Samael

Ceremony of Opposites

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Samael continued to evolve ever further from their modest necro-black metal beginnings with the release of their watershed third album, Ceremony of Opposites, in 1994. Here, although black metal fundamentals and a few death and thrash metal hallmarks still buttressed the Swiss combo's overall songwriting template, there was also a clinical, ice-cold precision (originating in industrial music) fast encroaching upon violent new offerings like "Black Trip," "Son of Earth," and "Mask of the Red Death." These new developments grew increasingly bolder and more pronounced as the album progressed, so that, with the addition of even more keyboard backdrops and goth rock-inspired (and synth-generated) choired vocals to malefic material like "Celebration of the Fourth" and the title track, Samael arguably achieved the rarefied air that comes with finding a unique and original style. And with the perfect balance between extreme metal fury, disciplined technology, and eerie atmospherics displayed by "Flagellation," the group had effectively struck upon the veritable blueprint for its next and perhaps greatest album, Passage.

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