Samael - _Reign of Light_
(Regain Records, 2004)
by: Jackie Smit (
So, this is what Samael fans have waited five years for. Actually check that -- this is what we have waited eight years for, because no matter to what extent the band themselves seemed to be enamoured with 1999's _Eternal_, there is no doubt that its predeccesor took a dump from a dizzy height on its mainstream baiting efforts. It is encouraging therefore that this time round, Samael have drafted Waldemayer Sorytcha (often referred to as the band's fifth member) back into the fold to oversee the record's production.Almost unsurprisingly, this union bears fruit right from the start when the markedly heavier guitars on "Moongate" hint at the groundbreaking majesty of the band's coupe de grace, _Passage_. Similarly, the veritable wall of sound that characterized said opus is back in full force, with every single element in the band forming part of a musical gas cloud that completely envelopes the listener for the duration of the album.Problem is that there's very little on _Reign of Light_ that we haven't heard Samael do before -- and to far greater effect, I might add. Sure the female vocals on "High Above" add an interesting touch and the sitar-led Eastern flavour on "Heliopolis" is a diversion from the band's usual astral forays, but ultimately this is just another Samael album, rather than the stunning and evolutionary return to form we had hoped for. And even if, like me, you feel that this is the record that should have been the rightful successor to _Passage_, one can not silence the nagging voice in the back of your mind that says that this is simply a case of Samael being a bit lazy.Then again, as anyone who is familiar with what the band is capable of would tell you, even when they're not quite operating at 100%, this is a band that is still capable of outshining damn near all their contemporaries.
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