Samael - Era One review
|Release date:||January 2006|
01. Era One
02. Universal Soul
03. Sound Of Galaxies
05. Night Ride
06. Diamond Drops
09. Above As Below
02. Reading Mind
03. Red Unction
04. Flying High
06. Inside Stairs
07. One With Everything
08. Silent Words
09. Wealth And Fortune
To tell the truth, after the huge disappointment of "Reign Of Light", I wasn't expecting something good from Samael and when I learnt the news about their upcoming album "Era One" I was really curious to find out what they were up to! My expectations were not many, well, to be honest, I was expecting another disappointment from this once great band, but they proved me wrong, this time they managed to release a really interesting album with good ideas.
In "Era One" the guitars are not present, whenever they appear they are on the background, and, to tell the truth, it didn't bother me at all, on the contrary, it was the best choice to do in order for their EBM/Industrial-oriented ideas to sound better. The new Samael album consists of two discs, the basic album, "Era One", and "Lessons In Magic #1", an instrumental ambient electro/EBM disc.
"Era One" opens with the emotional and piano-driver title-track in the most appropriate way, enchanting the listener, preparing him for the electrocuted atmosphere that will follow. The use of the keyboards is really interesting, with some really inspired ideas flowing in your mind after you have listened to the album. The atmosphere they evoke is quite haunting, in a beautiful way, whilst at times the synthesizers evoke a more menacing feeling in the air that will keep the interest of the listener to high levels, I think. Apart from all this haunting aesthetic an emotional approach at times (like on "Diamond Drops" and "Above As Below") is quite vivid and adds a sense of variety to the compositions of Samael, something quite positive since there's no way that you'll feel bored while listening to "Era One". They haven't left behind the oriental passages which are vivid in some melodies or the drums n' percussion, a nice addition that is not being overused for good. Concerning the drumming, Xy has done a really good job and the imposing feeling of the drumming lends groove and power to the compositions, but I would like it to sound more industrial oriented, because that specific sound gives a special touch in the compositions, it makes them sound even more danceable and gives another sense while dancing in the club. Vorphalak sounds quite expressive and offers a really good vocal interpretation with his Rammstein/Laibach-oriented, but in a softer tone, accent. I really enjoyed Samael's danceable and at the same time atmospheric compositions that consist of "New Era", they deleted, up to an extent, from my mind the abomination bearing the name "Reign Of Light".
As for "Lessons In Magic #1", it is an instrumental disc that has either a chill out or more groovy tone. It has its good moments, but from a moment and on it starts to bore the listener. There are bands like Tumor or Combichrist around that have a harder edge and produce better and more intense instrumental compositions that have the power to fill the dancefloors. Samael succeed up to an extent, but they have to work on this sector more and make the chill-out touch of their compositions more beat-and-power driven.
Samael returned with an album that will appeal mainly to the EBM scene or more open-minded metalheads that enjoy electro and the most important thing, for me, was the fact that with "Era One" fixed their fallen, to my eyes, reputation. "Era One" would get an 8 from me, "Lessons In Magic #1" would get an 6.5, so the final outcome gets an 7.25 plus some bonus which makes it 7.5.
Highlights: The groovy and danceable "Universal Soul" and "Night Ride", the emotional "Diamond Drops" and "Above As Below" and the beautifully haunting, fragile and intense at the same time and danceable "Flying High".
||Written on 23.02.2006 by "It is myself I have never met, whose face is pasted on the underside of my mind."|
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