The ninth full-length album by the legendary Swiss Symphonic Industrial/Electro Black/Dark Metal band.
All throughout the ‘90s, Samael was busy pushing the boundaries of Black Metal, dropping all the standard frozen aesthetics and playing with Electronic sounds. While there was still plenty of occult and anti-Christian sentiment, Samael always played to the beat of a different drum. Many fans didn’t care for just how different that beat got several years later, when the band could more accurately be described as an Industrial or even Symphonic outfit. Long time fanatics should brace themselves as the prodigal son returns to its roots and produces a sound that reminds the world why Samael was so highly regarded in the first place.
As though trying to make up for the less aggressive albums, Samael’s previous release, “Above”, was unnecessarily harsh and heavy, with a production that made all the songs bleed together into one mass of incompressible screams. It seems the band learned a valuable lesson from that release, as “Lux Mundi” has a much more organic and fluid production, and all the instruments get a chance to shine. From front man Vorph’s distinctive growl to the melodic and menacing guitar work, all the best Samael elements are put on display. Black Metal is still deeply rooted in Samael's sound, but modern Industrial rears its ugly head and accentuates its presence all the time. The connection of the two styles is seamless (like it was before), but this time it sounds exceptionally well. The production and song writing style clearly brings to mind Samael’s 90’s era work, with some modern sensibilities. Generally the keyboard and electronic parts play a supporting role, with shorter intro or interlude segments that have a bigger emphasis, which leads to an overall heavier experience that still has loads of atmosphere. The electronic programming is used to vary the tone of each song, giving the various tracks a distinct feel. Not simply a return to old sounds, the album is also a rising new dawn that combines the various styles heard throughout Samael’s impressive two decade career. The songs “The Shadow of the Sword” and “The Truth is Marching On” strike the best balance between the “Reign Of Light” era and the “Passage” era, with just enough Electronic sounds to match the fast paced guitar work. “Mother Night” gives a heavy take on the idea of a ballad, while “Pagan Trance” gives a nod to the band’s mystical roots. “Soul Invictus” is also worth a special mention, with a thundering drum beat and swirling dual guitar rhythm that is nearly trance inducing.
The album is clearly trying, and mostly succeeds, to be a successor to the “Passage” album. “Lux Mundi” is undoubtedly among the best of the band’s offerings and an album that will bring Samael defectors back to the fold! Samael returns to form and strikes the right balance between furious Black Metal, melody, and Electronic sounds. This is the best active Metal band from Switzerland, as opposed to institutionalized religion which they always criticize, and has no problem with fitting into the demands of the 21st century. Their thinking about music is modern and archaism-free. With bands like Samael around, the future looks bright!!
Nuclear Blast GmbH, 2011 (NB 2790-2). Made in Germany. First press.
1. Luxferre 3:49
2. Let My People Be! 3:49
3. Of War 3:41
4. Antigod 4:04
5. For A Thousand Years 4:55
6. The Shadow Of The Sword 3:49
7. In The Deep 4:02
8. Mother Night 4:18
9. Pagan Trance 4:19
10. In Gold We Trust 3:29
11. Soul Invictus 4:18
12. The Truth Is Marching On 4:29
Total playing time: 49:02