The time has come to let you get a grasp at the full writing and recording process of the upcoming SEPTICFLESH masterpiece, "The Great Mass", scheduled for an April 18th (one day later in the US) release. This six-part studio story will be spread over the next weeks. All aspects of the new album will be detailed, from the first ideas back in 2009 to the final mastering stage. Thanks to Hard Rock Mag editor Sven Letourneur, who conducted this interview on last November 15th.

PART I – Guitarist / vocalist Sotiris on first ideas and genesis.

What was the starting point of the new album?
I was the first who started composing songs, about a year ago from the actual recordings of the new album. It was something that happened instinctively, without pushing myself. I was just on the proper emotional state to create music. Actually, the most intense musical ideas always come to me when I least expect it.

Who started thinking about the main orientation, did you talk a lot about what you wanted to create right from the beginning?
At the beginning, there was not a specific direction in my mind for the overall material of the album. I tend to avoid to do that on the first stage of songwriting, as I don’t want to limit the output of inspiration. After a potent period of time, when the most soulful ideas begin to stand out from the rest and when all members of the band reach the same songwriting stage, then we start discussing the general direction of an album. Our mutual agreement on the direction then influences our decision making about what idea or song prevails to the next phase and gains a position in the album. We decided the new album would be a step to new dark musical places and evolve towards an almost cinematic musical approach. Seth suggested that we should focus on our most "sick" and avant-garde elements and we all agreed.

Did everybody start with their own ideas then, before submitting them to the others?
Actually, all the members of Septicflesh are songwriters and work on their own ideas at first. When we feel ready, we present the material to one another. Then, in many cases, additional ideas for a song pop up from the other members, pushing it even further. A good example is the song "Vampire of Nazareth", which was initially based on some ideas that I had. It was then transformed into something even more challenging and powerful, after a great orchestral inspiration which struck Chris when he listened to the ideas and with the additional rhythmical aid of Fotis.

Did the good feedbacks from "Communion" add any pressure during this process?
The success of "Communion" indeed brought us some pressure at first. However, with the help of inspiration and after a lot of hard work, we gradually were relieved from the pressure, as we were very pleased from the evolution of the songs. At the end, we entered the studio with confidence and ready to kill.

Once the first ideas were created, did you each record your own demos to present full songs to the others so that they could see what was left to do? How many songs were submitted in total before you ended with the final 10 songs?
I was composing as a madman for this album so I ended up having to present to the others more than 10 songs! Also, as the other members begun presenting their songs and ideas, we had a vast pool of material to choose from. You can guess that it was a painful task to leave stuff behind and we were very strict judges to our decisions. When we took the decision about the general direction of the album, things became clearer. What you finally listen to is a very refined result, a product of a collective hard work. All members of the band know how to utilize modern recording software and have the proper home equipment. So we are able to mould our ideas into demos for the band’s use and then alter them into different versions until we felt completely satisfied. Before we entered the studio for the actual recordings, we had a clear enough "picture" of the songs. However, we also had some great last minute inspirations during the recordings, adding "colour" and emotional intensity to the result.


"The Vampire from Nazareth", a brand new song from "The Great Mass", is now available for free. Download it here !