INTERVIEW: Christos Antoniou – Septicflesh

Since their reunion and the release of Communion in 2008, Greek symphonic death metallers SEPTICFLESH‘s momentum has been in top gear. In the years that followed since the band reformed the band’s studio releases have been of the highest quality and their reputation has skyrocketed. 2017 sees the arrival of album number ten, Codex Omega, and the band intend to dispatch another slab of majestic death metal. We caught up with guitarist and master of orchestration Christos Antoniou to lift the lid on the upcoming record, its themes and sound, alongside divulging into the band’s creative process.

So your new album, Codex Omega, is due out very soon. What cans expect from the upcoming album?

Christos: You know for us, Codex Omega stands as our best moment. We have felt it from the pre-sales, I think we were the highest artist in terms of pre-sales for Season of Mist and this has given us more enthusiasm about Codex Omega. We are really eager to see the response from our listeners, for us as I said, it’s our most mature album, our best moment. I think it has moments from all the eras of SEPTICFLESH and I’m sure the majority of SEPTICFLESH fans will love it.

It’s quite a landmark album seeing as it is your tenth record. Was there a new found pressure because it was album number ten?

Christos: It’s a kind of pressure we’ve felt after Communion. To be honest, the band started in 2008 when we had started to tour. Of course we had the previous era from the beginning to 2002 when we stopped the band, but we have this pressure and it works positively for us. It is always a challenge for us to create something that has the quality and a entity. It is something that we always aim for, something that will please ourselves and our listeners.

Since the reunion, this new era of SEPTICFLESH and the albums that have come since, the quality has always been so high and each record builds on what came before. So since the reunion, has the mood within the band been overwhelmingly positive?

Christos: Yes, the main bone of the band is the same. We have been together for so many years and after the breakup we said “let’s take it easy and see how it goes.” When the pressure gets heavy for you it can have a different result than what you expected and since Communion we said take it easy and see how it goes and we can see the results now. We are pleased that since Communion we have always done our best to release a good album.

And do you feel by being more relaxed when it comes to releasing new albums that it has allowed SEPTICFLESH to thrive more creatively?

Christos: Yeah, you feel relaxed in the middle of the process to be honest, in terms of creation. Anxiety, of course it comes with every release, but it is something natural. Until now, we can see that all our efforts have been rewarded and we always aim for the best.

Which is obviously what you want…

Christos: Of course. As an artist I always want to deliver the message that my work has a quality. We don’t go into the studio to create something just so that we go out on tour. That is why each of our releases takes about three years.

With SEPTICFLESH I always associate the lyrical topics to be well thought out and thought provoking. What sort of themes does Codex Omega look to address?

Christos: Sotiris, who is responsible for the lyrics of SEPTICFLESH, he has some vast subjects in order to create this world of lyrics for SEPTICFLESH. He has things from The Divine Comedy, which is Dante’s Inferno which is in a way explores the landscapes of hell. We have the 3rd Testament which is the Codex Omega, which is a anti-religious song. It’s ironic that all bibles were conceived by the human mind and in the song titled Codex Omega, Omega is the end which your faith; God, Satan, Christ, Anti-Christ, Virgin Mary, The Holy Spirit, Lucifer are all two sides of a coin. Then we have Martyr which is about Hypatia, the Greek mathematician and philosopher that died by a mob of Christians. We have the Portrait of a Headless Man that is talking about the brainwashing of people and making them follow all kinds of orders. Many different subjects that Sotiris likes to explore!

The subjects are rooted in quite a theological and religious nature, a theme that has been covered a lot with heavy metal. Do you feel by addressing these themes you can allow your listeners to open these discussions?

Christos: We always try to make our listeners think. We don’t want to pressure them because some songs have a anti-religious subject. We always try to say our opinions but of course to deliver our hidden messages but I think we have found the balance that SEPTICFLESH can explore many subjects; from ancient civilisations to anti-religious subjects. For me, I like this balance because I don’t want the band to be well known just because of the anti-religion subject. Because that is a fashion, it is something we want to avoid because the majority of the anti-religion lyrics are in a way, a bit stupid to be honest. There’s no Satan, there’s no Christ, it has to be our opinion, the most important thing is to search for knowledge.

Moving on to the sound of Codex Omega, again the orchestral elements are a big pillar to SEPTICFLESH’s sound. So when you are writing and recording new music, do you implement the orchestral elements first?

Christos: Of course, we have to, the composition is big for our process. Either I give them an orchestral template and with the guys, we have three main composers. Me, Seth and Sotiris. They can add their ideas on top of my orchestral ideas and the opposite, I can orchestrate their metal parts or I can add my orchestral ideas. We have found this way of writing and it works really well, we follow this procedure and I don’t think it is time for a risk to change this process.

Definitely and you can definitely see the results with just how epic the sound is…

Christos: Of course. The orchestra has this majestic and epic colour that helps the music. It has the style, that classical feeling and by using an orchestra you can have unlimited options!

And really, just to close off once Codex Omega is released, what is next for SEPTICFLESH? Will you be going straight out on the road to support your latest release?

Christos: Nowadays you have to be so active in order to promote your hard work. We are in talks for a European and North American tour, but it it too early to mention something now. But, for sure, we are going to Latin America for one month in October and November with FLESHGOD APOCALYPSE. This is the only confirmed tour at the moment in support of Codex Omega, but soon we will have the confirmed tours for after the Latin America tour.

Well brilliant, I hope to see some UK dates on that European tour!

Christos: Of course, it is in our plans and we might do a full UK tour. It is in our plans.

Well thank you for taking the time to talk to Distorted Sound and I wish you the best of luck for the album release and your future plans

Christos: Thank you very much.

Codex Omega is set for release on September 1st via Season of Mist.

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