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Samael - Lux Mundi
29 April 2011

01. Luxferre
02. Let My People Be!
03. Of War
04. Antigod
05. For A Thousand Years
06. The Shadow Of The Sword
07. In The Deep
08. Mother Night
09. Pagan Trance
10. In Gold We Trust
11. Soul Invictus
12. The Truth Is Marching On

It takes an enormous amount of talent to be able to churn out album after album containing a similar number of songs of similar length, arrangements and structure and to keep the listener interested, especially since the last album of this somewhat unified dynasty is the best one in the last fifteen years. Passage, Eternal, Reign of Light, Solar Soul, and now Lux Mundi - if you look closely, you will notice that 100% of all the songs from these five albums basically have the same length - from 3:12 to 4:55. No shorts, no longs, basically no variety - no guitar solos, no long instrumental passages, no intros, no outros. Metal music stripped down to its essence - verse, chorus, bridge, rinse, repeat.

I have no clue how Samael do it, but their ostensible lack of musical progress never fails to satisfy me. One by one, their albums land in my cd player and spend quite a long time there before something else draws my attention. It's no different with Lux Mundi. Moreover, this last album is easily their best since Passage, which was the first (and arguably still the best) attempt at connecting the old sound with new, adventurous directions. The most recent album sees the formula introduced on Passage refined, pushed slightly forward and perfected.

Black metal is still deeply rooted in Samael's sound, but modern industrial rears its ugly head and accentuates its presence all the time. The connection of the two styles is seamless (like it was before), but this time it sounds exceptionally well. Take the best song on the album, "The Shadow Of The Sword." Powerful, groovy riffs, distinct singing that verges on being infectiously melodic, especially in the chorus, and, as usual, brave and thought-provoking lyrics. This single song shows all the strengths of Samael's music. Actually, it's so friggin good, that it's easily my most listened to song in the last two months. And believe me, there are at least four more songs of similar, stellar quality, and the rest don't lag far behind.

Middle age in the 21st century
Struggling to survive modernity
Trapped in a time of obscurantism
Where minds rely on archaism.

The best active metal band from Switzerland, as opposed to institutionalised religion which they always criticise, has no problem with fitting into the demands of the 21st century. Their thinking about music is modern and archaism-free. With bands like Samael around, the future looks bright.

Performance: 8
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Production: 9

Band profile: Samael
Album: Lux Mundi


Written on 11.07.2011 by
Writes overly honest and totally subjective reviews when fancy strikes him. Which is not often. Which is probably good, all things considered.
More reviews by Daniell ››


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Daniell - 11.07.2011 at 23:03  
In before any comments: I deliberately skipped "Above" in my review due to it being a side project that became a Samael album for reasons unknown to me.
Xim - 12.07.2011 at 00:01  
Written by Daniell on 11.07.2011 at 23:03

In before any comments: I deliberately skipped "Above" in my review due to it being a side project that became a Samael album for reasons unknown to me.

"Above" is supposed to be a tribute to their first two (or three) albums. Anyways good review, I'll be sure to check this album out.
Kenos - 12.07.2011 at 00:06  
Great review.
I like this album. Really. But I always wonder what would have happened if Samael had chosen to gather all the good ideas from their more recent albums ("Solar Soul", "Above" and this "Lux Mundi") into one single work, instead of scattering them during all these years. Think about it: an album full of electronica and at the same time screwed up by the feral vibes of "Above"; all strengthened by "Lux Mundi"'s production and its Passage-like atmospheres.

By the way, "Lux Mundi" is better than "Solar Soul" and "Above" (I consider it a Samael album even though it started as a side project, probably because it's very different in terms of sound and production; but the ideas are always the same, just conveyed in a different way), thus it's a little step forward, yes, but again it's not enough from the authors of "Passage", "Ceremony", "Eternal", "Reign Of Light"...

They should dare. For example, they could try to make less predictable songs, structurally speaking: short and concise songs are good and easier to listen to, but ultimately they seem to restrain the band's potential. I think of "Ceremony Of Opposites": the tracks were always very short, yet the music sounded so instinctive.

One thing about "Lux Mundi" is perfect: the production. Sorychta & co. made an impeccable work here: the sound is massive, but not like the ear-splitting "Above". It's imposing, majestic, dense... Sometimes I listen to this album just for the sake of HEARING it, rather than for its actual content.
BitterCOld - 12.07.2011 at 00:30  
Written by Daniell on 11.07.2011 at 23:03

In before any comments: I deliberately skipped "Above" in my review due to it being a side project that became a Samael album for reasons unknown to me.

the Era One double disk release is/was the side project that the label released as Samael.

i believe Above was just another Samael album.
Daniell - 12.07.2011 at 09:49  
Haha, I have just noticed that the rating I gave to this album is exactly the same as the average rating it has on MS

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