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SEPTICFLESH: welcome to the Great Mass

SEPTICFLESH: welcome to the Great Mass
BANDS : SepticFlesh

Along with Rotting Christ and Nightfall, SepticFlesh are one of the pillars of the Greek metal scene, with a career spanning over two decades and a discography that includes no less than eight studio albums. This year, the band released a new record - The Great Mass, undoubtedly their most complex and ambitious project to date. Consifering that SepticFlesh will perform in Romania on November 19, with Amon Amarth and As I Lay Dying, we thought it was the right time to have a conversation with  Sotiris Anunnaki, guitarist and founding member of the Greek band.

Metalfan: Hello guys and welcome to This band started back in the early nineties, that’s more than 20 years ago, do you feel old (joking, hahaha)? This puts you in a position where you have to be a reliable model for the younger bands who look up to you, are there times when you reflect about the role of this band in the bigger picture of European metal? Where do you think these 20 years of rock’n’roll have taken you?

Sotiris Anunnaki V: It has been quite a ride. Things were not easy, as when we formed the band the whole Greek scene was at a very primitive evolutionary stage. Fortunately we gained the attention of France and Holy Records and so we had the chance to promote more efficiently our material in the wider European scene. Gradually, we gained more recognition. The album that was a real breakthrough was Communion, as we also managed to gain a decent fan base on USA. The new album is even more successful than Communion and our fan base is growing. We are very proud about our career, especially considering the difficulties we had to surpass.

Metalfan: What bands or artists or maybe friends or family inspired you to start this band? What career did you initially intend to follow and you gave up because of music?
Sotiris Anunnaki V: Creating music is one of the things that come natural to me and gives me extreme pleasure. It was unenviable to pursue a career on that field of art. There wasn’t any musician in my family to be an example for me and playing metal in Greece was not something that could make me popular but quite the contrary.

Metalfan: Together with Rotting Christ and Nightfall, SepticFlesh is one of the most famous Greek metal bands and coincidentally, all of you started back in the 90s. Why do you think no other band has appeared ever since to surpass your popularity? Isn’t the Greek metal scene such and inspiring and motivating place to be as it was back then?
Sotiris Anunnaki V: There were also other Greek bands that made some great releases, but for some reason they never gained the popularity they deserved. And don’t forget that considering the bands you are mentioning, we are fighting hard for a real long time.

Metalfan: What was the best period for the SepticFlesh in terms of band chemistry, live concerts and sales? Or do you think the best times are yet to come?
Sotiris Anunnaki V: Now we have more extensive touring and biggest sales than in the past. As me, Seth and Christos , are together from the beginning of the band the new element in the band’s chemistry is Fotis and he is a truly charismatic person that fits great to the gang. 

Metalfan: Speaking of sales, is music your regular job, can you make a living out of it?
Sotiris Anunnaki V: No. Very few death metal bands are living solely from the sales of their records. So we all, have to do other things for additional income.

Metalfan: What’s your favorite and least favorite SepticFlesh album?
Sotiris Anunnaki V: I still enjoy listening to our previous albums, as all are filled with genuine emotions and represent a specific time line in my life. So I cannot discriminate between them to pick the most or least favorite one.

Metalfan: Between 2003 and 2007 the band took a break. Was this the plan all along, you knew there was going to be a reunion or you actually thought the band was done for good? In short: why did the band split and why did it get back on the road?
Sotiris Anunnaki V: At that point, the members of the band just wanted to focus on their own life and put their effort on important personal goals. We didn’t have a specific plan or schedule to make a come back. It happened naturally, after a period of time passed and we had succeeded in our personal goals. Also we had the amount of free time that is demanded for a proper continuation of the band. And most importantly we had the inspirational output, to create new challenging songs.

Metalfan: Septic Flesh became SepticFlesh, what does the mean?
Sotiris Anunnaki V: It is a visual thing that has the symbolism of union (reunion) and it is not a change in meaning.

Metalfan: Original drummer Akis Kapranos gave up his place in the band to Fotis Giannakopoulos, your current drummer, was this a difficult transition?
Sotiris Anunnaki V: No, Fotis adapted really fast to his role. He also brought a lot of new rhythmical elements and a more technical style that pushed us to evolve even further.

Metalfan: Many people say SepticFlesh plays black metal with gothic influences while other say that you are a symphonic death metal band. Do you care?
Sotiris Anunnaki V: I really don’t care how people label us. We don’t create music having a specific label in our mind. We are listening to a variety of musical styles and so we have a lot of different influences. The most important for us,  is to create emotionally powerful, extreme music for modern dreamers.

Metalfan: Symphonic influences have become an increasingly important part of your music lately, are you thinking about keeping this course in the future? Any risk that they will outbalance the metal core of the songs in the near future? Do you see SepticFlesh becoming a string quartet one day? (joking)
Sotiris Anunnaki V: No. We love the guitar sound and we prefer to keep a balance between our symphonic and our metal elements.

Metalfan: How did you find the collaboration with the Orchestra and Choir Prague Philharmonic for The Great Mass, compared to the experience you had while working on your previous album, Communion?
Sotiris Anunnaki V: It is a professional orchestra and choir, with a lot of experience on the field of soundtracks. Of course this time we used a wider range of classical instruments than in Communion so it was a more complex task. But Christos was very organized and we didn’t have any problems in our collaboration with the classical musicians.

Metalfan: The Great Mass is your most recent work. It’s been almost six months since it has been released, how would you evaluate its performance? How did it do on the test of time? Did the fans and media reaction meet your expectations?

Sotiris Anunnaki V: We didn’t know what to expect, as it is the most experimental album of Septicflesh and it felt risky at first. Fortunately, the reaction of the fans and the press, was amazing.  A lot of people consider The Great Mass our magnum opus.

Metalfan: Why is the album called The Great Mass ? Please tell us about the symbolism and the messages hidden behind the lyrics? What’s the great message of The Great Mass?

Sotiris Anunnaki V: It is a great Black Mass composed from 10 psalms, praising the rebellious spirit. I used a lot of religious symbolism in a disturbing way. I tried to deal with topics as amnesia, dreams as bridge between the living and the undead, the importance a strong, the duality of beast and man, the Pythagorian star of the elements etc.

Metalfan: You worked with mastermind producer Peter Tägtgren for this album. What can you tell us about this first cooperation? Are you going to work with him again for your next album?
Sotiris Anunnaki V: It is soon to think about the next album. However we are really excited from the result of our collaboration with Peter. As you said he is a mastermind considering production and also he is a very nice person.

Metalfan: Dimmu Borgir have released this year a new album and they also worked with a full orchestra. Did you listen to this album? What do you think about the final result?
Sotiris Anunnaki V: There are some very good elements here and there, that I like and I can understand the hard work behind the album. The problem is that i can’t feel goose bumps and I find it difficult to listen to it from beginning to end.

Metalfan: Heavy metal and classical music are two different music styles, at least apparently, your music tries to bring them to a reconciliation. We know for a fact that the metalheads are welcoming your efforts, but how about the classical music lovers have you ever had the chance to test their reaction?
Sotiris Anunnaki V: Yes. We were approached from people that are into classical music. It was something that we didn’t expect, as our music is brutal after all.

Metalfan: This autumn you will play for the first time in front of your Romanian fans in Bucharest, what are your expectations? What should the fans expect from you?
Sotiris Anunnaki V: Well as we are supporting the tour of Amon Amarth, the available time is limited. So the show will focus mostly on the presentation of the new songs. However, you can expect a lot of raw energy and a mystical atmosphere appropriate for a Black Mass. 

Metalfan: What do you know about Romania?
Sotiris Anunnaki V: Vlad Tepes of course. Also from pictures that I have scene, you country has beautiful landscapes.

Metalfan: Greece is facing one of his biggest economical challenges right now. What is your point of view regarding this situation? Who do you think is to blame for this mess?
Sotiris Anunnaki V: The politicians were moving the pawns all those years getting us to this mess.  However as we vote for the politicians and we made a lot of mistakes repeatedly, we have also our share of responsibility. At this point It is important to realize that there is a much wider economic war going on, that will affect all the European countries and its citizens. The challenge is to change the failed attitudes of the past and gradually regain our ability to depend on ourselves, instead on obtaining more and more loans.

Metalfan: You played in lots of countries. Where did you feel most welcomed?
Sotiris Anunnaki V: We feel welcome to a lot of countries, however France feels as our second home.

Metalfan: Thank you for your time, we’re looking forward to seeing you on stage in Bucharest. Any last words for your Romanian fans?
Sotiris Anunnaki V: All rebel souls are invited to attend to our Great Mass. Keep the black flame burning!
Vezi galeriile trupelor: SepticFlesh

   November 15, 2011  | 0 Comments  | 7124 Views « BACK

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