• Septagon – Deadhead Syndicate

    Septagon – Deadhead Conspiracy
    Released by: Cruz Del Sur Music
    Released on: February 12thh, 2016.
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    Markus "Ulle" Ullrich, the guitar player from Lanfear and Them, met Markus Becker, the vocalist from Atlantean in 2013. It was then that they formed Septagaon with Stef Binnig-Gollub also handing guitars, Alexander Palma on bass and Jürgen Schrank (also formerly of Lanfear) behind the drum kit. A few years later, their feature length debut album is done and about to be unleashed on the public thanks to the efforts of those at Cruz Del Sur Music.

    So what are these guys all about? Right from the opening track, Ignite The Apocalypse, a quick intro track that is under ninety seconds in length, it’s clear that they’re up to something. This is the calm before the storm, a mellow instrumental bit that builds to a heavier more atmospheric finish that segues flawlessly into the second track on the album, Revolt Against The Revolution. It builds quickly, at the twenty second mark there’s a heavy eighties thrash influence rearing its beautiful, ugly head summoning up early Anthrax and Metallica in a big way. The vocals don’t start until after the two minute mark on this six minute track. Once they’re in there, well, they sound great. There’s a lot of heaviness here, thrashy riffs and some super tight, very technical drumming but Becker’s vocals are smooth, even melodic at times – this guy has some serious pipes.

    Exit...Gunfire turns things up a notch, it’s faster and thrashier and more aggressive but again, there are harmonies here in the vocals that you don’t expect from a band like this, it helps to set things apart a bit. In a good way. Ripper keeps the album on that same path, mixing melody and power in equal doses, and again the drumming here is really strong. Palma’s bass playing also helps, anchoring the track so that the twin guitar attack can cut loose a bit. Some stop/start staccato playing on here, and it’s maybe overdone a little bit, but this is catchy and fairly dark.

    Septagon Conspiracy is a better track, it’s more memorable and more interesting. It starts off with an impressive solo that stops short of wankery, it never feels self-indulgent but instead sets a tone. From there, before the vocals kick in, the track goes into full on trash mode, hitting heavier heights than those achieved on the earlier songs. Again, it’s hard not to hear early Belladonna era Anthrax here, but this band does what it does really well and there are elements of Slayer and Exodus creeping in and out of this one as well. Henchman Of Darkness starts off calm, serene even, as the vocals set the mood, telling us of ancient times and lulling us into a fairly relaxed state. The vocals here are, dare I say it, actually very pretty and the instrumentation behind it complements things really nicely. It gets more aggressive as it plays out, the last minute in particular, but again, the focus here isn’t on noise but on melody. This one isn’t quite a ballad, but it is a calmer, more controlled track and it stands out for that reason.

    The title track, Deadhead Syndicate, gets back to more traditional metal territory. It’s fast, it’s powerful, it’s aggressive and it doesn’t have anything to do at all with The Grateful Dead, thankfully, it’s actually about the breakdown of society and about judgment day. Unwanted Company is a speedier track, heavy but balanced in that it’s quite polished just like everything else on the record. These guys can play and aren’t afraid to show that off now and again – and for good reason, the technique audible on this record is really strong. Like a lot of their material, the track starts off with an instrumental stretch before the vocals kick in, but again, it builds mood and tension. The last track on the album, Secret Silver Panorama Machine, is the punchiest, most pissed off song on the record to be sure. Here they really cut loose, channeling early Megadeth in the vocals at times but then breaking from that for more of the harmonic sounds that have played a big part in all of this – it’s a neat trick that provides some really interesting contrast. All in all, a solid debut from a band that is clearly quite into the technical side of thrash in a big, big way but who are able to blend some different and very interesting elements really well. This is catchy stuff but so too is it impressively delivered with strong production values.