With last year’s Trilogy, Schammasch released a real cornerstone for their career. An album which detailed three different sounds but which never conflicted with each other, it was certainly the work of complete and utter focus. Despite the shortcomings, the album has struck a chord with fans of forward-thinking extreme metal, and is still one of the most leisurely discussed records of its kind today.Well it seems that Schammasch have wasted no time in getting straight back into a well-worked routine, as mid-2017 sees the first release encompassing a concept based on the 19th-Century poetic novel, “Les Chants de Maldoror” (written by Comte de Lautréamont).
Whilst this is classed as an EP and is the planned first release of three, it really doesn’t lack any substance. It’s hard to get into for those who suffer great impatience, and the more ambient manner in which “Prologue” begins ensures a very slow start. Sure, there’s interesting chants and a hefty amount of eerie soundscapes, but nothing which really amounts to a climax. Then begins “The Weighty Burden of an Eternal Secret”, and you begin to understand how Schammssch have integrated such an interesting subject into their usual brand of experimental black/death metal. This first song proper opens up a void of differing levels of heaviness, with moments of menacing industrial soundscapes complementing energetic outbursts (brief but completely memorable) from the more metal side of the band.
This said, the ambiance and chants do seem to be strongly held at the forefront, and unfortunately for most of this short release, this turns out to be both the core advantage and disadvantage at the same time. Nevertheless, it’s hard not to appreciate the versatility in a song as impeccably fluent as “May his Illusion Last Until Dawn’s Awakening”. Arguably the outstanding highlight from this EP, the song explores all of Schammasch’s aspects, combining the still eerie ambiance and chants with the band’s most vicious black metal sound yet. Yet it’s not with the individual components that this song manages to be awe-inspiring, but with it’s apparent flow through different parts. This essentially displays Schammasch’s more progressive tendencies, building on what made Trilogy so successful and original.
As of yet, there doesn’t need to be too much to be said about Hermpahrodite, because we’re still expecting the two follow-ups in the Maldoror Chants series, and as with Trilogy, it should really be listened to in one focused session rather than in pieces. That said, the first part of this trilogy is a strong start, but as said before, not for those who prefer a band to get straight into the heart of the operation. Schammasch prefer to build and build to a climax which proves very worthwhile.
Released: June 9th, 2017
- The Weighty Burden of an Eternal Secret
- Along the Road that Leads to Bedlam
- These Tresses are Sacred
- May His Illusion Last Until Dawn’s Awakening
- Chimerical Hope
- Do Not Open Your Eyes