Samael – Lux Mundi

Samael - Lux Mundi Samael

Lux Mundi

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

[05/03/11]
[Season of Mist]

Since forming in the late 80’s, Switzerland’s own Samael are no strangers to the world of metal. They were not only a part of the second wave of black metal in the early 90’s, but were also among the innovators for post-black metal styles. Their discography ranges from thrash/black metal (early) to their more recent use of electronic sounds, which was first introduced on their 1996 album, Passages, firmly planting them in the industrial/symphonic metal genre. Since the release of that album, they’ve expanded their fan base and continued to follow that path, putting out a consistent flow of decent albums, but in doing so, began to leave their black metal roots behind in favor for a more industrial sound. So as with each release, this left the fans hungering for the classic Samael sound. Now with the release of their newest album Lux Mundi, does the band finally give the fans what they’ve been waiting for?

Short answer… yes. It’s evident right from the opening track, “Luxferre”, that Samael have made as close as a return to their classic sound than any of their latest albums could have hoped to achieve. A mass of bleak riffs and a dark symphonic backdrop instantly thrust the listener into a desolate atmosphere that is reminiscent of Passage and Ceremony of Opposites. All the great aspects of their more recent albums, the huge percussion, electronic undertones and classical flourishes, have now been meshed with the cold and nihilistic sound of their black metal days.

This album also brings back the classical-influenced keyboards courtesy of Xytras that contrast so well with the industrial influences and the unrestrained growls of vocalist Vorph make their return which further add to the albums overall tone. The occasional spoken word sections still make their appearance, but aren’t overdone in any way to hinder the tracks. To an extent, Lux Mundi feels like a regression, as if the band is coming full circle with their sound, and while I enjoy Eternal, Solar Soul and Above (which was a heavy album, despite not quite capturing the feel of the black metal days), Lux Mundi is leaps and bounds ahead of them.

Any longtime fan is going to enjoy this album, and I believe newcomers will too. There is a perfect array of heavier tracks (“Of War”, “In the Deep”, “Mother Night”) mixed in with a few mildly lighter, accessible tracks (“Pagan Trance”, “The Shadow of the Sword”, “In Gold We Trust”). Overall, it’s quality all the way through as the pacing never dulls and when the album does happen to come to a more mid-tempo pace, it doesn’t throw the album off course. It also helps that the album is well produced and the end result of their sound comes off robust and full.

A return to form so to speak, and while they aren’t the same band from back in the day, it’s nice to see them making the effort to reclaim the classic sound and combining it with their modern touch. If they continue down this path, I see nothing but good things coming from them in the future. If you’re into heavy, symphonic and industrial metal, Lux Mundi is sure to satisfy those ears of yours.

Samael – Lux Mundi

4/5

– DA