For some reason, even though I’m not at all fond of black metal, I decided to do a review on Samael’s latest album, entitled “Above”.

The truth is that I like industrial sounds and given that their previous release was industrial-focused, I reckoned that it might be a good idea to listen to “Above” and give my “non-black-metal” point of view. To my disappointment Samael did something totally different on this one! For some people they might seem to have gone back to where they started from, while for others “Above” is something totally different from anything they’ve ever written in the past. The second point of view is the one I favor as well, since the Swiss Samael are known for surprising the public with unusual style turns.

Even though it’s not my kind of music, I can’t overlook the fact that they’ve worked very hard for the production of this album and whether you want to call it black, industrial or whatever else, “Above” is unique and demonstrates the innovation of Samael at its fullest.

It is a fact that this release could only be a result of Samael’s 22-year experience. Each track is well structured and composed, excellently performed and absolutely great in its own respect. Even though most of the band’s fans will probably be judgmental of the fact that Xy decided to leave aside organic percussion, I will definitely disagree. I like fast and prominent percussions, which give a more dynamic tone to the tracks and combined with the massive guitar riffs give me the ultimate reason why Samael have been here for so long. However, I dislike the melodic black metal mark. For example, in “God’s Snake”, there are wonderful and rich riffs that are somehow loosely chained to melodic black metal sequences, which I find totally unnecessary. To me, given that black metal is not my music at all, it definitely distorts the final outcome!

At the same time, I truly cannot tell which track is the ultimate highlight of “Above”. All of them are equally powerful and they all float around the same idea. At points I get the feeling that they are all very similar in the greater context. Last but not least, I have to say that I strongly disagree with one of Vorph’s recent statements; He stated that “with ’Above’ we stripped everything down”. Well, to me “Above” sounds far from simplified. On the contrary, it’s more complex than anything they’ve ever written, without this being a con necessarily.

As far as the album’s production is concerned, I have to admit that it’s absolutely great! There’s a unique clarity to the sound, which unquestionably adds a lot to the final result. I would advise you to listen to “Above” with an open mind and with no concrete expectations in advance. It’s important to let the music give you what it’s supposed to give you in the first place. After all, it’s all about the music in the end…

Track List Line Up
01. Under One Flag
02. Virtual War
03. Polygames
04. Earth Country
05. Illumination
06. Black Hole
07. In There
08. Dark Side
09. God’s Snake
10. On The Top Of It All
11. Black Hole (Verso Mix)
Xytraguptor: Drums, Keyboard, Programming
Masmiseîm: Bass
Vorphalack: Vocals, Guitar
Makro: Guitar