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.
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