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Sammath - Verwoesting - Devastation
Review: With the second album from Sammath, death metal structure and intensity win out over the more drone and melody motivated black metal tendencies, but these are buried within an infusion of 1980s speed metal technique in the style of Kreator or Destruction. The result is a blur of energy offset by the buffeting trope of muted downstroke riffs contrasted by archly elegant melodies rising above and uniting disparate elements into a single voice.
Sammath displays strength in writing two types of riff. The first type manifests in mostly chromatic rhythm riff that employs melodic intervals to good effect and creates just enough harmonic width to be compelling. The second type appears in the slower and longer melodies used to offset the battering chaos in which an ancient style of melody that is distinctively European emerges. Sammath works outward from a verse/chorus loop, adding layers of paired riffs that demonstrate internal conflict.
When Verwoesting/Devastation emerged black metal was in chaos and hybrids were temporarily in disfavor. Sammath went the opposite direction and tried for a more violent and primal sound. Vocals pushed over the top and further into death metal styles, becoming husky guttural grunts and howls rather than the scream and shriek of black metal. Percussion keeps up with a chaotic attack reminiscent of a more structured Sarcofago.
While these aesthetic changes created a sound with deeper texture and more intense vocals, the essential power of Sammath remains its ability to stack together related riffs to create a mood, and then to one-up it with an unexpected melody that makes everything before it not only make sense but expand scope of relevance. This creates a sense of discovery in the martial madness, making Sammath more like a battle for some unknown region than the continual conquest and loss of familiar terrain under battle scars.