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Schammasch: Triangle

Swiss mystics reach a new post-metal apex

While Schammasch’s 2010 debut promised future greatness, it wasn’t until the release of its captivating successor, 2014’s double album Contradiction, that the Swiss avant-metal act truly arrived.

Contradiction proved that Schammasch’s mastermind C.S.R. had the fearless ambition necessary to eventually usurp the iron throne of his fellow countryman Tom G Fischer, whose essential work with both Celtic Frost and Triptykon is one of Schammasch’s main inspirations.

Triangle is their most elaborate release yet: a 100-minute-long triple album comprised of three individual movements. I: The Process of Dying acts as a gateway between Contradiction and the more experimental styles of II and III. Statuesque doom, pitch-black atmospherics and pulverising death metal syncopations scorch on Father’s Breath, Consensus and In Dialogue With Death.

As good as this is, II: Metaflesh is even more impressive. The World Destroyed By Water is Cult Of Luna-esque post-metal tension personified; Metanoia’s dead-eyed gothic vocals and sumptuous guitar solo send its blasting attack skyward, and the Opeth-esque flourishes of Above The Stars Of God reveal outstanding progressive flair throughout.

In contrast, III: The Supernal Clear Light Of The Void is the most divisive. Its predominately ambient instrumentals are a significant departure for Schammasch – although tribal drums, cold ambience and monastic chants are always supporting elements in C.S.R.’s music.

The Third Ray Of Light and the chilling Maelstrom might be closer to Tangerine Dream’s Phaedra than Behemoth’s The Satanist, but the ceremonial mood of the final movement suits Triangle’s spiritual concept, adding a meditative state of finality to the immersive and destructive depth of the hour-plus body of work that precedes it.