Septicflesh’s Infernus Sinfonica MMXIX: orchestral death metal gets its own S&M2

Epic death metallers Septicflesh get the orchestral treatment on new live album Infernus Sinfonica MMXIX

(Image: © Napalm)

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In the two decades since Metallica’s S&M performance celebrated how perfect the chemistry between metal and symphonics can be, there’s been no shortage of bands looking for opportunities to trade in their backline for a classical ensemble. But while attempts from the likes of Alter Bridge, Bring Me The Horizon and Accept range from interesting to unnecessary, for bands such as Nightwish and Dimmu Borgir, whose sound relies so heavily on choirs and orchestras, performing with them has become an essential rite of passage.

While never disappointing live when relying on a backing track, Septicflesh’s ambitious death metal has always called for the full symphonic experience, making this 2019 show in Mexico City such a celebrated triumph. Though frontman Spiros ‘Seth Siro Anton’ Antoniou’s repetitive requests to “Destroy, my friends” get quite annoying, it’s a minor blemish on a sumptuous sonic experience, with the band clearly ecstatic to be joined by an orchestra and two choirs in order for The Pyramid God and Dante’s Inferno to realise their full, epic potential. A rare live appearance by Sotiris Anunnaki V adds to the occasion with his haunting voice becoming the focus of to The Great Mass Of Death and a thunderous Anubis, while even that most divisive of metallic accompaniments, a children’s choir, is utilised to stunning effect on Prototype and a set-stealing Dogma Of Prometheus.

Infernus Sinfonica MMXIX is a testament to the baroque compositions of Christos Antoniou. Conducted by Gerardo Urbán y Fernández, they meld brilliantly with both the full-throttle death metal of Martyr and the stunning, evocative peaks of finale Dark Art. It’s both the jewel in the band’s career and the best live document of such a pairing since the Bay Area behemoth’s revolutionary concert 21 years ago. Frankly it’s a shame that it was only a one-off.

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Adam Brennan

Rugby, Sean Bean and power ballad superfan Adam has been writing for Hammer since 2007, and has a bad habit of constructing sentences longer than most Dream Theater songs. Can usually be found cowering at the back of gigs in Bristol and Cardiff. Bruce Dickinson once called him a 'sad bastard'.