Rating:
7.0
Shemhamphorash - Sulphur
15 December 2009


01. Dark New Cycle
02. Le Possédé
03. Sulphur
04. Shemhamphorash 2.1
05. Hell Redemeer Fire
06. Shining
07. Shemhamphorash 2.2
08. Iluntasuneratz
09. Poisonous Tongues


Produced by Santi Cerni.
Recorded and mixed at Feeback Studios by Cesar J de Cisneros and Santi Cerni.
Mastered by Yvf Roussell.
Vocals on "Poisonous Tongues" recorded at Noctiflorous Studios by Falke.
"Poisonous Tongues" mixed at Ekcentric Studios.


Black metal
Spain
Erzsebet Records / Indar Productions

Line-up on the CD:
Wilhkiem - vocals, guitars, bass
Mikkäl - guitars
Nechrist - drums, vocals


Shemhamphorash is a Spanish occult black metal outfit, formed back in 1996 by Mikkäl, Wilhkiem and Nechrist (both of whom play for Foscor). Sulphur is the band's second full-length album, following up their Emperor-influenced debut, Dementia. With the band members in search of a new sound, perhaps one less influenced by such a dominant band, they landed on a mixture of A Haunting Curse-era Goatwhore and modern Dark Funeral. How this works for the paganistic Spaniards is hard to say, as the music they perform has already been perfected by the aforementioned bands.

They may have escaped the Emperor worship with this release, but it shows no indication that the band is headed in the right direction in terms of originality. That being said, Sulphur is helped by its invocation-esque preludes ("Shemhamphorash 2.1" and "2.2"), which provides the music with a more occult feel than most straightforward black metal bands - a structure they obviously formatted purposefully into their sound. These are far from atmosphere builders however, though there are some melodic elements that help break up the monotony of this overdone style. The melody in Sulphur is best exemplified by "Hell Redeemer Fire", a song that, at times, brings forth comparisons to Deströyer 666. But again, what needs to be stressed here is that every song seems to be one of homage to an already established black metal band, and therefore the influences are picked out without much difficulty.

Of course there are more positive things to say about this album in spite of its unoriginality. The drumming is solid, very murky (in a good way), and not at all annoyingly repetitious. Wilhkiem's vocals range from a beastly snarl to the shrieks of a tortured old man, carrying the album from beginning to end; and the guitar melodies - when present - make for a very smooth listen.

This band deserves to be praised for their impeccable production as well - a perfected process that involved a years' worth of hard work and perfectionism on behalf of the band members. Yet with so much of their time and efforts focused on mastering the sound quality of the album, it seems they forgot to tend to the quality of the actual songs. Considering they play such a direct form of black metal, a style of music that is almost always exempt from production value qualifications, the band should have stressed the importance of originality and songwriting as much as they did with the production value. If that were the case I would be listening to a candidate for the best black metal album of 2009.

Alas, with back-to-back releases too-strongly influenced by other bands, Shemhamphorash is quickly earning a reputation as a copycat band, albeit with an exemplary quality of sound.

Performance: 8
Songwriting: 6
Originality: 5
Production: 9


 



Written on 21.05.2010 by
Troy Killjoy
Just another opinionated guy telling you what to listen to.
More reviews by Troy Killjoy ››



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Mikyz - 21.05.2010 at 19:12  
I'm most likely not going to check this, but I still enjoyed reading the review, and all your reviews for that matter they're very accurate.
The band's name was also worth discovering, I mean if a band wants to be remembered it should at least choose a catchy name but I guess as a copycat band that won't be a problem
Troy Killjoy - 21.05.2010 at 19:15  
Written by Mikyz on 21.05.2010 at 19:12

I'm most likely not going to check this, but I still enjoyed reading the review, and all your reviews for that matter they're very accurate.
The band's name was also worth discovering, I mean if a band wants to be remembered it should at least choose a catchy name but I guess as a copycat band that won't be a problem

Thanks for the compliment.
If you like Goatwhore and/or Dark Funeral, I'd definitely recommend this album based on the fact that it's in the same vein. Even if they have the stigma of a copycat band they are still technically sound musicians and the production rating speaks for itself. At the end of the day the only unique thing about them though is definitely their moniker. Shem...hamp-whore-ash? ham-pear-ish?
Mikyz - 21.05.2010 at 21:11  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 21.05.2010 at 19:15

Thanks for the compliment.
If you like Goatwhore and/or Dark Funeral, I'd definitely recommend this album based on the fact that it's in the same vein. Even if they have the stigma of a copycat band they are still technically sound musicians and the production rating speaks for itself. At the end of the day the only unique thing about them though is definitely their moniker. Shem...hamp-whore-ash? ham-pear-ish?


Well I consider an album to be worthwhile if it has anything even remotely memorable, but this release while having good musicianship and production is only a second-rate of whatever band it is inspired from. But you convinced me to give this a listen.
Visioneerie - 22.05.2010 at 08:40  
Bands will always draw inspiration from their peers, it's inevitable. Music has such a historical and broad path. Btw I won't be checking this album out lol, but nice review.
Troy Killjoy - 22.05.2010 at 16:38  
Written by Visioneerie on 22.05.2010 at 08:40

Bands will always draw inspiration from their peers, it's inevitable. Music has such a historical and broad path. Btw I won't be checking this album out lol, but nice review.

Don't get me wrong, there's never a completely original band. I imagine the first ever musician was just a person inspired to make sounds based on noises they heard doing every day things (the melody of voices, the rolling of thunder, etc.), but when a band sounds as if they're just making the exact same music as another band... It's kind of annoying.

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