Photo Credit: Stella Mouzi
Greek Death Metal pioneers, Septicflesh, have had a monstrous career spanning over twenty years of delivering downright brutal Death-Metal. Maintaining a massive cult following and gaining a wider appreciation of their artistry has come steadily and serves as a testament to the band’s musicianship and abilities. In celebration of the release of their tenth studio album, ‘Codex Omega’, I caught up with guitarist, Chris Antoniou, to discuss the deep and dark meaning behind ‘Codex Omega’, getting tattooed at one of the most elite tattoo shops in the world, tourist attractions throughout Greece and more.
Congrats on the release of your tenth studio album, ‘Codex Omega’. Tell us about the creative and recording process behind the album.
The creative process is very demanding and we are very picky in terms of choosing ideas and riffs. An idea can start from a small symphonic fragment or from a guitar riff and then I will orchestrate or add my ideas or the guys will add their inspiration or rhythmical pattern. When we compose, we don’t set up rules we let our imagination to flow without limits. As for recordings, we first will start the metal parts (guitars, bass, and drums) and then I will go to Prague for the orchestral recordings. When all of the recordings are done, we have some meetings in order to decide which orchestral parts will accompany the metal ones.
Tell us about the dark and gloriously grotesque element within your cover art for ‘Codex Omega’ and the artist that you worked with to create the artwork.
The artwork is by our singer and bassist, Seth Siro Anton. He is responsible for all our visual world. The most interesting part is that instead of Brain on the Head of this Organic (no gender) figure we have a uterus that is hosting a fetus regarding the title. ‘Codex Omega’ is the title of the 3rd Testament, the conclusion (Omega being the last letter in the Greek alphabet) to the books that are the pillars of the Christian Faith. In a general sense, it is a toxic remark about all holy books. Also, it is pointing out, that without a “dark component” the “white component” has no true value-meaning. This becomes even more interesting if you consider the quote, “I am the Alpha and The Omega”.
What challenges did you come across and overcome while creating ‘Codex Omega’?
Each of our releases always is a challenge. Since our return with Communion, we feel a healthy pressure that in a way boosts our creation always forward. If you manage to filter this pressure in your favor, then you don’t have to fear anything. It is important even on the “blank” moments to not give up on the contrary. Through searching and experimenting, you will find the way to go. Challenge feeds you in a way.
It seems like you have a good mix of artistic influences and tastes. What genre of movies are your favorite to watch and in specific, what are some of your favorite movies within that genre?
We are more into horror and thriller movies but we are open to various genres. A good movie is always a good movie even if is a comedy. Hellraiser, Nightbreed, Nosferatu and Saw are masterpieces and have influenced all the Dark, Gothic, Metal movement. In general, we are very open-minded people and we try always to expand our ideas from every form of art that has an entity.
What is the biggest difference that you have noticed between fans and crowds in the U.S vs. overseas?
There are crowds that are different also within Europe and USA and everywhere. Sometimes, the crowds can be very energetic or can be more static but in general, the North American crowd are more into mosh pits and I could say more hospitable.
Let’s talk tattoos. Tell us about some of your favorite personal pieces and the tattoo artists that you worked with to bring them to life.
We are very good friends with Robert Hernandez and Volko from Buena Vista Tattoo Club. Both are top tattoo artists nowadays. I have only tribal tattoos as I am not so fan of other designs. I got them tattooed when I was younger and some things I would change them but is not a priority right now. Hernandez tattooed my brother, Seth, adding his own distinctive style. I would like also to try something with him, maybe a crazy style tribal. Also, Paul Booth is one of the greatest, truly a legend, that we hope to visit in the near future with some tattoo ideas if they are feasible. We shall see.
If any of our readers have never visited Greece, tell us about some of the places that you recommend they check out first and why.
Greece has been the cradle of the Western Civilization and there are many monuments and museums that you can visit like of course Parthenon which is a masterpiece of architecture. Another must is the Acropolis Museum in which you can see a vast number of objects. You can visit also The Temple of Poseidon in Sounio surrounded on three sides by the sea. The tomb of Philips’s, the father of Alexander the Great in Macedonia, Greece. You can combine these with some holidays and check out the breathtaking Santorini. There are so many options in Greece.
What are your thoughts on the current state of Extreme Metal?
I don’t follow it as much as I did in the past. I believe art has been saturated and things in the art in general come and go so fast that you are not able to appreciate them. Things have changed and we will be witnesses of even more in the future.
Any upcoming tour or festival appearance plans that you can fill us in about?
We have booked summer festivals but I can’t announce them yet. Regarding tours, we go for the first time in Latin America for a month with Fleshgod Apocalypse and we will tour in North America in March with Dark Funeral. We will visit also Dubai, Lebanon and some shows in our homeland, Greece, and a European tour with Inquisition.
Last but certainly not least, any closing messages for your fans?
We thank them for their support all these years. Their help even when the band was disbanded was unique and pure.