Samael
Hegemony


4.0
excellent

Review

by DatsNotDaMetulz USER (50 Reviews)
October 14th, 2017 | 15 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Samael take a dip into their history to show us where they are in 2017.

It’s been a long 6 years since Samael last released an album, 2011’s impressive Lux Mundi. Things have changed a bit since then. Along with a move from Nuclear Blast to Napalm Records, they’ve also celebrated 20 years since their breakout album Ceremony of Opposites and started their own side project, W.A.R, to perform songs from their first two albums (Worship Him and Blood Ritual). Along with this, there’s been a change on bass duty. Mas left the band in 2015 to focus on family, so former Sybreed bassist Drop has entered the fray. This would all inevitably lead to a lot of ideas for a new album, and now, at long last, we have Hegemony to show us where the industrial black metallers are at in 2017.

Considering all I’ve just said about the 6 years between this album and the last, it’s interesting to note how the opening title track to Hegemony feels more like it could have come from the Reign of Light era of Samael, with a similar style of riffing and Xy’s synths evoking the same sort of industrial centric approach that they were taking over the turn of the century. Contrast this with the more brutal cuts “Angel of Wrath” and “Black Supremacy” which seem to have taken influence from their mid-90s output, or the Solar Soul-esque approach of the self-titled track “Samael”, and it’s perhaps fairer to say that on Hegemony, Samael are looking back throughout their past and giving it a modern take, to create the ultimate summary of their sound.

There is definitely a lot more aggression overall on Hegemony compared to a lot of their modern output (Above aside). While the pace rarely steps outside of their normal mid-tempo range, there seems to be more energy and focus on the overall impact of the song now, with multiple layers that you may miss on your first listen but can provide something new on repeat listens, completely altering the dimensions of the tracks. The way that “Rite of Renewal” contains all these subtle layered guitars, and shifts between simple-yet-heavy riffs and energetic grooves, is a good example of just how much thought Vorph and Xy have put into how they structured and textured each track on this album, and that they’ve set out to reward repeat listeners. “Black Supremacy”, a track about how beneath everything at the end, darkness will always reign supreme (so leave your politics out of it), sits as another standout track on the album too, containing all the speed and rage of Above with a huge and catchy chorus that sounds like it was purpose built for their 1996 opus Passage.

Everything on Hegemony has had a ridiculous amount of thought put into it by the guys in Samael. The lyrics all seem to recur around themes of the state of humanity in the 21st century, without delving into political lyrics. The songwriting is more nuanced than before, containing all kinds of layers and subtle twists and turns which you may not notice first time around, but will pick up on over time. And the track order makes sure every track is perfectly placed to have an impact. While the first half of the album built up to the energy of “Black Supremacy”, the second half focuses more on drama and intensity of a different kind, with “Land of the Living” being one of the most intense tracks on Hegemony despite being nowhere near the heaviest or fastest. And closing track “Helter Skelter” is perhaps the oddest track on the album, being a cover of none other than The Beatles, which comes completely out of the left field. However, unless you really pay attention, you may not necessarily notice that it is a hit single penned by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, as Samael have completely deconstructed and rebuilt the song in their own image, making it almost unrecognisable from the original, but in a good way. It’s a truly unique interpretation of the song which makes it slot in seamlessly with the rest of the album, and into Samael’s overall discography.

The only real issue here, is that Hegemony feels somewhat like a retrospective, not really throwing in too many curveballs or offering anything truly new to the patented Samael sound. It’s still diverse, as different parts of the album seem to cover a different era of the band, but that’s about all they do, giving a modern approach to classic eras. It would have been nice to see them provide something truly new and unexpected for listeners, but it still remains that on this album, Vorph and Xy have created an album that’s perfect for long time fans and new listeners alike.

Attribution: http://youngbrokepissed.blogspot.co.uk/2017/10/album-review-samael-hegemony.html



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user ratings (18)
Chart.
3.5
great
other reviews of this album
Willie STAFF (3.5)
While it isn’t enough to restore Samael’s previous lofty position, Hegemony is definitely their ...


Comments:Add a Comment 
DatsNotDaMetulz
October 14th 2017


3365 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaand another new review. Been without internet for a couple of weeks while my new broadband provider at uni sets up.

DatsNotDaMetulz
October 14th 2017


3365 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Oh cool this is my 50th review on this site.

DominionMM1
October 14th 2017


15184 Comments


will have to give this a listen at some point

SoilPethSymmetry
October 14th 2017


9 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I’m a bit torn on this album. I mean it’s good, but I certainly expected much better. Rite of Renewal and Angel of Wrath are great though.

zaruyache
October 14th 2017


17895 Comments


Oh sweet I didn't think this was out yet. Jammingggg!

Willie
Moderator
October 14th 2017


17302 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is a good album, but they could have been so much more if they had chose a different course after Passage. Eternal was such a let down after such a classic release, and then the time between albums and the level of quality after that just never allowed the band to recover.

Digging: Adimiron - Et Liber Eris

zaruyache
October 14th 2017


17895 Comments


Sad But Truuu-uuuuue.

DatsNotDaMetulz
October 14th 2017


3365 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I was definitely caught off guard by the Beatles cover at the end though

Scoob
October 14th 2017


2973 Comments


Is this metal

Willie
Moderator
October 14th 2017


17302 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It's metal/black metal with industrial influences.

Tomstein
October 15th 2017


87 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I like the mix of Reign Of Light,Solar Soul, and Lux Mundi on this album.

budgie
October 15th 2017


3617 Comments


how similar is this to worship him, that album is godlike

Willie
Moderator
October 15th 2017


17302 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nothing Alike.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
October 15th 2017


7605 Comments


Need to give this some proper spins, just heard it once.

In Tomstein’s album name dropping, I would also add Passage

Digging: Fleurety - The White Death

Willie
Moderator
October 15th 2017


17302 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

IMO, this is basically the natural progression from Passage. I don't really hear any of the other albums; especially Lux Mundi. In hindsight, Lux Mundi was basically a neutered by-the-numbers version of Passage (which still ended up being good) so of course this sounds like that album.



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