Review Summary: An isosceles triangle in terms of quality, an equilateral in terms of timing. This will go on to be Schammasch's crowning achievement, but it won't be for everyone.
When a band releases an album trilogy all in one go, they're surely taking a big risk. After all, not only is it a lot to take in at once for the audience, but it also exacerbates the same potential flaws a listener can get from experiencing a double album for the first time. That said, album trilogies often stick to an ambitious concept more coherently than a double album. There tends to be more focus, more challenges but above all a stronger willingness to make the discs/album parts stand out from each other. Such is the case with Schammasch's latest effort, Triangle
, which will likely prove to be one of Schammasch's crowning glories.
is a bit like a stodgy sandwich, with an incredibly delicious filling. The two pieces of bread (in this case, discs one and three) seem too overfilled with the sort of ingredients which make you sick after a mere few seconds, whereas the filling itself is enough to leave you wanting more. Where am I going with this? I'll get straight to the point: Disc two, because of its obviously better quality as a whole, seems to cloud disc one and three a little too well. Disc one revels in its seemingly mesmerizing homage to latter day Melechesh and The Satanist
-era Behemoth, and Disc Three is almost completely ambient, so much so that it's hard not to feel like you're forcing yourself to hear the album through to the end. Disc Two however, constantly keeps you in a state of various emotions, at times even driving the weaker listeners to tears because of its consistently raw emotional impact. I'm not saying that The Process of Dying
and The Supernatural Clear Light of the Void
here don't each have their own moments of excellence-far from it. It's just that Metaflesh
seems to stand out so well, that its predecessor and successor are almost eclipsed as a result.
Putting this aside, there's a lot to appreciate with Triangle
. The choral chants, the quite inquisitive lyrics, the harmonic clean vocal effects, the frequent bursts in rhythmic tension...all these and more are frankly lovely additions to Schammasch's ever-progressing songwriting and performance ethics. On songs such as "Metanoia" and its frankly flawless successor "Above the Stars of God", Schammasch reach their own creative high by producing a sound which is virtually unmatched by any other band. Lyrically, the band are on point: 'I know these roots are sprawling/For benediction comes through him who is in all/I feel them flowing through my veins/I feel them slowly breaking chains' croons frontman Chris S.R. amidst a barrage of wildly evocative black metal, whereas elsewhere the narrative speech really explodes when the instrumentation is turned down (check "Cathartic Confession" in particular). Musically, Schammasch utilize something of a safe bet in producing repetitive albeit hypnotic build-up moments for longer songs such as "Above the Stars of God" and "Consensus". Alas, this seems to go downhill because of the much weaker moments in "Awakening from the Dream of Life", a not-so-fitting closer to the first disc, and "Satori", which sticks out like a sore thumb amongst its obviously stronger counterparts. As well as this, there are frequent moments in Triangle
's 100-minute runtime where you question whether or not an album trilogy was necessary. Why not simply a double album? Why not release each part of the trilogy periods of time apart?
But of course, you can't forget that Schammasch have displayed a deeply emotional and ambitious concept here, and have rightfully taken the time to do so. Whilst Triangle
is not without its flaws, it is something which will undoubtedly prove unique to Schammasch's future career. That said, no future ambition will prove more important than this for the band. They have created something which, particularly the band's fan-base, will prove timeless and an incredible starting point for newcomers. Then again, future releases may not be so hard to get into at first.