Samael
Hegemony


3.5
great

Review

by Willie STAFF
October 16th, 2017 | 23 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: While it isn’t enough to restore Samael’s previous lofty position, Hegemony is definitely their best since Passage.

Samael could have been recognized as one of the revered 90s black metal acts. Their name could have been grouped together with such classic acts as Mayhem, Emperor, and Enslaved. Each band took the black metal foundation and found a way to create their own unique version of the genre. Samael did this by slowing the tempos and emphasizing a rhythmic percussive attack. Their third album, Ceremony of Opposites is widely considered a staple of the 90s black metal movement, and is a near-perfect culmination of the band’s original sound. Instead of being satisfied, though, Samael decided to take their rhythmic black metal formula and push it even further. They accomplished this by adding a huge layer of synths and replacing live percussion with programmed drums. This change definitely confused fans, but Passage quickly became known as a pinnacle of Samael’s discography. Unfortunately, it was all downhill from there. On the next three releases, the band stripped their sound of all black metal influence and entrenched themselves in industrial. None of Samael’s industrial releases were inherently bad, but they definitely lacked the intangibles that had originally made the band great.

As if realizing this, Samael came roaring back with the ferocious industrialized black metal of Above, followed shortly thereafter by the Passage-lite of Lux Mundi. Although Lux Mundi was a step in the right direction, as it did attempt to return some of the classic flair, it still felt a little neutered and by-the-numbers; basically, Passage without the passion. Hegemony doesn’t have those problems and it certainly doesn’t lack in passion. From the opening moments of the title track to the final moments of “Storm of Fire”, the guitars dominate with huge aggressive riffs, and the percussion is powerful and varied moving between metal and industrialized rhythms at will. Perhaps the most surprising improvement, though, are the vocals of long-time vocalist Vorph. Beginning with Eternal, Vorph started to transition towards a vocal style that was spoken-word driven and effects reliant. Even when Vorph brought back the growls on Lux Mundi, they still felt weak compared to what they once were. That’s definitely not the case this time around. On Hegemony Vorph has fully embraced the visceral black/death growls that were so powerful around the time of Passage.

It’s hard to talk about Hegemony without constant comparisons to Passage because the two albums are firmly rooted in the same formula. They both feature an industrialized percussive rhythm, fat power chords, vicious growls and the spirit of black metal (if not occasionally the sound). Within the framework of Samael’s discography, Hegemony is the natural progression of everything that made Passage a classic with only minor nods to anything that happened between the two releases. As it is, 15 years late, Hegemony is a great release that finally embraces the nostalgia of the band’s long-time fans. If Samael truly want to experience a musical renaissance, though, they need to do more than simply rehash a sound they should have kept nearly two decades ago. I believe they still have the talent to do so, and Hegemony proves they still have the drive.




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user ratings (18)
Chart.
3.5
great
other reviews of this album
DatsNotDaMetulz (4)
Samael take a dip into their history to show us where they are in 2017....


Comments:Add a Comment 
Willie
Moderator
October 15th 2017


17302 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I would have liked to do a little more thorough of a review, but the promo was stream only, so I didn't really get to listen to it all that much before it was released on Friday.

Digging: Adimiron - Et Liber Eris

JWT155
October 16th 2017


13600 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm really digging this.

Willie
Moderator
October 16th 2017


17302 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Have you heard any of their other albums?

JWT155
October 16th 2017


13600 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Solar Soul and Above are the only other two I've listened to in the past, which record of theirs would you recommend to listen to next?

Willie
Moderator
October 16th 2017


17302 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'd recommend Passage for something similar (but better) to this, and Ceremony of Opposites for their final black metal release.

Flugmorph
October 17th 2017


17465 Comments


yeah i dont think this is that good

Digging: Converge - The Dusk in Us

Egarran
October 17th 2017


4143 Comments


Was a huge fan, am afraid to listen.

Digging: Mesarthim - .- -?.?.?. .?.?. . -. -?.?-?. .

Hawks
October 17th 2017


51983 Comments


Def gonna jam this soon. I've only heard Ceremony of Opposites and Lux Mundi but both slay.

Digging: Gamma Ray - Land of the Free

Willie
Moderator
October 17th 2017


17302 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

--yeah i dont think this is that good --

Do you like their other industrial-style releases? That could make a big difference.



--Was a huge fan, am afraid to listen.--

If you're a huge fan, you'll like this.



--Def gonna jam this soon. I've only heard Ceremony of Opposites and Lux Mundi but both slay.--

Dude. Check out Passage.

DatsNotDaMetulz
October 17th 2017


3369 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I think it's a good culmination of all their releases since Ceremony. Would've been nice to see something new though.



Also surprised to see how many people failing to notice Helter Skelter is a cover of The Beatles.

Egarran
October 17th 2017


4143 Comments


Well, title track and Red Planet are so mediocre. I don't know why I would like this.

I wonder if Passage has aged well for new ears.

Willie
Moderator
October 17th 2017


17302 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

--I wonder if Passage has aged well for new ears.--

That's a good question. I'd like the opinion of someone that hasn't really bothered with this band before to check out Passage and see if it stands the test of time or if it's just nostalgia.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
October 21st 2017


7605 Comments


I agree with your arguments Willie, "Angel Of Wrath" for example could easily be in Passage.

Digging: Fleurety - The White Death

Willie
Moderator
October 21st 2017


17302 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah. It's definitely a good album, but at this point in the game I really wish they'd take this sound and do something different with it.

MayhemWithMercy
October 21st 2017


4194 Comments


So I haven't heard this band since Ceremony of Opposites, which was fucking awesome. How does this compare?

Willie
Moderator
October 22nd 2017


17302 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Shit. It's basically a totally different band. There's way more keyboards, industrial influences and programmed drums, and fatter riffs. Basically, the only thing you might recognize from Ceremony are the vocals.

MayhemWithMercy
October 22nd 2017


4194 Comments


Damn. Is there even any BM left here?

Willie
Moderator
October 22nd 2017


17302 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

There's some black metal atmosphere similar to Ceremony, but not the cold feel that Ceremony's production gave it.

MayhemWithMercy
October 22nd 2017


4194 Comments


Should I check any of their previous stuff if I want to jam this? To update on their sound maybe?

Willie
Moderator
October 22nd 2017


17302 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The album right after Ceremony is Passage and that's kind of still black metal and this album is kind of a progression from that album.



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