Reign Of Light
Review by Joshua on March 11, 2005.
Let’s keep this simple. This is such a disappointment that it’s only redeeming value is comic relief.
No joke. This album really sucks. I’m sure that longtime Samael fans remember monumental albums like Blood Ritual and Ceremony of Opposites, but you should really forget about those when you’re deciding whether or not to buy this. This doesn’t sound like old Samael. This sounds like Rammstein drop-mixed with Cubanate’s Barbarossa, with various breaks and introductions stolen from KMFDM and My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult. You’ll note that none of those are metal bands. That’s because this is not a metal album. There are metal aspects, and there are even a couple of isolated songs reminiscent of their recent albums, but that does not make a metal album, nor necessarily a decent listen from any other genre.
What is it, you ask? Okay, how’s this for a descriptor: cheap paint-by-numbers industrial music thrown in a blender with formulaic, melodic death metal, pulped into sludge on purée. This isn’t even decent industrial metal; where bands like The Project Hate synthesize metal and industrial music into something cohesive and interesting, Samael sound like they’ve tossed together a crude amalgam of samples, techno beats, metal guitars, and sloppy drums. The production is wretched – it’s deliberately fuzzy, as if they thought making transitions and time changes indiscernible would somehow render them palatable. Bad idea. The result is a painfully obvious façade, a thin veneer covering a decomposing compost heap of Suck. Listening to these songs feels like you’re swallowing glass.
This album has exactly one redeeming quality: listening to Samael trying to rap is hillarious.
You read that correctly, sir. I said that Samael raps.
Not only do they rap, but they incorporate techno breaks and introductions, clean vocals, harmonized choruses, layered synths, boring Arabian sitar sections… pretty much everything that you’d have once claimed Samael would never do.
This isn’t to say that this album is completely worthless. There are exactly three songs which deserve special mention not because they’re excellent, but because they simply aren’t terrible. Yes, that’s right, “Inch’allah,” “Further,” and “Heliopolis” are not nearly as awful as the rest of this one. In fact, the chorus and bridge of “Inch’allah” are quite interesting, though they sound nothing like their older albums. How’s that for raising the bar?
Also, the rap in “As the Sun” is pure comedy gold.
At this point, you’re probably wondering if this is even the same band who released Eternal. They are. You’re probably wondering if they still sound anything like that. Here’s the blunt answer: They don’t. There are a couple of leftover elements from Eternal, but those can’t save this CD. This is not even close to the same playing style, and it’s nowhere near as good.
Rap, industrial, techno, harmonized choruses, and sitar sections. That’s what you’ll hear on this album. You won’t hear anything interesting. A few redeeming segments of a few redeeming songs aren’t enough to save this worthless, disappointing album. Skip this botched abortion of a test tube baby.
Categorical Rating Breakdown
Rating: 2 out of 10