DVD REVIEW: SEPTICFLESH – “Infernus Sinfonica MMXIX”
Greece based extreme dark symphonic metal group Septicflesh have been one of my personal favourites for years. Septicflesh is one of those rare bands that get exponentially better at what they do with every new release. The band is well renowned for their brilliant compositions combining extreme metal and extreme symphonic and orchestral arrangements. The resulting music is nothing short of something out of this world. It is the dark rawness and extremities of music and individual instrumental timbres coming out of metal and orchestral performance that makes Septicflesh truly remarkable. When the best of the band’s music comes together in concert, it is a given that the experience would be truly wild. But what I had my hands on recently is a truly wild experience from the comfort of your home. The Septicflesh live DVD ‘Infernus Sinfonica MMXIX’ is a concert DVD filmed live at the Metropolitan Theater, Mexico featuring a full-sized orchestra with over a hundred musicians on stage. Could you imagine the insanity? Nothing would prepare me for what I would experience watching this concert, and I imagine, the only thing that could ever better this would be living the concert in the flesh at Mexico if I could travel back in time.
Where do I even begin? The first jaw-dropping impression is the sound quality. The mix is absolutely beautiful and impeccably balanced. The stereo spacing of the band and the orchestra is exactly how you view them on stage with the finest sonic nuances sounding beautifully clear and massive. While every song was nothing short of sheer bliss and mind-numbing madness, I felt my heart skip a beat when “Prometheus” on stage. Personally I thought this was one of those cathartic highlights that act as both musical emancipations for the soul, which at the same time is visually stunning. The whole orchestra comes together for this one including a children’s choir. The choirs are haunting, the strings massive, the brass sections truly brutal. The base is, of course, the band’s tight and brilliant performance. The energy of the performance is put into perspective thanks to the energy and the response of the crowd driven by Seth Siro Anton’s awesome stage presence. The performances of “Persepolis”, “The Vampire from Nazareth”, “The Great Mass” and “Martyr” and “Dark Art” are nothing short of breathtaking. I could never imagine even in my wildest dreams that these songs could ever be bettered and that too in a live context. One performance that really stood out is of “Anubis”. This performance was quite the show with the whole audience singing the main melody on Seth’s cue and all of this added to the already massive and remarkably beautiful aesthetic of the song.
Among the many interesting things that go on throughout the concert, I couldn’t help noticing that Kerim Lechner actually played the drums so hard that he played through a broken cymbal and it seemed like he may have slightly altered his set up in between songs. A truly talented musician of mind-blowing proportions. Need I say that he absolutely drove the show nuts with his mad drumming chops and mesmerising blasts? The demanding standards of such a concert wonderfully demonstrate the musicianship of the entire band and the orchestra on stage. The guitars performed by Christos Antoniou and Dinos “Psychon” Prassas were nothing short of fantastic performances bringing to life the stunning work one hears on the band’s studio albums. Playing with a full-sized orchestra really brings to life Christos Antoniou’s prowess at orchestration and musical arrangements. The topping of all these haunting yet stunning elements are the clean vocals of Sotiris Vayenas, which added such a dark yet comforting vibe to the entire performance exactly as it is heard and felt in the studio albums.
‘Infernus Sinfonica MMXIX’ should not be missed under any circumstances. A true musical extravaganza and treat, the whole concert is nothing short of epic. Apart from being a sonic treat, the visuals are a real treat. The editing of the camera work, the post-production and colour grade are really well put together reproducing the colours and capturing the real vibes of a live concert experience. The visual experience is authentic, none of that pretence of a “cinematic look”. The real cinematic experience lies in the sound and performance of Septicflesh with the orchestra on stage. To call ‘Infernus Sinfonica MMXIX’ as a cinematic experience is, in reality, quite the understatement. Sitting here at home, I cannot help but envy my fellow music patrons and metalheads from Mexico who had the chance to experience this concert in the flesh, but above all, I am quite thankful that the rest of us will get to experience Septicflesh with a full live orchestra as a live concert DVD so remarkably put together that it actually does justice to the actual performance. Do not miss this.