Samael - Eternal (1999)Release ID: 1670

Samael - Eternal (1999) Cover
Shadowdoom9 (Andi) Shadowdoom9 (Andi) / May 30, 2023 / Comments 0 / 0

I enjoyed listening to Samael, but it wasn't really for so long. As I made my brief exit from listening to black metal, Samael was one of the bands I discarded due to their black metal material last fully demonstrated in Ceremony of Opposites. Anyway, after that dark satanic trio of albums from the first half of 90s, they began their ascent to the symphonic industrial metal cosmos with the Rebellion EP and Passage, the latter establishing the band's transcendence beyond what metal had reached before. And despite avoiding the alternative/groove metal trend of other bands at the time, it worked! They gained enough fame and motivation to close the millennium with another album...

Of course, there was one more small offering made before Eternal, the Exodus EP. Though the songs in that EP are leftover tracks from the Passage sections, they served as a bridge in their evolution. They hinted at an important step, discarding pretty much all the earlier black metal elements (an exception being the re-recording of the Ceremony of Opposites title track), all done while staying faithful to their new direction.

Eternal opens with the atmospheric highlight "Year Zero". Beginning the album in shining light, this is excellent high-quality loud industrial metal! "Ailleurs" will have you dancing along. It's almost close to the cyber metal sound The Kovenant would pioneer in Animatronic! Though some might also be reminded of Front Line Assembly. "Together" cuts down on the upbeat optimism for a slow sinister pace. There's more of the brightness in "Ways" that smoothly points out the stylistic ways of their melodic industrial metal. And there's more of that coming up...

Soft piano begins the next song "The Cross". People seem to mistake this song as a Christian hymn, even though the band was going for the opposite. A good reason for me to leave behind all of black metal last year. I'm glad that I still find enjoyment in that song and might be up to making a return to that band and black metal someday... "Us" soars through the industrial metal cosmos once again with a memorable chorus despite it being a bit too noise-ridden in the background. "Supra Karma" makes a comeback to the band's previous album Passage with solid riffing. Then we switch to "I" which is another Kovenant-like dance-metal track. See if you can play that song in dance clubs for all the club members to dance the night away!

"Nautilus & Zeppelin" has more operatic keyboards in the lead, with not much space for heavier riffing. "Infra Galaxia" continues the album's direction, though it seems to lose some strength as it progresses. "Being" isn't too shabby, though it might cause some red flags. "Radiant Star" has some harsh guitar aggression to end this space journey.

Anyone who thought Samael would go full-on KMFDM/Ministry can have that fear set aside. After a 5-year gap, Eternal gained a stylistic sequel in Reign of Light, which had made those fans relieved. Era One followed as a two-disc experiment, with the second half being just ambient electro-industrial. Another album continue the Eternal direction is Solar Soul, expanding their horizons so they don't repeat too much of their past. They would then return to their earlier 90s evil black metal misanthropy in Above. Lux Mundi would return to the industrial metal era from between Passage and Solar Soul. Same thing with Hegemony 6 years after. Will they have a new album this year to keep up that sound? Fingers crossed there! But for now, soar through the cosmos with the soundtrack to this universal exploration....

Favorites: "Year Zero", "Ailleurs", "The Cross", "Us", "I", "Radiant Star"


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The Sphere

Industrial Metal (conventional)

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