Eternal (Century Media)
By: Jeb Branin
As has been the case on the last couple of SAMAEL releases this CD is a clash of worlds. A meeting of thesis and antithesis. The band's bio is so bold as to claim this synthesis as dialectical thus implying it will elevate into its own thesis, that is rise to be a new standard that will only be changed by the clash of new opposition born solely as a reaction. Philosophical, indeed, but I'll be damned if it isn't probably accurate. Although certainly not completely unique to SAMAEL, I daresay that this new model of death/black metal that features the foundations of metal guitars but the embellishments of ethereal orchestration and atmospheric passages, has developed its own identity and breathes on its own. Although still unique and challenging it is nonetheless recognizable. No longer is it surprising to hear a CD with the dynamics of "Eternal" which from a marketing standpoint is probably a good thing since a niche has been permanently carved but from an artistic standpoint this may not be good news for the genre. How does a band survive when its sound is fundamentally appealing because of its unpredictability but that very unpredictability is expected and thus seemingly predicted? That's a tough one and all I can say is that if bands are going to overcome this paradox they are going to have to do just what SAMAEL has done and that is create a musically solid album that stands on its own merits independent of labels and in spite of being identified within a genre. Frankly it is exactly what a band like METALLICA has accomplished.
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