SAMAEL - Hegemony
October 23, 2017, a month ago
When Rammstein were mere zygotes, Swiss metallers Samael were wreaking havoc with its brand of vicious industrial metal. Formed in 1987, Samael initially began as a typical black metal band before introducing industrial metal elements beginning with its brilliant 1994 Ceremony Of Opposites, which began the metamorphosis of what is now considered the epic Samael sound. On its 11th full-length album, Hegemony (which means leadership or dominance — especially by one country or social group — over others), the band performs at its usual high standard. Co-founder/vocalist/guitarist Vorph, along with his keyboardist/programmer brother Xy, have created some riveting stuff on its 13 tracks. It’s a heavy aural assault of soaring symphonic elements, mesmerizing, militaristic rhythmic thrusts and precision-like riffing decorated with Samael’s ever-present, evil-like atmosphere.
Opener and title track begins with a burst of majestic, symphonic elegance, decorated with hefty riffs and a catchy chorus. Those epic, vicious vocals from Vorph are ever present, while Xy’s precision-like programmed drums may seem sterile at first, but they sound more natural than on their earlier albums. The chilling keyboard orchestrations and razor-like riffs of “Samael” is a huge anthem that should go over very well in the live setting. Ditto goes for “Angel of Wrath,” which possesses the band’s monstrous trademark sound. Vorph and Xy are able to create this type of classic Samael song in their sleep at this point in their career. However, 13 tracks at 52 minutes is a tad too long. They’re not all bad songs, but they’re not all winners, either. A few tracks could’ve been cut, especially the very odd cover of the Beatles’ “Helter Skelter.”