May 08, 2022

Sammath - Strijd (1999)

Country: Netherlands
Language: Dutch (Nederlands), English
Genre: Black Metal
Label Number: FR 016

© 1999 Folter Records

Production: Open production with roomy sound.

Review: Sammath achieve a vast sonic landscape with this release that merges fast black metal riffing with elegant melodies that rise out of the chaos and return to mesh with its themes and transit to a final state which expands upon the conflict. On Strijd, riffs are heuristics which evolve over time as more texture emerges.

The result feels like a land constantly wracked by war and disaster in which brief moments of intense beauty emerge. The majority of riffing here is consistent with what one might expect from late-1990s black metal, which is a stripped down but highly genre-conventioned vocabulary. Unlike most bands Sammath fits these riffs together into a language that fits each song, and as such there are no random bits floating around for the purpose of being faithful to a template.

Using exuberant keyboards sparsely this music punctuates its moments of union, which tend to have a feel of grandeur and arrogance, with a musical exchange that counter-balances the nihilistic and windswept minimalistic tremolo riffs with a vision of thematic growth in longer phrases. Against this onslaught drums batter away like a gigantic beetle racing across open ground in pursuit of an innocent and hated victim, with bass sawing below as guitar takes the dominant voice and plays it against the keyboards.

Like a good detective novel, this music uncovers unexpected possibilities for mapping of obscure tunnels of melodic exploration branching from a crucial point of choice, reminding the black metal enthusiast of Emperor or Summoning. Adept instrumentalism accompanies accurate and streamlined percussion. With a refined sense of riffwriting and howling vocals that exactingly inflect details of mood variance, the music of Sammath brings to black metal a new hope and power.


tags: sammath, strij, 1999, flac,

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