Septic Flesh, from Athens, Greece, is a death metal band that has gone through a few genre changes. With their latest releases of Communion and now The Great Mass, their unique symphonic death metal is making waves. Tim and myself had the pleasure of a post-performance interview with Christos Antoniou after their final show here in the United States.
Tim: For some people who may not know who you are, what part do you play?
I play guitar and I made all of the orchestra parts for Septic Flesh.
Tim: This interview is after your performance, how do you guys think tonights show went?
I think it was really great. Although you know it was the last show of the tour, we are a little bit tired because we had many shows, but we give a lot of energy and I think the crowd really liked it.
Tim: [laughs] I know we were!
Derek: As part of the crowd I can definitely agree.
Tim: So this was the Ugly World Tour with Children of Bodom, Devin Townsend, and Obscura, obviously range of different genres of bands playing tonight. How has the tour gone so far, obviously you’re at the end of it now. Do you feel like you have gained a lot of fans, a lot of different fans that normally don’t listen to your kind of music?
Yes. Although you know, we don’t have the same fans like Children of Bodom or Devin Townsend, it’s a mix of fans, but this is our third time here in the USA and I think we develop our style and the fans really like it. We play a peculiar death metal, symphonic death metal. I think we have to make a breakthrough in the USA with the new album. I can see from the reaction from the press and the fans that they really appreciate the new album.
Derek: Yes, a very diverse crowd tonight with so many different genres, and I can vouch for the crowd they definitely enjoyed Septic Flesh.
The task is to win the crowd. I think we managed to do that the whole tour. I can see from the merch sales and the CDs that it has been really great.
Tim: Merch sales, we stopped by, we definitely got some of that. Now on the past work before you guys came back with Communion and obviously The Great Mass you had a much more different sound. Now you have the much more powerful symphonic death metal sound. Is Septic Flesh comfortable where they are now? Are you thinking of changing the sound again?
I think after Communion, which is our second phase of the band, this blend with the orchestra and metal really works for us. We have this luxury that I have studied classical music. We don’t have to hire someone to orchestrate or to compose. I think this is our biggest weapon. When a team wins, you can not change. We will develop our style, we will make some new experiments for the new album but we will not definitely change the orchestra parts.
Derek: Yeah that is a very unique sound. Some bands might sound similar, but especially the symphonic music, it really stands out.
I think it is not only for Septic Flesh music, but it’s my opinion we give a new breathe to symphonic idiom. The orchestra parts for us are the most distinctive part of our composition, it is unique for us.
Tim: I don’t know if you’ve taken a look at our site because we are kind of small, Thrashmag.com, but one of our co-owners actually reviewed The Great Mass, gave it nearly a perfect score, and said right on the spot this will be album of the year. I kind of have to agree with that. There has been a lot that has come out since, but I’m pretty sure you guys are still on top. Have a ways to go till the end of the year, but definitely a top five for me.[Laughs]
Tim: Now with The Great Mass, the artwork is fantastic. We read about Seth designing it himself, and there is some sort of concept behind it?
It is not a concept album, but Seth created a balance and proportion between the God and the human. We are God of ourselves, we eat our-self, our God with our weakness, with our strength, this kind of stuff. I think the cover describes perfectly this meaning. The statue, below is all the religions and the human that eats his flesh.
Tim: There are plenty of moments that symphonic and classical music really make that epic feeling that are similar to what you hear in movies, videogames, etc. Have you guys ever pondered on writing a score for either? Similar to when Mastodon wrote a score for the movie Jonah Hex if you’ve heard of it.
No, Mastodon did that?
Derek: Yes, there has been a lot of chatter that some moments like the orchestra of “The Vampire from Nazareth“, has that feeling like it should be used in a movie score.
We are all fans of soundtracks, this you can hear our music has this film score feel. We would be grateful if we had a chance to score for a film or a video game. We would do it definitely. Our music can fit very well in a score.
Derek: That would be something to hear.
Much more than Mastodon?
Tim: Well Jonah Hex was kind of a shit movie.
The music though!
Tim: The music was great! Back with the orchestra and choir, recently Dimmu Borgir from Norway, they performed live for one show with an orchestra and choir. Have you guys ever thought of doing one show with Prague Philharmonic Orchestra?
We have enough with Prague to make a special show, one show, in Athens. I need to mention something though, it’s a very difficult project. It will need a lot of rehearsal, needs a lot of money, needs a big hall. We are looking for work to do the show, it will definitely be unique. It’s only talks now, you know. We’ll have to see how we’ll go.
Tim: So you’re interested?
Tim: Now how much of the material from The Great Mass have you performed live, and is there a certain track that is your favorite to play live?
I would say “The Vampire from Nazareth“, it is my favorite to perform live. It has the melodic elements, we have also the symphonic parts, the choir, the soprano, this is one of my favorites. This tour we perform about half of the album. We’ve done “The Vampire from Nazareth“, “A Great Mass of Death“, “Pyramid God“, and “Five-Pointed Star“.
Tim: Is there a track from The Great Mass that you’ve yet to perform live that you would really like to?
There are two tracks that we would like to perform. One is “Apocalypse“, and the other “Therianthropy“.
Tim: Oh good, “Therianthropy” is my favorite one off the album!
Derek: That seems to be one of the more popular tracks off The Great Mass.
Yeah, but you know it is difficult because Sotiris is absent due to his work in Greece. We might do it only in Greece, because Sotiris has a vital part in “Therianthropy” and it’s not easy to playback his voice.
Derek: A lot of bands will playback tracks live, and it might sound good but it’s the experience of the person actually there on stage. It adds a lot to the show.
Tim: Now do you guys already have a plan laid out as to how long you would like to tour until you will start working on the next album?
No, we just released the new album, but we do have a huge tour coming up in Europe in October with Amon Amarth and As I Lay Dying. This will be really great for us.
Derek: That is a line up that I saw and I was really jealous that I am here in the US.[Laughs] Yes, and then we might come back (US) in March for some headline shows with other bands. I think we will co-headline with another band. There are plans, there are plans for it but the most important is the Amon Amarth tour in October in Europe.
Tim: Amon Amarth has a very strong fan base, I’m sure there will be a big turnout and they will love Septic Flesh. Now I don’t have anymore questions unless you want to tell us your favorite Pepsi or Coke but that’s just bullshit. Would you like to add anything for the record before you take off tonight?
I want to say that The Great Mass for us is our most mature work, is our best work, and again I say for the orchestra that it is a major tool in our music. We don’t use the orchestra conventionally, we use it unconventional. We built everything in the orchestra, and I think we will continue in this path.
Tim: Awesome, I’m glad to hear it.
Derek: We’ll let you get back to it then!
Thanks, thank you for the interview.