Comes up short on solid catchy music

Beginning life as a strictly black metal band before becoming an altogether different beast fusing parts of industrial and symphonic metal while still utilising the BM’s dark lyrical matter , Samael has managed to carve out a career spanning almost 30 years with varying results in the quality of their recorded output.

As the album opens with the title track, there is a sense of grandeur that is being reached for. The opening minutes feel like an overture on the sort of scale that Scepticflesh use as a tool to keep a focus on the many things musically swirling around.

The bounce of follow up ‘Samael’ is a completely different beast, a hard stomp with a choral chorus accentuated again by the symphonic background. This sort of stomp remains the focus throughout with the exception of the brilliantly heavy and faster paced ‘Black Supremacy’ that rests like a great centrepiece on an album where the pace barely changes.

The pacing is the most difficult part of this otherwise strong release, the mechanical formula that Samael uses for such a long time can be over- aweing with only the keyboards and Vorph’s multi faceted vocal bark changing structure. Every song has a highlight but isn’t ever really memorable. After repeated listens some riffs stick around  but no complete song burrows its way into the listener’s head. Closing the album out with a cover seemed like a strange move, but ‘Helter Skelter’ has been made all their own as another highlight on the album that seems to come up short on solid catchy music.

Fans of this band may get what is going on here, but most will pick out the one or three solid tracks and not listen to the album again, and that is disappointing for a band that has been around as long as Samael.

  1. Hegemony
  2. Samael
  3. Angel of Wrath
  4. Rite of Renewal
  5. Red Planet
  6. Black Supremacy
  7. Murder or Suicide
  8. This World
  9. Against All Enemies
  10. Land of the Living
  11. Dictate of Transparency
  12. Helter Skelter