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Reviews

Samael: Blood ritual

07/09/11  ||  revenant

So if you’re one of those über-nerd types who remember every word or comment made by us reviewers here at GD, you may remember I mentioned in my recent “Lux Mundi” review that I am only a recent discoverer and enjoyer of the music of Samael. Well my conquest of the Samael back catalogue is well underway, and the latest disc to get my attention is Samael’s second release, “Blood Ritual”.

Since I’ve joined the Samael ride late in the piece, I’m naturally more accustomed to their modern dark electronic/industrial sound. This sound was one that Samael only started to develop in the mid 90s, and “Blood Ritual” pre-dates this era. Even knowing that before I started listening to “Blood Ritual”, I was a still surprised at how different old Samael sounds.

Samael early in their career were, of course, one of the bands from the second wave of black metal. The keyboards that became central to the Samael sound are pretty much non-existent here aside from the use of a piano. The music consists of simple thrash riffs slowed to doom-esque pace, simple drumming (though I love the use of cymbals to create a tenseness alongside the riffs) and high pitched shrieks for vocals. The result oozes a malevolently dark atmosphere: slow, creepy and evil to the core.

The only problem, though, is I find the whole thing incredibly fucking boring. I put this album on and darken the lights with every intention to give this album my full attention and absorb it in full, yet about twenty minutes in I get fidgety and start shifting around looking for a distraction. Thirty minutes in I’m feverishly chewing my nails like a starving jackal ripping at a zebra carcass. By the end of the full forty two minutes I’m counting my ball hairs for lack of something better to do. It’s not just because it’s slow, it’s also draining to listen to. You really need to put your full attention into listening to this record to fully appreciate it. Background music this is not, and my attention to slow dragging music has never been my strongpoint.

I wouldn’t call “Blood Ritual” a bad album though. The atmosphere the band produces is quite excellent. It’s just too much of a slow burner that requires too much attention and concentration for the likes of me. If you’re into dark atmospheric metal, then this will fit comfortably on your record shelf between your Celtic Frost and Candlemass records. One of those guys will probably tell you this album rules. For me, this is a test of patience that I just don’t have. Hence the score.

5

  • Information
  • Released: 1992
  • Label: Century Media
  • Website: www.samael.info
  • Band
  • Vorphalack: vocals, guitars
  • Mas: bass
  • Xytras: drums, keyboards
  • Tracklist
  • 01. Epilogue
  • 02. Beyond the Nothingness
  • 03. Poison Infiltration
  • 04. After the Sepulture
  • 05. Macabre Operetta
  • 06. Blood Ritual
  • 07. Since the Creation…
  • 08. With the Gleam of the Torches
  • 09. Total Consecration
  • 10. Bestial Devotion
  • 11. …Until the Chaos