One thing you might find reading this blog is that I see innovation to be a very important part of artistic qualities. I know there are a lot of artists that are not doing anything new and still make great music, but in general I like it when I hear or see something that I have not heard or saw before.
One of the artists I see as constantly changing is the Dutch black metal band Sammath. Jan Kruitwagen (second from the right) is the engine of this outfit for quite some time now (1995: first demo), and they recently released their fourth full-length titled ‘Triumph in Hatred’.
Where ‘Strijd’ (1999) was reasonably typical black metal, in 2002 ‘Verwoesting/Devastation’ was released with very audible influences by Mysticum. The more ‘in your face’ drum sound and a more blackened death metal approach was continued on 2006’s ‘Dodengang’. On ‘Dodengang’ an emphasis on epic melodies and a more distinguished guitar sound were, alongside the expert song-writing, probably the reasons that it became such a success.
And now ‘Triumph In Hatred’ is released, and the sound has evolved again. This time the sound of the instruments has somewhat stayed the same in regards to ‘Dodengang’, but the lead guitar has really taken flight. With the help of Mexican guitar hero Magnus Agliareth, Sammath now for the first time delves into a musical direction that I never knew existed.
Very fast black metal with nice thick produced drums kick off as if nothing happened since 2006 but then, half way through the first song, it suddenly happens: an eighties-style guitar sol0! Awesome craftsmanship is what Agliareth shows when it comes to good ol’ guitar prOn. This technical soloing reminds me a bit of Death or Necrophagist, but with solid bulldozer-like black metal pushing underneath it. Black metal with lengthy guitar solos: that is something I haven’t heard much before and certainly not with solos like these. Luckily the song structures are just as good as on ‘Dodengang’ and because Agliareth recorded the solos over the tracks that Kruitwagen send him, there were no concessions made whatsoever on the music.
If you now listen to ‘Dodengang’ you can hear, for instance on Ravager, a sort of warning of things to happen. But there the melody was more a lead riff instead of soloing. I really like this attitude of Sammath; always looking for something new, something different. And I’m very anxious to know how, and if, Sammath will do this live. And what’s next.