Samael - Hegemony album review

Swiss industrial metallers expand their territory

Cover art for Samael - Hegemony album

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A 30-year career in heavy metal is certainly no mean feat, and for Swiss legends Samael that time has been spent honing their sound into an altogether different metallic beast. Founded by brothers Vorph and Xy, Samael began life as a straightforward black metal act, however the mid-90s saw a change in a direction that incorporated more than a touch of industrial. Melding these forces in such a way gave them an edge and over the years that’s been steadily building towards more aggressive beats and harsher sounds. Experimentation has worked in their favour through time, and in Hegemony the band have a record that sounds vibrant, accessible and deliciously catchy while housing muscular riffs and thrilling synth-led progressions. Angel Of Wrath showcases Vorph’s dynamic voice, still huge after all this time, and the orchestral synths that lay the foundations of the track rise and twist around the heavy bass notes to create alien landscapes of sound. Black Supremacy is an ode to all that is dark, and the cosmic spin of the introduction plays off the xenomorphic drums before Against All Enemies drops the tension to give a little breathing space for closing track Helter Skelter and its climbing, bombastic pace. Hegemony is a slick and vital record that sounds absolutely massive and is wickedly good fun.