Monday, 20 November 2017

Samael "Hegemony" (2017)


From way back when I was first discovering Black Metal, I fondly remembered Samael's "Ceremony Of Opposites" for being rather different to the traditional scene, infectious doses of groove and sprinklings of synths gave it a memorable edge. That memory was my motivation to check out this release marking thirty years since the Swiss band's inception. Hegemony hasn't charmed me and much like most of their music I can't be critical, for some reason there will always be bands you don't vibe with, despite appreciating what they do. As a hybrid of Symphonic Black Metal and Industrial Metal you'd think this is right up my street but for unknown reasons it doesn't click.

The records plays with social themes and rebellion packaged onto an unworldly stage of theatrical lyricism delivered through the one dimensional, thin scream of Vorph, rarely altering his intensity or texture. The songs strive forward at mid-tempo, the thump and snap of the drums driving the pace as big clumps of blasting drums and busy guitar work sets a thick industrial metallic tone for the synths to resonate off with there lively range of sounds often empiric and epic, heightening the sense of scale wonder that strives for the feel of an evil empire on the warpath.

The compositions are rock solid, the music cohesive but never sparking more than a muted emotional response from me. Bar the loud drums all of the instruments are given equal footing in a mix that muddies them together. The guitar work doesn't jump of the page yet with a keen ear you can hear some interesting leads and riffs burred in the heaving of sound. The synths suffer a similar fate with only the big backing synth chords making their way to the forefront of attention and over details creeping through with the listeners attention. There might be a good record In here, I don't have anything bad to say as every listen was enjoyable but little was memorable and without an emotional response it paled in comparison to other records Ive had on spin recently.

Rating: 5/10

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