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Samael - Passage

1996 Century Media Records :: Reviewed by rofreason on 2005-07-08

Having not followed Samael much since their Blood Ritual album, I was incredibly suprised to find the transition that has evidently taken place within the band. Shedding most of their "evil satan" worship, Samael have realized that they are both competent musicians and briliiant songwriters, shattering the genre to create an opus of epic proportions. Change, of course, leaves much to be desired sometimes, and I can see where longtime devotees of the old school stuff would be turned off here. Gone are major components of the past sound, such as the live drums! However, as much as I can't stand synthesized/electronic percussion, it really works for me here. Maybe it's due to Xy being a kickass drummer as well as key orchestrator, but the drumming is ten times more intricate than it could have been, with pretty realistic sounds (especially since most bass drums are triggered now anyway!!). Now, this is a completely keyboard driven album, but the mix is so awesome, that the guitars just meld into the synthesized sections to create layer upon layer of patterns which swirl into a truly enveloping blanket of sound. Much more akin to industrial metal in sound, but alone in displaying true emotion through song. Vorph's voice remains muscular, but less demonic. The strength is there, but his voice accents without overpowering. Guitar lines are memorable, but it's the sum of these parts which makes this so spectacular. Highly recommended for those into the more experimental side, such as Therion or more recent Tiamat.