Septicflesh Esoptron

Originally released in 1995, Season of Mist has dropped a remastered edition of Greek symphonic death metal act Septicflesh's sophomore effort, Esoptron. Known for their vast, orchestral compositions that make extensive use of samples, string sections and choral vocals, Esoptron is an example of their sound in a more simplified, minimal state. Already beginning to expand their aesthetic by adding string sections and a sense of gothic excess, this second record has a stronger core of classic death metal than their later releases. This focus on rougher, bloodier tones leads to some brilliant moments, such as the strings on "Breaking The Inner Seal," which are pushed to their lower limits and seem to growl threateningly. There is also some awkwardness, as their sound is still developing, such as with the out-of-place harsh vocals on the softer, synth-heavy passages of "Ice Castle." The production is crisp and clean, while the new album art is compelling. For fans of Septicflesh, the reissue of Esoptron is worth listening to as an example of an aesthetic in progress. (Season of Mist)