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Monday, April 28, 2014
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Schammasch are an act from Basel (a historical city in Switzerland, close to the border with both Germany and France), which was formed in 2009. The name is based on the Babylonian god of the sun. The band released a first album, called Sic Lvceat Lvx, in 2011, and they performed live on stage with the likes of Forgotten Tomb, Evoken, Temple Of Baal, Jex Thoth or Vorkreist, amongst others. Last year, the quartet (C.S.R.-v, g; A.T.-b; M.A.-g; and B.A.W.-d) started working on their newest opus, which eventually turned out to be interesting enough (i.e. there was enough material worth to use) to make a double-album of it. Production and engineering were done by V. Santura, notorious producer (Hellsaw, Schrat, Thulcandra, Kuolemanlaakso, Obscura etc.) and experienced musician (think: Triptykon, Celtic Frost or Dark Fortress, amongst others), who guests with a guitar solo. Another guest is Michael ‘Arioch’ Zech, known from e.g. Odem Arcanum, Svarrogh or Reign Of Decay.

Contradiction consists, as mentioned, of two discs, having duration of respectively thirty eight and forty six minutes. But even then it’s way too short! This double-album is a true monument of massive sonics, but that’s what Switzerland is great at, of course. Throughout the whole album, one can experience a great symbiosis of dark-edged acoustics, elements from Doom and Sludge, the essence of occult and mystic Black Metal, Post-Black structures, and things impossible to define. The song writing and execution are sublime, and each single track (nine in total) is a grandiose aural satisfaction. Damn, I think it is really difficult to review this stuff, for there is so much to experience, but it’s so hard to find the right words. Despite a long average duration of each composition, all of them are unique and highly variative pieces with several layers and grandiose additions. The returning ethnic-Spanish acoustic guitar tune in the opening title track, for example, is a proof of this unique, own-faced approach. And what about samples from, for example, Gregorian chants or spoken words taken from what-the-Hell-do-I-know? Also the great and diverse vocal performances are one of the many distinctive surpluses on Contradiction. And so are the changes in tempo, the distorted, dissonant riffs, the progressive and Post-metalized breaks, the fabulous, mysterious keyboard lines, and so on, and son on, and so on...

Besides, it is not the superb song writing and performance only that make this release so magnificent. The sound too is truly superior. It’s fat and heavy, cumbersome and massive, and the result is a post-dimensional aural satisfaction for sure!

Consider it a mixture of Triptykon, Zatokrev, Dark Fortress, Meridian and shEver, to stay in Schammasch’ home country. I think this is not such a weird comparison; just listen and you will agree. [more internationally seen: Khold, Deathspell Omega, Dodecahedron and Secrets Of The Moon]