Vorphalack - Vocals, Guitars
Makro - Guitars
Christophe Masmiseim - Bass
Xy - Drums, Programming, Keyboards
Swiss black/industrial metal band Samael fall into the category of bands that have separated their fans into two camps. The first one strays on their early days when black metal was their main style just before their 4th album "Passage", after which the band began to experiment with a more industrial/electronic influenced black metal sound. This album marks the territory for the second camp comprising of "open-minded" fans who consider the electronic additions as exploring new territories.
"Above" is Samael's 9th studio album released on March 6th 2009. The band's frontman Vorphalack released this statement about the new album "After 20 years we've tried to do an album that would represent what SAMAEL is all about and we did "Solar Soul". We feel now it is the right time to remind the people where we come from and thats exactly what "Above" will do. It is like an enhanced version of our three or four first albums, maybe the missing link between "Cermony Of Opposites" and "Passage". With the "Era One" project we've tried to work on different influences, with "Above" we striped everything down. It is a metal album through and through".
This 11 track album opens with the solid drum work of "Under One Flag" that kicks in hard with distinct riffs in the vein of Rotting Christ. "Virtual War" remains in the heavy path slightly introducing industrial aesthetics and riffs with repeating rhythms and a killer tempo that will break your neck.
"Polygames" steps on the gas pedal and as it slows a little bit an excellent guitar riff blows your ears diving deeper in black metal atmospherics. With this track I assured myself that I did not like the album's overall production; everything sounds overloaded and muffled at times giving the impression that the musical instruments struggle to come first and thus suppress the other. This also works against the guitars that have much to 'say' riff-wise and works in favor of the loud drums that dominate the entire album. Take for example "Black Hole" that enters with (another) Rotting Christ sounding rhythm and then gets lost through hard hitting snare drum and the blasting double pedaling while the keyboard addictive break is definitely the highlight of the song in question.
This album is Samael's effort to take a look back to their past and remind us (or maybe themselves) how they sounded when their first studio album "Worship Him" hit the scene somewhere in 1991. While it seems more of a tribute than a return to their old BM style this album will most certainly satisfy die-hard fans.
1. Under One Flag
2. Virtual War
4. Earth Country
6. Black Hole
7. In There
8. Dark Side
9. God's Snake
10. On The Top Of It All
11. Black Hole (remix)
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