Septicflesh Credit: Abrisad Photographer

After a four-year hiatus between 2003 and 2007, Greek death-metal band Septic Flesh returned to the scene with a one-word name and a new, refined sound. Three members of the band—bassist-vocalist Spiros Antoniou, multi-instrumentalist Christos Antoniou, and drummer Fotis Benardo—had stayed active during those years as the Devilworx, in which they honed a sweeping symphonic palette. When Septicflesh made their triumphant return with Communion in 2008, they put the aesthetic they’d developed during their break to good use on the mothership. The idea of combining symphonic music with death metal is hardly unique to this band and no longer new, but it’s still got its detractors, and even its fans are fussy about the calibration. On their tenth album, last fall’s Codex Omega (Season of Mist), Septicflesh find a rich, careening balance between the brutal and the beautiful, with layers of strings adding high-wire tension to chugging riffs. Add their impressive fashion sense and the album’s subjectively beautiful cover art by Antoniou—which features a creature made of skulls, snakes, and a human fetus—and the band are the whole package. Their Chicago show also provides a rare chance to see Sweden’s black-metal legends Dark Funeral, who underwent some significant personnel changes in 2010; 2016’s Where Shadows Forever Reign (Century Media) was the first with new vocalist Andreas Vingbäck, aka Heljarmadr.   v