Septicflesh – Esoptron (Έσοπτρον)

1995 was a magical year for death doom if we think that it saw the release of real milestones such as My Dying Bride’s The Angel And The Dark River, Anathema’s The Silent Enigma and Paradise Lost’s Draconian Times. Esoptron is perhaps the album that, in the discography of Septic Flesh, comes closest to those sounds and it’s no coincidence that it was released in the same year, almost as if there had been, at the time, a favorable conjunction of stars for the genre. The occasion to talk about this wonderful album is given to us by its re-release, by Season Of Mist, characterized by the remastering of the tracks, by a new artwork (obviously by Seth) and by the presence of three bonus tracks. Although most of the critics do not consider it up to the level of both the debut Mystic Place Of Dawn of ’94 (also recently subject to restyling) and the subsequent Ophidian Wheel (’97), Esoptron is instead one of my favourite albums in the excellent discography of the Athenian band: The love for this work is motivated by the ability that Seth and Sotiris showed in stringing together, apparently with ridiculous ease, unforgettable harmonies that came to life in an almost sudden way, leaving the listener breathless. The surprising naturalness with which Sotiris created guitar lines of enormous emotional impact made the rather meagre production and some naivety (the baroque instrumental tracks and most of the final Narcissus) scattered throughout the tracklist take a back seat. The cavernous growl of Seth (at that time still credited with his real name, Spiros Antoniou) created the perfect dichotomy with the magical solos of Sotiris, as well as the rare accelerations (Rain) were followed by changes of rhythm marked by appropriate melodic openings. The prodromes of the experimental vein of a band that has never rested, during its career, on a comfortable sound canvas, were conveyed in a somewhat cumbersome way in the final, long Narcissus that however, despite the clean vocals and a development perhaps too ambitious, found its sublimation in the memorable final minute and a half. For those who missed a work of such value at the time of its release, this re-release can be an excellent opportunity to make it their own; for those who missed such a valuable work at the time of its release, this re-release can be an excellent opportunity to make it their own; I’m still holding tightly to the old original copy (released at the time by Holy Records), a precious testimony of a band that would give birth to other records of absolute level as Revolution DNA and Sumerian Daemons, before taking a pause for reflection and then restart with a tweak to the moniker (Septicflesh) and a decisive stylistic shift towards a songwriting with orchestral connotations that has yielded two excellent albums as Communion and The Great Mass.

2013 – Season Of Mist