ON THE ROAD: Featuring Septicflesh drummer Krimh Lechner
Image by Stella Mouzi www.stellamouzi.com
Making the tricky transition from meticulously engineered studio perfection to the electrifying, utterly unpredictable dynamics of live performance is seldom a seamless process, least of all for a band whose blistering and bewilderingly complex legacy underpins more than two decades of genre-defying extreme metal. On the night that finds the Greek metal titans primed and poised to decimate the London Underworld, uber-talented drummer Krimh Lechner explains the painstaking creation of their most ambitious live repertoire yet.
“Ordinarily I’d simply go to the practise room and jam around for a couple of hours to create a song, but Septicflesh is far too complex a band for that,” remarks newly-recruited drummer Krimh Lechner on the intricate process of melding and mixing the Greeks’ mind-boggling array of bludgeoning, blackly flourishing and delectably groove-laden dynamics. Mere hours away from their co-headlining slot alongside much admired US black metal unit Inquisition, and the Austrian musician appears remarkably well-rested ahead of a process that’s been many long and gruelling months in the making.
Numbering his first album release with Septicflesh since joining the band back in 2014, the ex-Decapitated sticksman’s battering, insanely paced talents found an instant, fluidly organic fit within this uniquely vicious and varied musical unit. Meticulously splicing grandiose slabs of crushing groove in amongst richly expansive stints of flourishing strings and epic choirs courtesy of Prague’s prestigious Philharmonic Orchestra, the visionary collective took ample time to perfect the flawlessly engineered long-player that subsequently followed three years later. But despite being widely hailed as an act of sheer, seamlessly impeccable alchemy, the process of priming 2017’s ‘Codex Omega’ for the raw and heated immediacy of live performance would bring with it a fresh raft of additional challenges – not least being Krimh’s considerable physical distance from his fellow bandmates.
“The biggest challenge is the fact that I’m from Austria and the other guys are from Greece so practising is really difficult. As a result of that, we have to spend a lot of time thoroughly preparing everything beforehand,” he affirms. “We’d just finished the South American tour and then I flew to Greece for four days of rehearsals. That was really the tricky thing. Plus, we switched some songs around quite a bit, maybe making a pause here and there longer or cut an intro or combined parts from other songs. The difficulty is the fact that we cannot rehearse on a daily basis. All we had was four days of playing a couple of hours a day, just repeating the songs and making sure they felt okay for us within the set-list.”
But, while there’s no overstating the herculean levels of effort and stamina needed to bring this ambitious project to fruition, Krimh is also quick to credit the equally vital importance of painstaking forward planning and preparation. And beyond the more cosmetic practicalities of seamlessly recorded backing tracks and carefully pre-programmed lighting transitions, the process of crafting material tailor-made for electrifying live entertainment began at an infinitely earlier stage than many might assume. Having amplified the densely muscular grooves and bracing, breathlessly energised transitions of 2014’s ‘Titan’ to dizzying new heights of scalding intensity, ‘Codex Omega’ is a record unmistakably crafted for such violently energised and adrenaline-fuelled purpose.