Dark Descent Records, 24.06.16 Sheidim is yet another debutant entering the ring. Unlike quite a few newcomers, these Spaniards definitely
have a reason to march with a proud stance, since they really have something to offer. The band has already managed to make
their mark, and some have mentioned Watain as a reference. If so, it should be considered as a compliment.
The Swedes are so divergent in their expression that it's fairly impossible to imitate them without writing equally strong
songs. The alternative is to be rapidly revealed as second-class imitators.
And if Shrines of the Void had been a previously unreleased album, recorded between Casus Luciferi
and Sworn to the Dark... would you have been disappointed? Sheidim doesn't emerge as no blueprint anyway. The guys have composed a stunning debut, and some resemblance
to one another band makes absolutely no difference. The truth is that the vast majority of bands in just about any
sub-genre has a lot of similarities. Also, this association didn't even occur to me until I read the comparison somewhere.
It's not primarily the riffs that separates the Spaniards from the majority, although they are inventive and diverse. It's
not the soaring, hypnotic guitar that solely makes Shrines of the Void so encompassing that one may drown
in its essence with the stomach full of carnivorous butterflies. Neither is highly competent rhythms with occasional intricate
percussion or delightfully coarse yet still quite clearly articulated vocals with good English pronunciation from a Spanish
diplomatic representative of el diablo, in itself enough to make this such a grand feast.
All these elements together - in unholy union with genuinely clever structural creativity, atmospheric moods from beyond
the underworld, and masterful sound that suits all the rest to the fullest - is what makes Shrines of the Void
a rather exquisite work.
The only real downside is that little ever stick to mind, even though the album is a true pleasure at each and every playback.
The album was recorded and mixed in Moontower Studios, along with owner Javier “Bastard” Félez, guitarist and
bassist in Graveyard etc., while
Cruciamentum's frontman and owner of Resonance Sound Studio, Dan Lowndes, mastered the madness. The
result is gorgeous powerful sound with masterful DR12. In that sense it's natural to compare with Serpents Lair's
the Stillborn, that ended on DR10. The Danes had a more diverse material and a more dynamic style that took better
advantage of high dynamic range. The music had several labyrinths in its wormhole. There was more going on and more that were
remembered. That's the reason - in a nutshell - why Shrines of the Void don't climb higher than 5 points,
although I relish and treasure the album.
It shall also be said that the ears may need some time to adapt. After having listened to other music, I might have
to listen to the opener, First Poison for a few minutes before the sound settles correctly in the ears.
Needless to say, you can, and you will play this loud, using your own volume control.
(Thanks to those involved for fighting against the loudness war, the compression and the clipping!)
There might not be much that attach to an exhausted memory bank in a tired mind, but the album doesn't consist of
captivatingly catchy tunes with visible hooks designed for easy listening, although it's not very challenging to explore
either. The album sounds so nice that it's a delight from the first spin, and from thereon it just goes on way:
Downward and downward in an endless spiral.
The album is elaborate in all aspects, and therefore distinguish itself among all good but unremarkable releases. In
this respect, it encounter low resistance on its path. As a tank Sheidim effortlessly rolls over nail
mats, sandbags and granite roadblocks while twisted steel and wood chips from futile barriers are left in their wake.
Vinyl-fanatics can get their circular dish underlay through Me Saco Un Ojo Records, while CD-fundamentalists
find their plastic coasters at Dark Descent Records.
Via Nocturna, 10.06.16 Zørormr, is a rewrite of Norse “Sør ormr”, meaning “South snake” although I'm not quite sure which deeper
philosophy may lie behind the “Serpent of the south”. The one-man band belongs to Polish Moloch who also
runs the label Via Nocturna. Nevertheless, he doesn't insist on doing everything on his own, and sensibly enough
makes use of guest artists to give his creations the best terms.
After three albums, The Aftermath EP puts a worthy end to the band's first era. Still, I have spent just
as much time with the previous album...
The first chapter of Zørormr's musical history consists of Anguish (2010), IHS
(2013) and Corpus Hermeticum, released in February 2015. The Aftermath consists
primarily of additional material from the period around the making of the latter, but also of surplus material from
previous recording sessions.
Let's first dwell upon last year's album. I had a great desire to write about Corpus Hermeticum already
at that time, something I unfortunately never got around to. When taking my time now to plough through the album with
research as an excuse, however, I was unable to put it aside.
The album consisted of Zørormr's very best material, complemented by solid sound from recording in
amongst other Hertz Studio, and mixing by Arek “Malta” Malczewski, known for his work with
Behemoth et al. Moloch puts down a very respectable effort on guitar, bass, vocals and keyboards. Along with him he's
also got Devilish Impressions-chief Przemysław “Quazarre” Olbryt on guitar and Icanraz
from the same band on drums.
Some guest vocals from Vader & Hermh's Hal on In the Mouth of Madness, and
guest-guitar by King Diamond & Merciful Fate-guitarist Mike Wead in the title track, doesn't
The music is a delightful boiling black metal cauldron, with overtones of an Egyptian ethos, where a refreshing
diversity of vital rhythms and beats, riffs and licks locks the listener in an iron grip while it demands attention in
a demanding manner. Although the music do have moods, it's the insistent instrumentation that dominates. These aspects
still goes hand in hand, along with the sound. Resounding guitars oozes of perilous power-hungriness, while
aerodynamically sharp guitars fly by, but even soft and soaring solo guitars hypnotizes and seduces the listener.
The powerful, fast and accurate drumming, along with the furious vocals, drags the listener down to the ground. Down
below the ground. To the torture chamber.
Technically professional instrumentation holds the command, but the fucking mighty, malevolent moods of sadistic
pleasure should not be underestimated.
The guitars are as myriads of drones under a totalitarian futuristic machinery world order. The drums like darting
runaway 'bots. The vocals, broadcasting rasping orders and commands, just an emulated semi-human version of the last
desperate and hysteric man that was silenced. The regime keeps the last drops of human DNA securely locked away,
although absolutely none would ever have the slightest desire to clone the former dominant and quite stupefying
The metal is about as feisty as technical extreme metal, but with no hint of the same calculated perfection and sterile
feel. The madness may have a semi-machinal feel, but the expression is still entirely organic.
In this work of art lies traces of recognizable character of many others, but only as small drops in a surprisingly
original expression. Ergo, drawing attention to references could practically be considered more like name-dropping than
actual relevant info. The songs are tremendously strong in melody, arrangement and execution, not to mention very closely
welded to a large-scale whole.
That there are remains left from such a display of creativity is almost incredible, but so it does, and that's where
The Aftermath comes into play.
The first four songs stem from the same time, and again showcases lots of the same. The drums, still handled by
Icanraz, are vivid both in variety and sound. The guitars, again by the hands of Quazarre along with our
protagonist, are quick, metallic, stinging and flying projectiles. The vocals, bewitched and possessed. Piano-sequences
that sometimes appear, utterly creepy. The moods, mighty, stand-tall and reckless, filled with disgust.
These four songs might perhaps not be entirely on par with songs from the alum they were rejected from, but
if so, that's only marginally. My only objection is that the guitar solo in The Adversary only lasts
for about 30 seconds, when I could easily have listened to this form of howling barbed wires for hours.
I choose to put very little emphasis on the last two tracks on the EP, and justify my choice with their rightful status
as bonus tracks. Arise Cthulhu, Arise!, from the IHS era may be funny the first time, and any Lovecraft
fan can sing along to “That is not dead, which can eternal lie...”. Yet, the song is simple, the sound is lamentable,
and it can't withstand many listening sessions before it simply becomes annoying. This pre-production demo would perhaps have
worked better if it had been completed with a proper production, but in its current form, it has no value other than to
completists. Alkaloid made a lovely Cthulhu worship, but even the fourth track of this EP, the title track
The Aftermath has moods that could take your mind to R'lyeh, as well as to leaden Finnish
death/doom acts such as Kuolemanlaakso and Vainaja.
I scarcely want to talk about the final and eponymous Zørormr. Perhaps one of the worst self titled
songs ever. It hails from the Kval epoch, and sounds revolting. This is considerably worse than
Arise Cthulhu... in every aspect. The material on the first album were much more inspired by dark
ambient and the implementation seemed largely synthetic.
Besides from the bonus tracks, The Aftermath is a very strong release that follows an album that was on fire.
Corpus Hermeticum deserves 6 points. The four newest tracks on The Aftermath earns
a solid score of 5 points, but even if I do not want to emphasize the last two songs at all, they are there, and they
constitute ⅓ of the whole. I therefore reduce the grade to exceedingly strong 4 points. The average thus comes
to a respectable 5 points, and the last chapter, as well as the summary and conclusion, remain as shiny trophies in a
discography that I hope will be long, vigorous and prosperous.
All three albums can be studied more closely on the band's Bandcamp profile: Zørormr.
Woodcut Records, 01.05.16
This is simply a translation of one of the very first reviews I presented on this site, way back in 2013. The album in
question was released on CD in April that year, and has recently been re-released on vinyl.
I didn't feel like 2013 was the overall best year for black metal, though trve puritans would probably say that no year
since 1993 has been so. Sacrilegious Impalement however blew me away, as I didn't expect that kind of quality from a band I hadn't
heard of before.
The band hails from Suomi Perkele (aka Finland) and have two previous full-length albums on their putrid conscience. This
is raw black metal that combines several typical Nordic elements like tough, stalwart attitude and mischievous moods.
Pace-wise, the band fits nicely into the Finish and Swedish league, with fairly high tempo, although not ferociously fast.
Utterly delightful For Sins of the Pigs, is the most down-tempo song, with some more typically Norwegian atmospheric
passages. It has killer riffing and unpleasant melody lines in unholy harmony.
I would also like to highlight the apt grandiose and grim sound. There is something delightfully arrogant about fiery
ill-tempered black metal that hits you in the face with such a grand stand-tall expression in the sound.
It's hard to be original if you play pure black metal these days, so you'll need strong material combined with technical
quality to stand apart from the crowd. This album is somewhat similar to many others, but not identical to any, and not
very much resembling of any classical reference band. I initially wrote that a comparisons would be a bit pointless, but
you might say that there are hints of Dissection to the melodies, Behemoth in the monumentality and
Marduk in the prime evil expression.
This might not be an eternal classic if compared to existing classics, but in 2016, I still recognise and embrace III
- Lux Infera, as it embraces me with its darkness. With the sheer amount of music that passes through my ears, and
my steadily decreasing memory, that is a sign that should not be underestimated.
The songs are sturdy and have enough distinctiveness to not just reminding of everything else. The instrumentation is also at
the level where it ought to be. Sacrilegious Impalement have definitively succeeded at crafting a killer piece of black magic.
Prophecy Productions, 03.06.16
The two adventurous gentlemen in The Vision Bleak has prepared us for this journal from the beyond via
the travelogue that was in our hands near the end of April. We'll come back to that one. Schwadorf and Konstanz considers The Unknown as a fresh start. Having
sought mysteries and hunted monsters, ghosts and witches on their journey across the seven seas and through Europe's
mountain ranges, ravines and forests, they want to explore new territory and battle inner demons on a journey toward
what even to them appear as uncharted, alien and unknown.
Whether the band's conceptual world is in rapid development or not, I can not say for sure, but the music has retained
its distinctive signature.
For those who do not know the Germans, a form of description may be in place. The band plays a kind of melodic metal with
focus on strong individual, almost catchy songs. The band borrows unashamedly from classical music, pagan black metal or
whatever is appropriate, and conveys quite gothic sounding moods from the dark side. Thrilling mystique is one of their
specialities. It is not uncommon to sense relatively exotic feelings of archaic decadence, uncharted waters or haunted
areas in their distinctive brew. The band can sometimes provide a sense of appearing as some kind of musical brothers
Grimm, itinerant adventurers and hunters of ghosts and vampires, trained by Van Helsing himself.
The two distinguished men could have been taken straight out of Sherlock Holmes' era, but they have aimed their magnifiers
at the supernatural for so long it has become an ever so natural part of their existence. They have however not vouchsafed
much time to their own inner world, and so for them, that is an unexplored universe. The moods the band convey on
their new work are difficult to pinpoint. It's like a feeling of The Unknown, a sense of being lost, but
than again, that's not exactly a newfangled novelty in the realm of The Vision Bleak. The band has always
conveyed moods from the wilderness, the endless ancient old-growth woodlands and wast seas with no land in sight.
What is recognizable, having always been there as an anchor in reality, keeping the ears to the ground and preventing
dissolute madness from fastening a permanently grip, are those memorable melodies, the steady rhythms, the familiar
vocal identity and the melodic guitar, performed with German precision and ditto melodic sense.
Germans tend to have a taste for the traditional classical style, where the songs (hopefully) fit together, while still
keeping their own individual unique expressions, where one can recall and recognize, and even name the individual songs,
and also point out favourites. The Unknown has such character. Consequently, the quality of each song
will have some variation. Some tunes are a bit anonymous, as From Wolf to Peacock, and some becomes
partly repetitive, as Into the Unknown and Ancient Heart. It should be noted that the
latter two contains good mystique and ritual moods respectively that works well. How Deep Lies Tartaros? is dark and resounding with good variety. The interlude Who May Opposer
Me? consists of a peaceful, dreamy combination of the orchestral and acoustic, while closing the The
Fragrancy of Soil Unearthed contains a bit of everything, and stands thus perhaps as the album's most
The two best songs, not surprisingly, are the ones they've already presented on the EP The Kindred Of The Sunset. The title song
from the EP wins by its consistently strong melody and its relatively catchy chorus, and emerges as the quintessential
signature-strong The Vision Bleak song. The price for the most appropriate song title goes to
The Whine of the Cemetery Hound. This is a really dark, sombre and evocative song that touches upon Finnish
death/doom. Besides extensive usage of clean vocals, some black vocals are at times used on the album. On this track,
the vocals ventures down into the basement of the asylum.
The two gentlemen still have their melodic, rhythmic and structural flair upheld. The Unknown nevertheless
becomes slightly schizophrenic, as they traverse through different landscapes in their quest to map the unknown. The
Vision Bleak is a fascinating band who despite somewhat varying quality, where everything ain't equally
exciting, manages to fill 48 minutes with idiosyncratic material and strong, eccentric moods. I appreciate this new
adventure, but I've vacillated somewhat between four and five points. I'm letting the band's originality and good sound
be the thumb on the scale. I have no doubt that other fans of band and/or genre will enjoy the album.
Non Serviam Records, 27.05.16
Swiss Stortregn reminds slightly of Thulcandra, which in turn gives clear associations to
Dissection. We are of course talking about melodic black/death.
The band's first album, Uncreation (2011), mixed aggressiveness and cascading melodies, something the
band also continued with on Evocation Of Light (2013). I was still a little hard on the album when it
was disapproved after 3-4 rounds. I was more efficient, though also less nuanced back then. In addition, I only had the
gradations V and X to work with.
The reason for my critical voice was that the songs felt direction-less and that the album thus became a bit afflicted
by low memorability. The melodies were enjoyable enough, but did not leave their mark. The frantic exhibition, however,
was remembered. Whether it was a fair judgement can be the questioned, but in fierce competition with other albums, I'd
chosen to save my money. Or blow them on a stronger album. It's all about priorities. It was definitely no classic.
Neither is Singularity, or so I'd argue.
Almost three years have passed. Stortregn again delivers an energy bomb of vital brutality in combination
with explosive high-flying guitar melodies and concoctions that can be quite rewarding to lend the ear to. But do they
structure their tunes into short coherent works that fits into the big picture, or do their tunes remain as chaotic orgies
of snippets presented in a random order, before they bounce off the listener like trivialities in a goldfish's existence?
Maybe I spent too little time with the predecessor, and perhaps my taste has changed somewhat, but to me it feels like
the band has placed more emphasis on song-writing this time. The band already master the instrumentation to the fullest,
making directional and purposeful songs the finishing touch that makes an album enjoyable to return to.
Stortregn are still located well below Dissection of the ladder, and Singularity
isn't left standing like a pole in the genre or as a monument to 2016's excellence, but the band is slowly approaching
greatness. With even a little bit stronger focus on comprehensive and meaningful songs that interacts with each
other, the band can, to an even greater extent, grow and expect chart positions.
I say this because I think the Swiss have it in themselves, of which the track Nightside of Eden is a
swell example. All in all, there's a lot of cool and nifty stuff on the album, though not everything having the same class.
The band does such a formidable job on guitars, it's easy to forget about other instruments. The other lads does a good
job, even though parts of the vocal becomes a flaw. Mostly, the vocals works fine, but sometimes it feels a bit fabricated
and grunting, something that doesn't always fit in entirely. It doesn't bother me much, but a few pig howls, like approximately
2:40 into Omega Rising ain't entirely acceptable.
The band has otherwise been visited by several guest artists, including Steffen Kummer
and Simon Girard (Beyond Creation).
Stortregn still doesn't write any true classics, but with Singularity they sport very
good signs of development and progress (including genre-wise, as they've incorporated some flattering tech.death), which
also bodes well for the future. The songs don't just go straight out the other ear. They don't just roam around chaotically
and lost. They don't simply end up as random time interval where the guitars can romp freely. They've got form and shape,
and a plethora of good sequences. Wonderful guitar works also makes the album highly audible. Not great, but absolutely
Listen to Vertigo and Acosmic Ascendant here. The rest will probably surface on
Bandcamp in due time.
ViciSolum Productions, 20.05.16
Israeli Winterhorde have the wits to put quality before quantity, and in many ways surpasses their
previous works, which was in itself well received.
A matter of taste, of course, but the band does things well here, and most people should find much to enjoy.
That it's been six years between releases can be considered much from a band on the threshold of success, but when a
band has made a name for themselves by focusing on quality, having a name that is remembered just might be enough when
the name sooner or later appears on concert posters or other places.
It happened in those days of 2001, whence mankind had left y2k hysteria, and all hope of heavenly solace regarding
it behind, that Winterhorde was born. They debuted with a somewhat time typical, yet a bit primitive
symphonic black metal. Nebula (2006) wasn't blessed with the best sound, but even at that point, the
Israelites showed clever compositional skills. With Underwatermoon (2010), the band had matured more
in their expression, while producer V. Santura (Dark Fortress, Triptykon and more) gave
them a better sonic base for success. V. Santura anew has had ten experienced fingers in the pie as
Winterhorde presents their most ambitious work to date, and he's not the only one.
The album sees the band from its most melodic and progressive side, and smells of concept long way. Unfortunately, I
knew nothing about the more than an hour long work's lyrical background. No information was attached, and information
on the Internet was sparse. We'll get back to what I've managed to scrape together of information.
Already from the intro, a veil of symphonic classicism envelop the album, even without the band utilizing the most
ostentatious orchestral remedies. They have at least used the real thing what violin concerns.
The opening song Antipath has clever structures that testify to good song-writing, while frail melodies
easily find attachment in the mental mire. This is the song Israel should have sent to the Eurovision Song Contest, just
as they should have made use of Orphaned Land a few years ago. (That some people states that one should boycott
Israel, testifies to some form of political engagement. That no one demands a massive boycott of the ESC, testify to an
utter contempt of musical integrity in the majority of the population!)
Subsequent World of Worms, otherwise elaborately flavoured with violin and backing vocals, may very well
be the world's first composition with tasteful integration of the fairly useless electronic instrument theremin.
The album absolutely didn't seem able to live up to my expectations, not at first nor second spin. The album's ten songs,
intro not included, has a typical duration of about six minutes, and there is much, and occasionally quite complex music
to absorb. How much time the Maestro have taken to open the gates wide open, only hell knows, but it took
some time, and there has been hardship along the way.
Just prior to the album's shortest track, the barely three minutes long symphonic snippet A Dying Swan,
with harp, fiddles, drums and backing vocals, it's time for the album's longest opus. 11.5 minutes long The
Heart of Coryphee. This is a song that has just about everything from intricate rhythms, through subtle horn
section to fair female vocals. The title song follows these two closely, and like the opening track again exhibits a
V. Santura may have matured too, for this sounds close to excellent. At times we find ourselves in an intimate
chamber, where we are the only prominent guests to an exclusive performance. But sometimes a storm is brewing. Is it the
music? Or is it dawning madness? The various instruments are located inside a cyclone, where you stand as a conductor on
stage in the centre of the hurricane's eye. Right there, in the storm's midst, you feast your eyes on the magical instruments
that play like the devil's fiddle while spinning around you.
This only happens when I've forgotten to take my medicine, though. Nah. The music is quite dynamic and three-dimensional,
which is reflected in the fairly lively sound, but it's still a bit flatter than strictly necessary due to the low
phonetic dynamic range of only DR5. After original member Alexander “Morgenrot” Feldman was done
producing the album along with V. Santura, the latter mixed the record before Jens Bogren took over
and mastered Maestro in Fascination Street Studios. Which of them we should slap on the wrist
for low dynamics, we'll probably have to decide with rock-paper-scissors.
Maestro is an album that borrows from classical, jazz and progressive rock, in addition to a considerable
amount of inspirational sources. Drops of avant-garde, swing revival and theatrical circus, like Diablo Swing Orchestra
Arcturus appears along the road. Quieter parts with hints of everything from Pink Floyd and Ayreon
to Leonard Cohen via indie pop occurs. The big picture is still made up by melodic, epic and orchestral mixed metal
with strong hints of both black metal, gothic attitude and Hortus Animae.
This cocktail creates a distinctive atmosphere, a cabaret that swings between Greek drama and burlesque, witnessed through
heavily stoned eyes. A dramatic, theatrical film noir, giving a touch of an unfortunate story. The moods that the album gives
me, along with fragments of lyrics, puts me a few hundred years back in time, somewhere in Europe. Perhaps the Viennese, for
this surely revolves around a composer, conductor, musician or instrument-maker. He, I'm guessing, is an unhappy man.
Occupation-related or lovestruck issues? Family tragedy? Dilemmas? Stress? Nerves? Alcohol? Without lyrics, everything
is as unclear as the green mist of the Absinthe-fairy.
In good noir style, I let thoughts be thoughts and opens the eyes just in time to see the sensual silhouette of a voluptuous
potential client shadowplay seductively on the pebbled glass of my office door. But I already have a case. Unpaid, admittedly.
(Cursed be my curiosity.) I must research what I can find out about this concept.
The concept allegedly takes place in Prague, either in the 70s or the 1700s (these Jews ain't always so skilled in English,
and I found that piece of information on a familiar Indian site. They're not always so skilled in
English these Indians either), and supposedly tells the story of a troubled fiddler, mentally unstable and obsessed with
demonstrating his compositional genius to the great masses and making a name for himself across the whole wide world.
The voices in his head guides him in his quest. They're always so helpful these voices. (Yes, we are.) Just who the fuck
can you trust if you can't trust your own five or six personalities? Everything goes to shit, of course. Otherwise this
would have been a Disney short film. There is seemingly a love story in the picture too. Perhaps Disney had a finger in
the pie after all? Sascha “Celestial” Latman, original band member and songwriter, has as a student previously worked with
schizophrenic people, and was inspired by the incredible stories told by a raving mad patient. An unusual, but frickin'
Winterhorde has been joined by many guest artists on Maestro. Most of them local and
not very renown. The most famous characters are Peter Huss from Shining, which deliver a guitar solo on
Through the broken Mirror, and Root vocalist Jiří Valter, better known
as Big Boss, which serves as the album's narrator. That Winterhorde themselves consists of
seven members is clearly not enough when a masterpiece is to be chiselled out in marble.
The man behind the stunning cover art is Israeli Eliran Kantor, and the cover supposedly depicts a key scene in the
concept. A concept that seemingly revolves around the Nazgûl's somewhat retarded, but jovial shoemaker (who unfortunately
had a cold at the time of the portrayal).
Maestro has become a fascinating piece that grow for a long time, and that continuously reveals details
and lets me as a listener become gradually more acquainted as the confidence is built. Much like a budding friendship, in
other words. It hasn't always been pleasant. We argued a bit at first, and Maestro put up a fight, playing hard to get.
After a start marked by violin and mournful, melodic and somewhat epic metal, which gradually gain more majestic black
undertones, like a meeting between My Dying Bride, Forest Stream, The Foreshadowing, Behemoth and Septicflesh,
elements of Gojira-rhythms, poppy Orphaned Land moods, post-metallic sequences, jazz, progressive rock
and decadent avant-garde waltz also eventually sneaks in to the equation. No wonder the subconscious reacts with scepticism.
As we little by little have become friends, the album has grown into a dramatic piece, a rock opera, a musical, an opera,
in short; a rich, evocative and qualitative compositional staging of the finest breed.
With the same schizophrenic indeterminacy as the main character in this play, I have vacillated unceasingly from 4 to 6
points. When almost all the pieces of the puzzle have fallen into place, Maestro stands as a prodigious
complex piece of music, meticulously crafted with tremendous effort. I believe that the very last bits of the puzzle are
hid in the lyrics, and that a top score is well deserved.
Underwatermoon took a look at the wet element. This time it's fire, the burning and glowing inner fervour
that's in focus. The title song could just as easily have been called Fire. Watch the lyric video.
Prosthetic Records, 29.04.16
Swiss Schammasch has attracted their share of well deserved attention both in underground and the higher
spheres with their solid debut Sic Lvceat Lvx and the extremely strong sequel Contradiction.
Their third album is a trilogy in which each part lasts for 33:30.
3 is evidently a number with significance in the quartet's world of spiritual black magic.
So, is third time another charm, or is three a crowd, as oppose to two being good company?
Triangle takes some time to process, but it is not a difficult journey to embark on. It's not a stubborn
donkey, playing hard to get half a dozen times before it's possible to enjoy. When approaching a triple album, I fear that
it's gonna be as exhausting as taming a wild horse. It's not a hopeless task. Not at all. The triplet doesn't feel perpetual.
Nor is it complicated to approach. Rather than becoming a test of patience, as a batch of undrinkable beer that you just
can't throw away, the album glides down like a light beer in the sun straight from the first sip, while details and hidden
layers are gradually uncovered, revealing the depths of Schammasch's incantations.
If the album isn't hard to digest, it's the more difficult to convey. Difficulties finding the right words is one
of the reasons that Triangle is presented more than a week overdue.
The three discs each have their own concept, which are also bound together. I don't intend to go very much in depth.
Some mysticism should remain, as each listener should be able to explore an album like this on their own, but we have to
mention the basic principles behind the three sides of this equilateral triangle, and observe the primary musical lines.
Δ Part 1: The Process Of Dying
The process of dying may seem somewhat turbulent as one moves in and out of consciousness with blurred vision, feverish
daze and difficulty focusing and distinguishing between dream and reality.
The music is a hallucinatory, kaleidoscopic roller coaster of physical discomfort from symptoms and outlandish unclear
mental visions. The music is an occult ceremony around a crater revealing a swirling maelstrom of lava. The rhythm is
compelling and driving, the guitars swarming and spiritual, and the gong wipes out the distinction between this world
and the next. An ominous mood is spreading like a warm, tickling sensation as Schammasch opens not
very much unlike how we know and like them. It's with relief and joy one can ascertain that the Swiss still delivers
the goods in desirable manners, although the regress from a corporeal reality still runs its course.
Δ Part 2: Metaflesh
Section two continues in a similar style, but quieter and less feverish.
The wave peaks are slightly flatten, and dragged out in slower swells as the soul separates from the flesh. When fever
finally let go of your imagination, and the astonishing bright light far, far away becomes clearer, a spiritual revelation
becomes the next post on the agenda.
In the meta-carnal stage, one experience a dreamy state in full spiritual awareness, and one is presented with visions
that the living can not comprehend. Ritual rhythms and choirs fills the air while druids surround your lifeless corpus.
Their chanting fills the ether with a deep humming resonance. Above the Stars of God brings atmospheric guitars reminiscent of Pink Floyd, before the music
in line with the track name moves ever further from the earthly plane and into the ethereal realm. Part two draw to a
close with Conclusion, where moods of the British prog-rock giants anew in evident.
Δ Part 3: The Supernal Clear Light Of The Void
We have left our earthly existence. Every physical rule and cultural norm have ceased to exist.
The shaman's ritual drumming and throat singing leads the soul safely to the other side. A foreign touch of saxophone,
along with exotic folk instruments and ambient elements, creates avant-garde moods through five different tracks that
still feels interconnected.
In The Empyrean, the vocals return, along with a rather dystopian feel. Thus, the trilateral has come
full circle. We've gone through three axes and returned to the starting point.
Summary: Triangle consists of just over one hundred minutes of music divided into three acts, where inequality
between the three elements prevents predictable triangular symmetry. The 16 tracks all have their own unique character,
but still form a very coherent journey, where the continuity is strongest within each segment.
The music moves from 33 minutes of volcanic turbulence, via dreamy ceremonial oscillations, and on to transcendental
moods possessing a singular nature. The triplicity album is slightly different from its predecessors, but I'm still
pretty sure that most existing fans will follow the band loyally through the first two parts. I am almost equally sure
that we'll see some apostasy on the last part. I would had managed fine without it myself.
What is certain is that the band does an extremely good job all the way, and that they despite of 100 minutes of music
has succeeded in composing 16 tracks that both works well individually and in unison. The band has also designed a wide
range of various ceremonial and spiritual moods, which through skilled structuring and well executed performance gives
a deep hypnotic effect, in which the sound plays an important role. The entire album simply sounds esoteric, with particular
focus on the percussion, an important shamanistic instrument through the times, perhaps mainly because we surely must be
allowed to regard creating rhythms by hitting different things against each other as the very first form of instrumentation. Triangle is a very strong album, which actually does not last more than a quarter of an hour longer than
Contradiction. If you embrace this entire trinity, you have a whole lot of music to enjoy for a long time
to come. If you can do with to part 1 and 2, you're still inn for 66:60. (66:60 just feels better than 67!)