Sammath – Across The Rhine Is Only Death (Hammerheart Records)
Review by Milos Sebalj
Have any of you ever heard a live machinegun fire? Possibly even a few of them together? I suppose you haven’t witnessed a real time warfare from the front line? Me neither, but I presume it sounds something like this. The closest I can put this is that insane blast beat in “Ye Entrancemperium”, especially on “Emperial Live Ceremony”. You must have heard that! Well now, imagine a whole album like that. Full 35 minutes of savage and ferocious machinegun fire! Sounds monotonous? Let’s hear what an old Dutch trio has to say about that.
If Marduk stands for the World War II blitzkrieg, then Sammath might be the soundtrack of a muddy no man’s land between the infested trenches along the Somme. Constant buzzing of bullets flying next to your ears (guitars), unceasing machinegun terror, slowing down just to reload (drums) and a distant artillery thundering (bass). Not to forget the psychological anxiety produced by those shrieking vocals, chilling the already wasted blood of the soon to be fallen. The title of the opening track “Savagery” best sums up what I’ve tried to depict here and the sheer bestiality of music displayed. Black Metal of Scandinavian origin, specifically created to please the fans of the most brutal phase of Marduk and Bathory. Since all this might seem like something ‘heard before’, ‘repetitive’ or ‘clone-ish’, let me just remind you of the fact that this band actually started at the same time as all those bands you ‘heard it all before from’. Having cleared the ‘another soulless clone’ title off the table, let’s move on.
Sammath does produce some very decent riffing instead of just forcing a single chord over and over again. Some more melodic leads (let Dark Funeral be your guide here) also appear here and there to break ‘the habit’. Nicely fitted too, into the whole mayhem of this record. These are especially mesmerizing in the title track. Rhythms do change, and not as rare as one might expect, so the songs are diverse enough and do not bore the listener. All the while, vocals spit out the usual warmongering summons to charge with full force.
Simply put, this is Black Metal from beyond the front line. Full frontal assault Black Metal creating a crucial break through the enemy lines to achieve a definitive victory. Fans of fast and unrelenting Black Metal should be ecstatic! This one is for them! Plus… Apart of the regular vinyl, CD or tape editions, you can order a delicious limited box set (if it’s not sold out by now) including a digipack CD, a patch, a sticker and an actual shell casing from WWII, packed into a wooden case. Anything more to add? No! Get this!!!