Samael – Ceremony of Opposites & Passage Reissues

Passage/ Ceremony Of opposites Album Cover Art

Samael – Ceremony of Opposites & Passage Reissues
MDD Records
Release Date: 23/07/2021
Ceremony of Opposites (originally released in 1994)
Running Time: 35:58
Passage (originally released in 1996)
Running Time: 42:17
Review by Wallace Magri
9.5/10  – 10/10

Samael have reissued two of their classic albums that have been hard to find in stores recently, which is a great opportunity for late fans of this seminal Swiss Black Metal band to complete their CD collections. 

I discovered Samael in the 90’s and I always thought that they were one of the most interesting bands that arose from the second wave of Black Metal. So, why not take the chance to listen to those albums once again and give my impressions on them, especially for those from the unlight?

The first reissued album, “Ceremony of Opposites” boasts one of the best songs ever written by Samael, ‘Baphomet’s Throne’, where we can listen to keyboards emulating orchestral arrangements, while raw and aggressive Black Metal riffs sustain the black Mass, supported by an austere drum and bass background, with amazing conduction breaks and, above all of that, Vorph laying his screaming vocal lines filled with pure desolation. 

Samael had released two albums previously but on “Ceremony of Opposites”, for the first time, the band introduced keyboards and samples on their songs, which might have displeased a lot of traditional Black Metal fans in 1992, because back then Black Metalheads were either listening to the early BM bands (Hellhammer, Celtic Frost, Mayhem) or they were into the dirty, raw and repulsive blast-beat led Black Metal from the likes of Mayhem and Burzum. 

Samael were the kind of band with no music boundaries at that time and I think that is why “Ceremony of Opposites” is considered a ground-breaking album. I’ve always thought that Black Metal is the perfect metal style to be mixed with other sonorities (Classical/ Folk and Electro/ Ambient music). Afterwards, a lot of bands took influence from Samael’s early experiments, and nowadays Ambient/Symphonic Black Metal has become acceptable for a wider audience, thanks to the successes of such bands as Dimmu Borgir, Behemoth and Septicflesh. 

“Passage”, released in 1994, was the first time that the band adopted a drum machine, after the departure of the keyboardist and programmer, Rudolph. The album follows basically what is heard on the previous one, above mentioned, with dragged conduction on most of the songs, high lightning the symphonic element on songs like ‘Angel’s Decay’. “Passage” is an epical album, that sometimes sounds very progressive in the structure of such songs as ‘My Saviour’ and ‘Jupiterian Vibe’, which has a sinister percussion intro and insertion of samples and keyboards –  very unusual in the Black Metal songs, at that time. 

Listening again to songs like ‘Liquid Soul Dimension’, I remembered that when “Passage” was released, I used to listen to it all the time on my Discman! That album was released in a time when we could only listen to that kind of Extreme Metal music by buying and listening to CDS (no Spotify or YouTube! Back then we had Discman ü). By the way, from 1994 until 2005 I purchased CDs from Electropunk, Industrial Metal and Black Metal bands only, and Samael were always a constant soundtrack of my life, during my 10 darkest years living on this planet!

If you are already a Samael fan and don’t have the band’s complete catalogue, that is a great chance to fill in those gaps, especially if you are the kind who likes to collect CDs. It’s old fashioned, I know, but I must confess that I keep the habit of buying musical works from my favourite bands. And, as I said before, Samael are worth the effort, because they are one of the most authentic and bold bands around until today!

Ceremony Of Opposites
01. Black Trip
02. Celebration Of The Fourth
03. Son Of Earth
04. ‘Till We Meet Again
05. Mask Of The Red Death
06. Baphomet’s Throne
07. Flagellation
08. To Our Martyrs
09. Ceremony Of Opposites

01. Rain
02. Shining Kingdom
03. Angel’s Decay
04. My Saviour
05. Jupiterian Vibe
06. The Ones Who Came Before
07. Liquid Soul Dimension
08. Moonskin
09. Born Under Saturn
10. Chosen Race
11. A Man In Your Head

Vorph – vocal/guitars  
Xytras – keyboards/drums/percussion 
Makro – guitars 
Drop – bass 


Samael Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Wallace Magri and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

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