Here we have a bold, monster of a release; divided into three parts, each lasting about 35 minutes, the entire body of work clocks in at a massive 105 minutes in length.
Schammasch play forward-thinking music that’s rooted in Black Metal, but also visits other styles such as Doom, Post-Black Metal and Progressive Metal.
The production on the album is flawless and well-judged, giving the band the creative space necessary to pull off this ambitious project. And pull it off they do.
The first third of the release is called Part I : The Process of Dying. The six tracks that make up this movement are sophisticated, modern Black Metal, building intensity and atmosphere through layered guitars and evocative content.
Deep vocals growl and snarl their way through the layered nuances of the music, although the singer uses his voice in quite a diverse way as he shouts, chants and appeals to occult forces.
The dark atmospherics are artfully retained throughout these 35 minutes and despite the different tracks that make up this section of the album, Schammasch manage to easily keep a similar mood alive for the entire duration. Each song explores a different facet of the band’s eerie, emotive Black Metal, and although they can be taken separately, should really be absorbed as a whole for maximum effect.
It’s an impressive combination of Mayhem, Blut Aus Nord, Watain, Deathspell Omega and Behemoth. If this was the entire album it would be Hellishly good, but we’re only a third into it so far…
We now move onto Part II : Metaflesh. This section ramps up the atmospheric Post-Black Metal intensity, all cloaked in darkness and layered richness, and introduces more diversity into the mix. Building on what they have produced with Part I, Part II develops a more intricate and progressive side to the music, adding in some elements of bands like Akercocke and Enslaved to the previous mix of influences.
As well as more exploratory chantings, the singer now has free rein to unleash his clean vocals atop the emotive riffing. His performance on this album continues to be ridiculously varied and impressive.
The drums are increasingly intense, whether this be blast beats, building rolls or tribal beats. I like my percussion well-played and the drummer of Schammasch excels.
If anything, Part II is even more enjoyable than Part I. But we’re not done yet…
We now enter Part III : The Supernal Clear Light of the Void, the last movement of this album.
Here the band get to explore their more experimental side, with ambiance, Post-Metal and Drone influences being driven to the fore. This ably demonstrates that the band’s already wide-ranging repertoire reaches even further than previously shown.
Ambient soundscapes and atmospheric auras are the order of business here, with soft vocals, (both male and female on occasion), drifting in and out of existence. Building and fading, waxing and waning; this part of the album is purely concerned with creating understated atmospheres with soft sounds, acoustic guitars, subtle percussion, etc. It’s a marked break from the first two parts and leaves the impression of a complete and fulfilling body of work. Even with the lengthy playing time of this release, it’s enough to make you want to immediately experience it all again.
So there we have it; three movements, one album, 105 minutes.
I’m not really sure I have adequate words to describe what an absolute beast of an album this is. It’s a very accomplished achievement that’s delivered, performed and executed by professionals who have a true love for their art.