by Brian Cook
on Wed, Feb 2, 2011 at 6:36 PM
Switzerland's Samael was an anomaly in the second wave of black metal. They were less driven by bleary washes of buzzsaw guitar and more fixed on churning out a solid allegretto chug. They also benefitted from a decent drummer and adequate production on their records. But they dropped off my radar with the release of their dismal 1999 album Eternal. The group had always been on a trajectory towards a more industrial sound, incorporating symphonic keyboards on 1994’s Ceremony of Opposites and ditching acoustic drums for programmed beats on their fantastic 1996 album Passage, but they passed a point of no return on Eternal. They slipped too far into a goofy industrial/bro-metal vibe and everything in its wake felt hella campy. That said, they’re releasing their new album, Lux Mundi, in April and the first single is actually kinda good. It’s still a little heavy handed in the synthesized orchestration department, and I don’t think I can handle looking at press shots of the members without feeling a little embarrassed for them, but “Antigod” still sounds sufficiently menacing.