Thursday, 27 April 2017

Samael - Rebellion

SAMAEL - Rebellion (CENTURY MEDIA - CD 1995)
At first I was going to write few words about my favourite Samael record "Ceremony of Opposites", an album that is very important to me and which I love ever since I heard it for the first time back in 1994. But then I realized that no one ever talks about "Rebellion" EP from 1995, so I changed my mind and here's short "Rebellion" review instead.  
Definitely thtime between 1994, when "Ceremony..." was released and 1996, when "Passage" came out, was a period of great change in Samael sound and style. The band had been drastically walking away from their original style and basically became completely different band. "Rebellion" is like a great bridge between both albums. It combines the darkness and harshness of earlier Samael with symphonic and sort of futuristic sound of what was yet to come with album number four. I have to say that I'm big fan of "Ceremony of Opposites" as well as "Passage". I like both albums a lot, so I obviously love to listen to "Rebellion" as well, because there are some fantastic songs on it. 
First there's a title track, which is very much in the vein of songs from "Passage", but yet with the sound and atmosphere closer to "Ceremony...". I love this song, it's so damn catchy and memorable, there are great vocals of Vorph in it, some good keyboard parts. It's still quite harsh and aggressive sounding tune and it's probably one of the last such songs in the long Samael career, which I believe can speak to the fans of their older albums.  
Some of these fans of old Samael may have problems with new versions of old classics "After the Sepulture" and "Into the Pentagram". Some people just don't like to hear their favourite songs in new versions, especially from bands, which used to have such a cold and obscure sound like Samael on their debut LP. And which later went through such a (r)evolution. I don't care, I have no such problems at all and I can only say that they are fantastic re-recordings and they didn't loose anything from their original powerful sound and dark aura. The band redone them in great way, they basically match the "Passage" era perfectly, with keyboards having a big influence on them now... but the riffs still sound great and heavy, I like these versions a lot. 
A real jewel on the whole EP is definitely Alice Cooper's "I Love the Dead" cover. Wow, just wow! What a killer track! I never knew the original song, only few years ago I played it to check what is it like (and I didn't like it so much haha). But damn, Samael did a very good job with it. This song sounds like an instant catchy motherfucker, the chorus, when Vorph sings (!) "I Love the Dead" is awesome and you just have to like it. With the keyboards and relatively not-heavy riffs, this song is very easy to listen to and even your mother will like it, I bet haha 
And everything is completed with two versions of "Static Journey", which is basically an instrumental ambient song. The first version is quite nice orchestral piece, which sounds good as an intro or something. The second version is completely unnecessary in my opinion and I usually skip it. Anyway, I have to say that "Rebellion" is fantastic EP and it is definitely one of my favourite Samael releases. 
Standout tracks: almost all of them! 
Final rate: 90/100

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Unaussprechlichen Kulten - Baphomet Pan Shub-Niggurath

I honestly have great weakness for the music of Chilean masters of obscure death metal with the unpronounceable name Unaussprechlichen Kulten. I love their releases such as the killer split LP with After Death, some of the seven inches they putted out and obviously also the crushing "People of the Monolith" album. I think they're one of the best, if not the best, South American bands of recent years and every new stuff they put out is a must to have for me. "Baphomet Pan Shub-Niggurath" is Unaussprechlichen Kulten's third full length album, from 2014. And first thing, which you will certainly notice, when taking this record in your hands, is, as usual for this band, killer artwork and layout. The artwork is horrid and disturbing, all photographs bring evil and demonic feeling and it all correspondents with the music and its concept perfectly.  
Unaussprechlichen Kulten is one of those bands, whose music is very special. do believe that after all the stuff they released thus far, they managed to create their own, original style, even though it all is deeply rooted in the traditional death metal. First off, it's the whole conceptual matter, which makes it exceptional and sound so bloody fantastic. Unaussprechlichen Kulten comes with deeply involved and truly spectacular concept based on Lovecraft's horrid myths, with all its ancient gods, terrifying creatures, blood freezing invocations and uncanny events. But it's something more than just copying "Madness From the Sea", as Unaussprechlichen Kulten really takes care of their lyrics and concepts, with every new release being another chapter, all written as The Esoteric Order of Dagon. Personally I'm not an expert of these macabre tales, but I have to say that I love this concept and its dark, horrid aura. And I like also that for albums like "Baphomet Pan Shub-Niggurath" the band comes with some short notes, describing what is the text about or based on. All in all, the whole concept of Unaussprechlichen Kulten makes them already the unique band. 
But the music also became fascinating and special. At first it seemed like they were band with just strong Immolation, Incantation, Morbid Angel or Sadistic Intent influence. And sure, they do have a lot in common musically with these legends. But no way is Unaussprechlichen Kulten a copy cat of them and over the years their music became more and more recognizable and original. Their riffs, arrangements and obviously also the atmosphere of the music are exceptional, especially with the brutal, but demonic sounding vocals of Joseph Curwen. Vocals arrangements, with lyrics that combine English, Spanish and R'lyehian definitely work exceptionally good. All these things putted together are a reason why Unaussprechlichen Kulten music sound so fuckin great. 
"Baphomet Pan Shub-Niggurath" is barely 35 minutes long album, but its intensity, aggression and fine death metal riffage (not to forget about the blood freezing atmosphere!) are enough to have a great influence on the listener, as I believe it is impossible not to get impressed with this music. Every song sounds great, playing this record gives you a good dose of energy and real hard kick in the face. It is all impressive, I like the performance of the band, the riffs, with good balance between slower and faster parts, between brutality and some sort of sick, obscure harmonyAnd the production is perfect for this sort of death metal, I think. With songs like "Yogge-SothotheUmr at-Tawil (Creatura Terrae part 1)", "Nomem Mysticum (The Second Oath)" or "The Hooded Baphomet Bleated" it all works perfectly for me and really there's nothing more to wish for. Supposedly there's new album coming in 2017 titled "Keziah Lilith Medea (Chapter X)", and you can be sure that I will want to grab a copy as soon as possible. 
Standout tracks: "Yogge-SothotheUmr at-Tawil (Creatura Terrae part 1)", "Nomem Mysticum (The Second Oath)", "The Hooded Baphomet Bleated" 
Final rate: 85/100