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Samael
Above

Company: Nuclear Blast
Release: 2009
Genre: Black
Reviewer: Raising Iron

  • Samael has returned to their roots with this latest effort



  • It's been fifteen years since Samael last dished out an aural feast with black metal as its main course via Ceremony of Opposites, but here in 2009, after several albums rooted in atmospheric/industrial/gothic overtures, they've cooked up a new platter of vicious, angry, and fast black metal called Above. Rarely has the pre-release hype for an album been so spot-on, as most everywhere one looked it was being said that Samael has returned to their roots with this latest effort.

    Above is more than just Worship Him worship though, as Samael has never released an album this fast and furious from beginning to end. Really, the double bass drums are on par with the speeds found in the most extreme of death metal bands, and the guitars blaze and buzz with all the fury of early Emperor. This time the keyboards are tucked back far away, merely accenting the chordal progressions; and Vorph's singing, though buried a bit too far back in the mix, is reminiscent of the distorted gurgle often found in classic black metal, adding to the furor exemplified on these ten tracks (eleven if you happen to own the disc with a bonus remix of the song Black Hole).

    On the whole, the band has sacrificed its usual use of dynamics, instead opting for a forty minute banquet of bowl-you-over blackened speed. Since it's such a jarring shift from Solar Soul, one gets the feeling that this may be a one-off--a Samael side-project of Samael if you will. But if blackened extreme metal is something you crave, look no further, as Above is sure to sate.


    Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
    5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
    4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
    3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
    3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
    2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
    1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
    0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

    Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

    Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

    The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



    ALL FULL REVIEWS FOR: SAMAEL
    CD
    TITLE BAND
    DOR
    REVIEWER DATE
    AboveSamael
    2009
    Raising Iron5/5/2009
    Reign Of LightSamael
    2005
    Ken Pierce8/10/2005
    Reign Of LightSamael
    2005
    Troy Cole6/9/2005


    ALL SUMMARY REVIEWS FOR: SAMAEL
    TITLE BAND
    DOR
    REVIEWER DATE
    HegemonySamael
    2017
    Eric Compton10/13/2017


    ALL INTERVIEWS FOR: SAMAEL
    INTERVIEW BAND INTERVIEWER DATE
    VorphSamaelUnholiestgoddess4/12/2005


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