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Septicflesh - Modern Primitive review

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Band: Septicflesh
Album: Modern Primitive
Release date: May 2022

01. The Collector
02. Hierophant
03. Self-Eater
04. Neuromancer
05. Coming Storm
06. A Desert Throne
07. Modern Primitives
08. Psychohistory
09. A Dreadful Muse
10. Salvation [digipak bonus]
11. The 14th Part [digipak bonus]
12. Coming Storm [orchestral version] [digipak bonus]

Modern Primitive is a Septicflesh album; it’s no less than that, but it’s not really much more than that either.

Considering the extent to which Septic Flesh evolved prior to breaking up, it’s intriguing how consistent the band have been since reforming and rebranding as Septicflesh. Ever since 2011’s The Great Mass, Septicflesh have entered a holding pattern, such that anyone can predict what a new record will entail, from the morbid figure in the centre of the monochrome artwork to the bombastic symphonic death metal that comprises the musical core of each album. As much as Seth Siro Anton’s artworks consistently underwhelm, Septicflesh’s music has remained at the head of the symphonic death metal pack. Given the dearth of competition in that subgenre outside of Fleshgod Apocalypse, they’re not going to be dethroned any time soon either; however, Modern Primitive isn’t going to take them to another level.

If you’ve heard any of the band’s last few records, Modern Primitive is going to feel intensely familiar to you, and that comes with both benefits and drawbacks. On the plus side, Septicflesh still have an ability to write orchestrations that are rivalled by few within metal, particularly more extreme forms. The string arrangements add a lot of drama and urgency throughout the record, which at times is necessary, because Septicflesh are prone to writing plodding riffs every now and then. Both of the first two tracks on the record, “The Collector” and “Hierophant”, lack a bit in terms of excitement early on; both up the ante as they progress, and as their ends draw near, there is a palpable sense of urgency, but it takes some time to get there.

It's a shame that Modern Primitive struggles to gather momentum early on, as, at 39 minutes (the band’s shortest since their comeback record Communion), it doesn’t have too much time to waste. Thankfully, it does hit its stride after this, with the trio of “Self-Eater”, “Neuromancer” and “Coming Storm” serving as the peak of the record. In particular, “Neuromancer” has an infectious central motif that delivers passion in spades, and the album’s longest song has the time to extract the most out of this motif as it progresses. In terms of immediacy, “Coming Storm” has an aggression and urgency to it that stands out against most of the tracklist, and this high-octane chaos makes a strong impression during initial playthroughs.

Unfortunately, after this trio, the album slowly loses steam across the remainder of its runtime. It’s not an immediate drop-off, as “A Desert Throne” has some memorable main melodies, there’s some nice strings in the title track, and the trumpet blasts during key moments of closing song “A Dreadful Muse” ensure that Modern Primitive retains some excitement up until its end. However, after hitting double figures with the number of replays I’ve given this album, I was expecting the tail end of the record to eventually make more of an impression than it ultimately has.

If you enjoy hearing Septicflesh play Septicflesh in the manner that they have for what’s now over a decade, Modern Primitive should scratch that itch. However, those hoping for more might feel a bit short-changed, as, with the exception of a couple of standout tracks in the middle, this album feels like Septicflesh doing what they’ve already done without necessarily improving on it.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 7
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 6
Production: 7

Written on 24.05.2022 by Hey chief let's talk why not


Comments: 6   Visited by: 175 users
25.05.2022 - 08:31
I have had 4 or 5 listens and it doesn't get me very pumped but I need to pay more attention to it because I haven't had a single careful listen; it was always in the background while I was doing something else and that doesn't really work. But I don't remember a single moment when it grabbed my attention from whatever it was that I was doing and that cannot be good. The symphonic element of Septicflesh is top notch; no other band comes even close, in my opinion. However, if you do the same style in every album, it is down to the songwriting to make each album stand out. It's not just that Communion was their first after rebranding; it was also by far the best in terms of songwriting.
25.05.2022 - 10:30
Rating: 9
Lord Slothrop

I like this release quite a lot, but I must admit that I've only heard (and own) a couple of their albums. Everything in your review might be true, but for my ears this is awesome.
25.05.2022 - 13:35
Rating: 7

Written by Lord Slothrop on 25.05.2022 at 10:30

I like this release quite a lot, but I must admit that I've only heard (and own) a couple of their albums. Everything in your review might be true, but for my ears this is awesome.

It's entirely possible you would dig this album just as much even if you'd heard everything since Communion; a lot of it will come down to just how much you vibe with their specific sound IMO. I do like them quite a bit, but I have been getting an increasing sense of diminishing returns with each album since The Great Mass that I might not have gotten if I was as enamoured with their style as I am with, say, what Amorphis have been doing for the past couple of decades
27.05.2022 - 19:55
Rating: 8

I think the best part of this album is the triad in the middle:
04. Neuromancer
05. Coming Storm
06. A Desert Throne
Life is all the pain we endeavour.
31.05.2022 - 22:36

I have been following the band since their early Greek years with a female singer and all these odd sounding instruments. To me The Great Mass remains the best of them all and I am quite sad to say that Modern Primitive sounds like a poor effort, most songs sound the same, I cannot make one from another, what went wrong here?? I'm not the kind to remember songs names yet I do with their former albums while this one sounds like one lengthy track... One good track, yet only one...
15.09.2022 - 11:45
Rating: 8

As compared to their last two albums this album is a little bit stale, but the slow songwriting (within death metal counterparts) and the symphonic elements do make this a winner.
Leeches everywhere.

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