A sense of history with metal’s ancient lore back in February 28th, 1994, a Swiss group of young musicians with impressive talents waited their music to praise Baphomet; hence Samael born. Samael, early on caught the attention of Century Media Records, with their second record for them (third overall) launched a seriously wicked album, entitled Ceremony of Opposites, that I still play quite often. Therefore time to revisit this evil and classic album, from 1994 likely a noted one many fans had on their lists of album of the year, it came after their Worship Him (1991) and Blood Ritual (1992) fulfilling a realm of haunting atmosphere and screaming the occult desires into the darkness of the void, aided by cover art featuring a bleeding Jesus head. First, this isn’t straight-up Black Metal, while Vorphalack’s vocals greatly improve, thanks in part to better production by Producer Waldemar Sorychta and engineer Siggi Bemm, we get a heavily dose of growling throaty vocals, the image and lyrics appeal to Black Metal audiences. Remembering their lyrics and ability to play with intensity and talent gives way to the content of the blackened tone.
The ten tracks on the album show a better assault than their previous albums, namely the production value increases, but never loses the sinister feel throughout any of the songs, yet maintains an engaging slightly different style of black metal, that is found with the opening track ‘Black Trip’ starts with fast riffing but by the 2-minute mark switches to a mid-paced tempo. However, ‘Ceremony Of Opposites’ and ‘Baphomet’s Throne’ these two tracks clearly are the best on the album, there’s at least two that incorporate a symphonic doom sound ‘Flagellation’ (actually repeat this song quite often), and ‘Crown’. For those fans seek a truly blasphemous song, to play while neighbors attend church services listen to none other than ‘To Our Martyrs’ the lyrics grab hold oneself quickly and sound gives a few change-ups as never to appear in a monotone style. Many of the songs have excellent build-ups, carefully orchestrated switches in style, tempo and definitely style, all completed with strong vocals, no sloughing on this masterpiece.
Celebration of the Fourth
Son of Earth
Til We Meet Again
The Mask of the Red Death
To Our Martyrs
Ceremony of Opposites
All music and arrangements by Xytras, except “To Our Martyrs” by Vorphalack / Xytras.
Sadly this album became the last venture for the band into the murky depths of black metal, as they veered into the industrial music genre, and honestly a few times on this album one can hear a tinge of the style seeping into the songs. Nevertheless “Ceremony of Opposites” holds a significant place in any metal fans collection, it incorporates a groove to engages the listener, and yet exit the black realm of sinister pleasures, for new discoveries. The band never cemented themselves with any rules rather choosing to break the boundaries and heighten their musical tastes with a maturing sound.
Baron’s Rating: 4.5/5
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