Samael - Ceremony Of Opposites review

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Band: Samael
Album: Ceremony Of Opposites
Release date: February 1994

01. Black Trip
02. Celebration Of The Fourth
03. Son Of Earth
04. Til We Meet Again
05. The Mask Of The Red Death
06. Baphomet's Throne
07. Flagellation
08. Crown
09. To Our Martyrs
10. Ceremony Of Opposites

In my opinion, Samael's first two albums - Worship Him [Osmose, 1991] and Blood Ritual [Century Media, 1992] were fairly standard and unremarkable works. Of course, there was an increased level of conviction and delivery from the first to the second, but the haunting, occultic darkness the band were trying to portray ultimately failed to fulfill its intentions, with only a moment here or there hinting that this band were to become something truly special in the underground metal scene.

Adding keyboardist Rodolphe H to the lineup, Samael's third album, Ceremony Of Opposites, is the album that finds the band leaving the realm of the musically mediocre and entering the realm of the sonically supreme. Here, Samael have now mastered the art of combining dark, claustrophobic atmosphere with potent songwriting, each song a poisonous dart right through the soul. Sporting a powerful production provided by Waldemar Sorychta at Woodhouse Studios, Ceremony Of Opposites is the sound of a band realizing and exceeding its potential.

Within album highlights ''Til We Meet Again' and 'Crown', there can be heard some of the most powerful, spine-tingling moments in Metal history. When guitarist/vocalist Vorphalack venomously spits "...of sensing the weight of time, past and FUTUUUURREEEEE!" and "this profound and absolute darkness, which I have dreamed of for so LOOOOOONGGG!" in ''Til We Meet Again', the hair stands straight up on the back of my neck. When his deadly rasp is heard in 'Crown' screaming the line..."There is a glory in humiliation, a throne to be taken, A CROWN TO WIN!!!, HEEEERRREEEE!!!!", chills run up and down my spine. Moments like this appear in every song throughout the album. The guitar sound is thick and heavy, never venturing into solo land, and the rhythm section of bassist Masmiseim and drummer Xytras rumbles along with crushing force, never venturing into high-speed territory, preferring to attack with mid-paced to slow, albeit no less deadly, tempo. Rodolphe's synth work adds a new dimension to the Samael sound, bringing a symphonic, marching to war feel to much of the material [The intro to 'Baphomet's Throne', moments within 'Crown' and 'Flagellation']. The atmospheric darkness that the band have attempted to deliver on earlier releases is now fully realized here with Rodolphe's keyboard mastery.

Never really a true Black Metal act, Samael possess certain aspects that appeal to fans of this genre, most notably within the band's mysterious image and lyrical content. While the themes expressed in a song like 'To Our Martyrs' are about as blasphemous as can be found, the lyrics are scripted in a much more intelligent manner than the vast majority of what can be read in the average Black Metal lyric sheet. Vorphalack is obviously well-read in the subjects he chooses to write about, usually exploring these concepts with a philosophical slant leagues beyond his so-called peers.

Every song here is delivered with conviction and power the likes of which have merely been hinted at on the band's prior works. While many believe Samael's ultimate performances would be realized in their works that followed, I am of the opinion that Ceremony Of Opposites is nothing short of Samael's finest work, as well as a bonafide Metal classic in every sense of the word.

Written by Allen | 19.09.2003


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.


Comments: 6   Visited by: 140 users
19.02.2007 - 04:00
Account deleted
Excellent review man, I agree that this is Samael's best album and one of the best dark metal albums ever. "Blood Ritual" was OK and "Passage" was excellent, but "Ceremony" is as good as it gets. Every self respecting metalhead should own this one.
11.04.2008 - 03:53
Yeah !!!!!! I can't get tired of listen to black trip and wave my hair with that metal anthem, it's so dark and evil so black

but I kind of respect their recent work, but they are into a "dance, dance" stuf nowdays
06.06.2008 - 04:40
Liver Failure
i didnt like the first two works.. almost fell sleep listening.. this one is a little better thou. No doubt that its very dark, but as you said ''never really a true black metal act''.

member of the true crusade against old school heavy metal, early 80s thrash, NWOBHM, traditional doom, first and second wave black metal, old school death metal, US power metal, 70s prog rock and atmospheric doomsludgestoner. o/
04.12.2009 - 06:31
IMO, the BEST Samael album. I loved Blood Ritual, but I find Ceremony of Opposites to be more polished and overall better. So many amazing, memorable songs.
07.10.2011 - 17:35
This is Samael's finest and one of better albums in metal history... Ever!
Beware the Shadows of Dusk
20.10.2017 - 23:39
Interesting review!

Long time ago I started my Black Metal journey from Samael's first three LP's...

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