Thursday, 21 May 2015

Review: Schammasch-Sic Lvceat Lvx

The metal is back! Surprisingly too, black metal is back! What is normally a winter release genre hits us with a dose of evil to see us through the Summer months! Gary Lee checks it out!

Summer is here! The birds sing as dawn breaks through the cover of clouds. People laugh and children frolic (people totally do that still, right?) in their gardens. So, of course, what we need to accompany this serene seasonal picture is the crushing noxiously evil riffs of black metal! Luckily for us, Swiss black metallers Schmanmasch are here to provide just that with their new offering to the Gods "Sic Lvceat Lvx" 

The album is a follow up to 2014's Contradiction, which was a damn fine release itself that narrowly missed the top 20 metal albums of the year. So rest assured that this is a band of quality and their prolific releases suggest a band charged with passion! The album kicks off with the obligatory black metal instrumental opener Lux Aeterna, which is a dread filled dirge that wouldn't sound out of place in a doom metal album. It has that "At The Gallows End" (Candlemass) feel, although it is obviously without the operatic, Meat Loaf-esque vocals. Instead, we are treated to the brutal and morose deathrattles of the Schmanmasch vocalist and that is fine with me!

He Whose Face Is Made Of Entrails is a typical black metal buffet, with all the usual 'all the blast beats you can eat' thrills. Although the downtempo, chugging bridge with its thrashy riff is a nice little twist on the deal. Chaos Reigns is a maddening (and I mean that lovingly) journey of swirling metal riffs and insanity tinged vocals, perhaps exactly what you may expect from a song with such a name.

No Light From The Fires is another black metal romp, although it has nihilistic doom metal tinges but that seems to be a creeping trend inside modern black metal. I am, however, a fan of the fading out acoustic outro allowing the listener an area of bleak contemplation when the cacophony is over. The doom metal motifs are still gripping tight in the following track Black, But Shining with a riff that calls back to the album opener. The vocal style is once again tinged with insanity in a delivery that is charged with feeling and reminds me of the previously covered A Forest Of Stars. INRI is another 'nothing ventured' black metal affair. Although once again it is a solid offering, I do find that it often blends into the following track The Venom Of The Gods.

The Venom Of The Gods is probably the strongest track on this album, although after several listens that gulf is getting smaller. The intro takes inspiration from the more gothic/satanica end of black metal, with its swirling riffs and and shrill bends. But soon it devolves into another doom inspired melo-fest! The crushing chug and stomp of the doom march at around 4:44 is a particular highlight! In fact, I am a fan of the entire outro in general, the longer time really allows the band to stretch their wings and show more of what we saw on the previous release.

Overall, I feel this is a solid offering to their growing discography. It continues their sound, building on things heard previously and allowing the band to find their feet. They are clearly a band with talent but Schmanmasch are learning to walk before they run here and I commend that. While 'great' genre defining tracks are in short supply here, bad tracks are nowhere to be seen. This is an album that you will not be disappointed with.

Article By: Gary Lee (@thewheelbear)

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