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Label: Hammerheart Records

Date: June 16th, 2023

I’ve written about Sammath before and, honestly speaking, I can’t write anything I haven’t on that occasion. The band that has stubbornly kept to the same principles since their beginnings in the first half of the 1990’s, comes to their seventh full length. It’s just about all that you need to know further than knowing about these Dutch warmongers.

They are basically the polarizers of extreme music. You will either be disgusted at their blatant disregard towards the normative of black metal and consider them all too noisy or get absolutely swallowed in the atmosphere of frontline inferno. No middle ground. Sammath is what you would’ve heard if you found yourself around Somme anywhere between 1916 and 1918. Or if you stumbled upon Stalingrad in late 1942. Or if you fell asleep in Dresden in February 1945. Or awaken at Hiroshima on Auguth 6th, 1945. Even when they calm down for a while, you feel the aftermath of battle, fire, destruction, “Last Gasps of the Dying”, smoke and ashes with the felling of disturbed earth.

At the same time, Sammath is as extreme as black metal goes, only just passing by without scratching the grind tree. If you’ve heard (life there’s a need for an if here) the early Marduk material, the Swedes at their most violent, Sammath upped the ante. Impaled Nazarene are another good example of a band that tried, but Sammath left them behind. As for the sheer aggression, Sammath could be compared with representatives of that bestial black / death metal, like Blasphemy, Conqueror, Revenge… Livid Canadians in all. However, the Dutch trio is a bit more sophisticated and not quite disinterested in making music first and foremost. Keeping to the warlike language, they use a bit of tactics instead of blindly rushing bare-chested into machinegun fire. “Grebbeberg” is a blitzkrieg, just as the battle in 1940 after which it was named. Carefully thought through, planned and executed.

This way you get a real black metal carnage, but supplied with a fine dose of catchy riffing to guide your delicate ears throughout, while still keeping at utmost brutality. The duo that opens the album is the best example. The title track and particularly its follower, “Reichswald”, which easily stands among the finest moments of Emperor. It actually reminded me of my own band for a moment there. Though neither my band nor Emperor ever achieved such level of sounding like a blinding wrath of battle.

That is all you need to know about Sammath. You will either rush to get this or avoid it for dear life. And that’s very much what the battle of Grebbeberg and all the others were. There were those who stood up and those who fled away. Which one are you?


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