Published Jul 31, 2020Live albums sometimes feel a little pointless. It's too often they're used as gap-fillers for bands who haven't released anything in too long and are at risk of being forgotten. Even if they aren't bad — or even if they're great — they still serve only as appetizers and leave fans hungry for actual new material, not re-releases, compilations, or concert recordings.
Septicflesh's Infernus Sinfonica MMXIX is not one of those live albums.The concert film and accompanying soundtrack are, in a word, breathtaking. Filmed and recorded at a sold-out show in February 2019 at Mexico City's Metropolitan Theater, this special show saw the Greek symphonic death metal outfit was accompanied for the evening by over 100 musicians from the Symphonic Experience Orchestra, the Enharmonía Vocalis Choir, and the National University of Mexico Children's and Youth Choir.
One of the most impressive things about this show is the band's lack of ego. Septicflesh may not be the biggest name around, at least not yet, but for a band pulling off a spectacle like this, they appear incredibly humble. The band are right in there alongside the orchestra, rather than on a separate, raised stage with the orchestra and choirs hiding in shadows, and what's more, there's no need here for a long, drawn-out intro and entrance. Not even three minutes into the show, the band are already barrelling into opener "Portrait of a Headless Man."
The masterfully crafted setlist sees Septicflesh and accompaniment rip through highlights like "The Pyramid God," "Anubis" and "The Vampire from Nazareth" before arriving at the evening's grand culmination in "Dark Art," with no break in momentum in the nearly hour-and-a-half-long performance. While most of the focus is on the band's latest offering, 2017's Codex Omega, several tracks off of each of their last four albums are featured, as is typical of Septicflesh's shows these past few years.
Other bands should take note. Only an exclusive, special, months-rehearsed show like this is worth releasing as a live album or concert video. If there's any extreme metal show in recent memory that deserves this treatment, it's this one. Now, if only Septicflesh could bring out an orchestra on every tour. (Season of Mist)