Schammasch
Contradiction


4.5
superb

Review

by Evok USER (32 Reviews)
January 31st, 2017 | 29 replies


Release Date: 04/28/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: ...for I consciously perish in the bright shining embers of the golden sun.

Have you ever felt there was an album out there in the aetheric dimensions of soundwaves that would completely redefine and reshape everything you thought you knew about music" Unbeknownst to the ears, yet hiding in plain sight... a work of music that would rise above every masterpiece that has graced your mortal ears to stand steadfast - if even for a fleeting moment - as the very pinnacle of spiritual engagement manifest through sound. For many like myself, Schammasch’s sophomore effort, Contradiction, stands nobly among the ranks of such lauded masterworks.

In these modern times, a defining existential weariness is easy to come by as we lambaste in the throes of social decay and profiteering alarmism. It wears on the soul and brittles the bones, yet the common human trait of seeking divinity and empowerment, whether a conscious effort or subconscious manifestation, is something that still holds true in these times of idolatry and confusion. Schammasch are clearly well versed in these esoteric waters of the immaterial relations between earthly realms and the seat of our souls - this penultimate duality of knowing and unknowing that underscores the woes of all humanity. With this grand purpose of illumination guiding their hands, Schammasch have offered us a wholly transformative and purposeful ritual acknowledging the contradiction of divine beings desiring for a divine grace beyond themselves. If you will, a universal ode to the last vestiges of ignorance and a harbinger's hymn to the rising of the light within us all.

Split in two halves by the hauntingly elysian interlude "Crown", the dualist structuring here is less a lateral journey than it is an observation of left and right hand path philosophies, moving in tandem and parallel as complementary forces of unification through a common consciousness. With this in mind, there is a veritable Mariana's trench of thought provoking elements that form this modern masterpiece.

Rooted heavily in blackened death metal, the influences are clear. Dashes of the familiar Behemoth and Triptykon run through its veins. However, emphasis must be made upon the fact Schammasch haven't settled for paying tribute to the lesser realms of this world in the slightest, and instead have transcended the sum of their parts with a genetic progressiveness punctuated with intrinsically purposeful and meticulously crafted compositions.

Though the kvltists of yesteryear will cry against the sheen of its production, Contradiction's mastering is second to none. Tool's magnum opus Lateralus immediately comes to mind when the steam of the title track begins to suck you in. The harmonizing guitars resound on sacred wave lengths and the drums induce feverish trance with their gnostic, multidimensional movements. The resplendent richness and depth of this album’s layers is so flavourful its borders on ostentatious while beckoning your attentiveness at ever climbing volumes. It really does sound perfect; decadent and illustrious with a garland of triumph coursing to the heartbeat of the occult icaros. Every nook and cranny of the soundscape has a lesson to teach and instead of relying the usual sonic haze to illicit mystery, Schammasch opt for kaleidoscopic songcraft and supremely esoteric lyricism to carry the weight of the less-than-immediate joys this album has to offer.

Every musician's performance is unified by a common goal, and through its runtime, Contradiction is void of self-congratulatory showmanship and needless frivol. Every note, every progression and spoken word is executed with the utmost certitude. The strings weave effortlessly through infinite labyrinths of balanced melody and dissonance, resonating flawlessly and patiently building into cathartic climaxes and infernal bursts of golden victory. With an equally divine drumming display, Boris A.W. shows the restraint of a Tibetan monk, with each percussive hit serving its part but never falling victim to a desire to cavort. The percussion balances forces of Neurosis-esque tribal hypnosis, metronomic outbursts of weaponized aggression, and humbly intricate beguilement. Playing as if they were one mind divided among the instruments, they work to induce vivid and evocative imagery of flowing sacrificial blood, golden temples, and the rituals of high priests transmuting to the nameless voids of the afterlife.

Christopher Ruf’s curation offers one of the most breathtakingly pedagogic vocal performances in recent memory. His Swiss accent only compliments an already esteemed conviction that will confound and entice even the most seasoned metalheads. Dusty yet lavish, his engaging voice carries the lyrical depth of his wisdom with unmatched diction. In lieu of the aridity of his delivery, every word is annunciated with the passion of a prophetic connection to the esoteric realms of the afterlife, and every word is clearly understood with seemingly telepathic clarity. Haunting cleans and Gregorian chanting frequently accompany to great effect, and punctuate the sermon at essential moments to elicit the sensation touching true divinity, creating a contradiction in itself; both wholly god-like and serpentine in equal parts, simultaneously.

No anguish left to feel, learning to forget wherefore
No use of speaking anymore, for the world turns without sound
Though nothing is stranger to men than silence, even as a star became the soul of silence most profound
Singing songs of serpent silence, even as a star became the soul, of silence most profound
It was absolute
No voice, no song might pierce or penetrate that enviable universal state
The sun and moon beheld, stood still, forging numinous instant under will
As we were sailing out of equilibrium
On a spiritual ocean without end, into the eyes of a thousand storms
The wheel of desperation, that never stops turning
We will never reach heaven, so I teared god apart within me
And we may never see the sun again, but staring into the abyss with pride
Praising silence as the last remaining joy, still waters run deep


The climactic moments on this album are placed brilliantly beside builds that entrance and captivate, offering orgasmic releases of tension. The patiently vitriolic second track, "Split My Tongue" is but one example of how Schammasch can take a slow burning candle and set an entire forest ablaze with a blasting crescendo hotter than a million suns. Moreover, "JHWH" (the monolithic 17 minute conspectus that draws the album's final section) is one of the most provocative and awe-inspiring finales in the history metal. A slithering orgy of tense blood-ritual slowly mazes beneath a spoken observation highlighting the cruelty of the creator man has crafted in his own image. Before unleashing the climactic splendour that brings the listener to heights that stand far above the God they have so desperately worshiped, a slight reprieve of acoustic guitar signals the fast-approaching arrival of a revelation. What follows can only be considered absolute musical perfection, and creating a chasm between darkness and light that is unspeakably divine and emotionally cathartic. Rife with perpetual dynamism, each and every track has moments of brilliance that stand out to make this double LP an insidiously engrossing sacrament from start to finish.

The long and short of it is this; Contradiction is true to its name in almost every sense of word. Polarities run deep to form a complete work of philosophical art drawing contrast between the bestial and the divine, the indulgent and the restrained, the unified and the divided, the conscious and unconscious. Schammasch make music with a purpose bigger than themselves and it drips from every single note and every single word. A crown jewel at the heart of modern metal, Contradiction is well worth the hyperbolic praise, and stands as album that will continue to reveal secret wisdom long into the sands of time as an immortalized vessel of illumination.



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user ratings (47)
Chart.
4.1
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
Evok
January 31st 2017


7660 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Okay I got a little long winded but I really didnt want to do Schammasch the diservice of being unthorough.

Digging: Vanum - Ageless Fire

ramon.
Contributing Reviewer
February 1st 2017


2904 Comments


so uhhh... did you like the album then?

Evok
February 1st 2017


7660 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

No.

Dedes
February 1st 2017


6147 Comments


Goddamn you gave this some hefty praise, definitely will listen to my man.

Digging: The Secret - Solve Et Coagula

Evok
February 1st 2017


7660 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Aww yeah do it up! Triangle is an amazing sequel to this as well, and really continues the esoteric narrative of their philosophy.

CaptainDooRight
February 1st 2017


2639 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Pos on the review my friend. I haven't jammed this in a long while



Gonna soon though

Flugmorph
February 2nd 2017


20649 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i clearly wronged this album before

Flugmorph
February 2nd 2017


20649 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i hear some obvious neurosis influences in split my tongue and its glorious

Flugmorph
February 2nd 2017


20649 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

its Triptykon, not Tryptikon btw



overall wordy and engrossing review, even though the praise is a little overbearing at times.



i dont know what i thought back in 2014 when i gave this album a 3.0, it really is close to perfection but i like the first half more than the second

Evok
February 2nd 2017


7660 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah i definitely got a little more shamelessly poetic about it all than I probably should have but whatever, I fucking love this band.



Will fix that mispell, cheers!

StarlessCore
February 2nd 2017


5876 Comments


false hype

Evok
February 2nd 2017


7660 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Says the guy with six Suffocation albums 5/5'd

Flugmorph
February 2nd 2017


20649 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

lol

Evok
February 5th 2017


7660 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

*bump for Schammasch*



...and Triangle is an equally amazing album.

Flugmorph
February 5th 2017


20649 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

still like triangle a bit more, i love the concept and the overall flow and refinement there

Evok
February 5th 2017


7660 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Oh man, have you seen the concept art in the booklets and vinyl foldouts? Seriously, Triangle is a work of modern art in the highest sense as well. I've yet to see a band flesh out their concept with such astute clarity and depth. These guys really tackle some big ideas with their music and never get lost in the grandiosity of their ambitions.. ever. Its incredible.

Flugmorph
February 5th 2017


20649 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

only got the cd version of triangle but yeeee boi, art there is really something.

Evok
February 6th 2017


7660 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I wanna crawl inside the artwork and just live in it. UNFF why must they be so enchantingly epic in everything they do>

FullOfSounds
February 6th 2017


15770 Comments


Dude the very beginning of Triangle hypnotizes you in

Evok
February 6th 2017


7660 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

...yeah and keeps you there until the third cd ends lol. when I die i wanna go to schammasch.



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