Formed in 2013, Septagon is the brainchild and result of a collaboration between Lanfear’s Markus Ullrich and Atlantean Kodex’s Markus Becker who were created with the sole purpose of bringing the edge and aggression of the 80’s LA Bay Area Thrash sound and combining it with the melodically technical approach of bands such as Forbidden and Watchtower. Whilst it sounds interesting enough on paper, let us see if it is good enough when put into practice.
Given the sheer volume of thrash I have covered in January 2016, this release certainly has a lot to measure up to, especially with the new Exumer and Megadeth releases being fantastic so no pressure on this one eh?
Sadly this one caves under the weight of expectation if you could call it that. The beautifully arranged and intricate, predominantly acoustic “Ignite The Apocalypse” is an instrumental filler track which is a superb display of guitar wizardry and well composed, but utterly pointless as it doesn’t even transition into the follow up track, “Revolt Against The Revolution”, thus defeating the purpose of such a track… And the follow up isn’t too much to write home about either. Whilst it might be packed full of intricate guitar work and interesting progressions, it takes too long to get going, building a false sense of anticipation. Sure, it might have some solid sounding thrash riffs and relentless rhythm which has a remarkable degree of precision to it and it does have the potential to be a great track, but the vocals just do not sit well. Too clean, too refined and not gritty, attitude filled or raw enough for the thrash sound, it’s just weird and very off-putting.
Sadly, this continues throughout the entire album. There are some fantastic, wild and technically spot on guitar solos, some real conceptual and thought provoking images conjured up by the lyrics and some real good atmospheric sections, but the tame and weak vocals which seem more suited to Power Metal/Euro Metal/Post-something just kill any power the thrash may generate. The only track where this vocal approach actually works, is on “Henchman Of Darkness” which sounds right at home on an album about a fantasy inspired quest of epic proportions with plenty of smiting, flames, mythical beasts and other tropes we usually tag on Power Metal… I guess what I am trying to say is ultimately, whilst the music might be thrashy for the most part, the vocals just kill any enthusiasm the riffs could garner in me.
I tried several times to look past the vocals, to be fair and open (I am a fan of Power Metal so it’s not like I’m ripping on that), but the total clash of styles just fails on multiple levels. Thrash metal, especially Bay Area sounding thrash is supposed to be wild, heavy, packed full of energy and rawness in both the music and the vocal delivery. This has that musical side, but vocally it holds the riffs back significantly. I’d avoid it.