, again, like a great cult flick, repeated listens (at least eleven spins since 6:30 this morning), have already led me to take The Great Mass for granted and I find myself anticipating the "good" parts of which, thankfully, there are many. For its many layers, though, there is a certain depth lacking and I suspect very little potential for historical merit, sustained satisfaction and highbrow dissection apart from the initial sensory assault but, oh, how wonderful an assault it is. Much like my recent infatuation with Powerwolf, I dig this kind of endorphin rush to the degree that I'll likely dig deep and order up a few  backcatalogue items from Septicflesh. After all, I may go on and on about the merits of Bergman or Kubrick in conversation but, when it comes down to a Saturday night on the couch, nine times out of ten it's Conan, Krull and company that make it onto the screen.

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