SEPTICFLESH – Our fans played a big part in the decision to re-unite
Greske Septicflesh løste seg selv opp i 2003 etter at de ga ut sitt åttende album (+ en EP) men fant i 2007 ut at de ville prøve seg igjen. Resultatet ble et banebrytende album som de har kalt "Communion" der de blander extreme metal med det symfoniske i form av et helt symfoniorkester. Hvordan resultatet ble kan du selv sjekke ut ved å høre på skiva eller du kan lese her hva bandets gitarist Sotiris Vayenas sier om skiva, bruddet og reunionen.
Why did you decide to split Septicflesh in October 2003?
We felt the need for a change, try out different paths and shift the focus of our lives away from Septicflesh. We had to grow as individuals. The time was ripe for a change after we released 'Sumerian Daemons'. At the same time, we were also in some conflicts with our previous label. We very much felt, that we did not get what we deserved in every respect. On top of this, there were divergent opinions about our future course. We did not find an agreement within the band on our musical direction. In Septicflesh, everybody is needed with no one being left behind. In the end, we all decided it was better to call it a day and try out something different.
What got you started onto the path leading to the reunion of Septicflesh?
"We were away for so long. Septicflesh had been a part of our lives for so many years before we decided to split. When we lost this communion, we started to feel emptiness inside of us. We started to fill those holes in our souls with other projects and we were quite successful in doing those. Seth continued his career as an artist, Christos designed artwork for video-games and we all were involved in musical projects as well."
Why did you not simply continue with your other projects?
"Whatever we did, it was not the same as being a part of Septicflesh. There is some kind of magic in our band. This spell can only be conjured up, when we all get together. There is a special chemistry when we are all involved in making music. Then the special atmosphere of our songs will appear. Septicflesh is more than the sum of its parts."
What made you finally decide to bring back Septicflesh?
"The people following the band have always been very important to us. Our fans never gave up on Septicflesh. They wrote countless letters and e-mails or talked to us, continually asking for the band to return. We felt obliged to give them at least something in return. Our fans played a big part in the decision to re-unite."
Who took the first step towards a reunion?
"The other three members of the band are much closer as they live in the same town. In fact, Seth and Christos are brothers and they even have apartments in the same building. They started discussing a possible reunion among each other first. All the while, I never stopped composing songs as I enjoy doing that. After all, it was just one call with Seth on the line, who told me that they wanted me to come back and start Septicflesh again. I felt strangely touched and very happy at the same time as I had always been sad about the band splitting up."
Was it easy to get back on track?
"We had a lot of discussions at first. There had been good reasons for calling it a day and now we needed even better reasons to return. Therefore, we talked about our musical direction and all the basic matters for a band to exist and work together. When we discovered that there was a lot of common ground between us, we felt we could deliver to our audience, what they deserved. "Communion" is the very proof of that and the first reactions are overwhelming. We found the right reasons and did the right thing to come back."
"Communion" sounds like the members of Septicflesh have combined all of their long musical experience to shape a new and a t the same time classic sound.
"Indeed we have worked like a musical distillery, which resembles very much the process of creating a great whisky. All the unrefined elements were filtered out and only the best ingredients used. We tried many different ways with our own projects and had all the experimenting done before. Now we knew exactly where we stood and what we had to do. This album is band effort with every one of us contributing."
Does that include drummer Fotis Benardo, who was a late addition to the band in 2003?
"Yes, Fotis helped us a lot with his good spirit. He is a catalyst for Septicflesh adding a new and exciting factor with a lot of ideas not only regarding his drumming but also the melodies."
With its many details and well worked out structures "Communion" sounds like a lot of work.
"Every song was an effort, but one well worth all the work. We tried out many different versions until we were fully satisfied. We were all using our home studios to eliminate any weakness we could find. Christos has been focusing on classical orchestration in all those years, so he came up with countless ideas regarding specific instruments for certain passages or even just moments. We were conscious about every little detail and worked them all out to the last second."
The orchestration on this album is simply stunning – a dream come true?
"At last we were able to use a full orchestra, which was an ambition we had right from the beginning. Just listen to 'Mythos' on our 1994 debut-album 'Mystic Places of Dawn' were you can already hear us adding classical elements. With a full orchestra and a big choir, we achieved a rich sound that can never be done in an electronic way. Combined with the straight-in-your-face-guitars this gives a very powerful expression. Strange enough some of the blackest moments on 'Communion' are coming from the orchestra."
There are some very heavy moments on "Communion", would you agree?
"We discussed that from day one to have extreme metal parts in our music as we have not gone all old and soft these days. There was still a desire and need for raw energy within us. Septicflesh expresses all kinds of emotions that are inside of us and those are definitely not all quite ones. Sometimes I am scared shitless by what comes out of us, when we create music."
On the lyrical side, Septicflesh seems to have had a tendency towards big concepts in the past. Did this trend continue?
"While 'Communion' is not a driven by one concept alone as I had far too many ideas to fit into a single theme, there are certain elements reappearing and a red threat is running through the whole album. Out of our past comes a continuation of occult references and I kept the general mood of our lyrical background. There are glimpses into the ancient times again and I refer to powerful entities that have influenced mankind just as Lucifer gave light to humanity."
How does the album-title "Communion" fit into these themes?
"Apart from the new-found communion between members of this band, 'Communion' hints at the interaction in the presence of non-human-beings. This involves strange and sometimes frightening feelings. Some call these entities demons others think of them as divine creatures, while others think of aliens. In my mind, all of this means the same phenomenon. The individuals are projecting their own believes into the experience.
Are all the songs dealing with the supernatural world?
"Not all of our songs are going so deep. Sometimes we just tell a tale that originates in the history and myths from the ancient and rich culture of our homeland Greece. I have also included a tribute to my favourite writer H.P. Lovecraft with the song 'Lovecraft's Death' on this album. A song like 'Sunlight/Moonlight' reflects personal experiences as well. At the same time, I always try to leave a lot of open space for the listeners to fill with their own interpretations. I do not wish to engrave my own ideas into their minds. They should be able to find their own way into the lyrics if they wish to do so."
Why are Septicflesh returning to life immediately with an extensive tour through all of Europe?
"As the people demanded us back on stage, we are giving them a chance to see us live after so many years of absence. We are going to celebrate our return with our audience instead of just putting out an album for them. This tour is pushing our limits. When a band is doing too many dates, the people involved are starting to go on each other's nerves. On the other side, there will be many precious moments when we meet interesting people on the road. That will help us against the exhaustion. We depend on our friends to keep us from getting tired."
Is "Communion" and the tour a return for just once or will Septicflesh be back for good?
"We died once; we do not want to die again. Septicflesh are back for good, we are all as sure of that as is humanly possible. This is why we took our time and spend hours of discussions. As long as we are wanted, we will continue with this band from now on. That is a promise!"
Word by Word – "Communion" commented by Sotiris Vayenas and Christos Antoniou:
Sotiris V.: "With Strange Aeons Even Death May Die."
Chris Antoniou: "This is one of the darkest songs in the history of Septicflesh."
Sotiris V.: "A mystagogy with a sweet yet melancholic melody and a chorus as powerful as an Egyptian chant."
Chris Antoniou: "A song that starts deviously calm and gradually grows into a climax of strong emotions."
Sotiris V.: "A hymn to Those That Have Risen and their children."
Chris Antoniou: "A bombastic song with intense orchestration, which leaves the listener in awe."
Sotiris V.: "This track sounds very much like a combination of Stravinsky and Death Metal."
Chris Antoniou: "The most progressive song of the album, that is fucking heavy and brutal at the same time."
'We, The Gods'
Sotiris V.: "Pure dark rage!"
Chris Antoniou: "Sinister orchestral parts and sharp riffing achieve a venomous union."
Sotiris V.: "We are playing with darkness and light here."
Chris Antoniou: "A song that comes with enchanted melodies from the guitars and a very catchy chorus."
Sotiris V.: "An epic and intensely dramatic offering."
Chris Antoniou: "This song is extremely vivid and almost cinematic. One of the most haunting tracks of the new album"
Sotiris V.: "A more rhythmical song, based on the antithesis of my clean vocals and the brutal singing of Seth."
Chris Antoniou: "A classic Septicflesh tune, representing our melodic death metal face."
Sotiris V.: "An esoteric trip, which is filled with strange sadness."
Chris Antoniou: "Gothic colours and cold emotions" .