samael – solar soul (2007)

(written for encyclopaedia metallum)

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samael and satyricon have striking similarities through their respective musical journeys. samael made their cult black metal classic ceremony of opposites and satyricon nemesis divina. both bands suddenly went rampant afterwards and took listeners completely off guard (bar the ep’s) with colossally innovative and colossally magnificent masterpieces, to the point of inventing new music, with passage and rebel extravaganza. both received immense resistance and criticism from conservative listeners and fans alike (samael even were once booed on stage).

now, being a fan of a band is a curious thing. after a while, one goes beyond appreciation of the music to identification and a feeling of a right to demand. many fans demanded bands to “stay true to their roots”, actually record the same album over and over again. however, appreciation also applies to the artists’ product and the direction they wish to pursue. and that new direction saw both bands travel away from classical black metal (maybe further for samael). while samael delved into cosmic/electronic side and leaving black metal almost altogether (except no clean singing), satyricon went on to strip down the musical structure to a black & roll.

and in their new direction, both made an exemplary album of what they now wanted to do. in this sense, solar soul is samael’s “now, diabolical”, their most successful post – masterpiece release in their newly explored realm. this new music is almost entirely void of the darkness and grim musical structure of the old. instead of faking the darkness they lost or decided to leave or grow out of, samael embrace the new found light. relying on synthesisers and drum programming, solar soul creates a different transcendental atmosphere, but is oh so successful in doing so. we even have hits in alliance, slavocracy and ave! (and a miss in architect).

different, agreed, but innovative and just as majestic, in its own way.

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