Semargl - Attack On God - 2006 - Deathgasm Records
1. Renunciation Of God 2. Pure Hatred 3. Technology Of Baphomet 4. God-Crushing Hammer 5. Falling 6. Jesus - Insect 7. Sign Of Chosen Names 8. The Cut Up Dream
The physical image of a band is generally a poor thing to base one’s critical opinion upon, but when that image is as forceful and conclusive as that of Semargl, not ‘judging the book by its cover’ is a challenge. So, unfortunately, Semargl will likely be lumped in with Impaled Nazarene, Ragnarok, and all the other bandolier-toting, pistol-sporting, and god-hating black metal bands playing fierce and unoriginal black metal, when in reality they are surprisingly different.
At times, it’s difficult to even call this black metal at all. After one sifts through their treble-heavy production, high shrieked vocals, and the strophic minor chords (all orthodox techniques), there is a serious death metal foundation to a number of these songs. The second to last song exhibits nearly no black metal traits at all, instead favoring a Cattle Decapitation style vocal approach over a nearly Immolation-styled march tempo.
Semargl also include a strong keyboard presence, further complicating this already unpredictable potpourri. Sometimes the keys fulfill a simple, substantiating role, fleshing out the verses with background ambience or syth strings, but more than a few songs end with lengthy classical motives that bear nearly no resemblance to their first half. The final track of ‘Attack on God’ is in fact fully dedicated to the keyboardist, or pianist in this instance, (much as the penultimate track is dedicated to a purely Death Metal track), playing an impressive original solo composition.
Yet sometimes Semargl still manage to fade into the background. It is not that they lack interesting textures or a varied approach—all the elements mentioned above are easily noticeable in even the most purely black metal songs on ‘Attack on God —but rather that their songwriting is not yet at a highly developed level. They have the necessary tools and the will to write compelling, unusual music, but the aptitude is still developing.
Orthodox fans of any of these included genres—death metal, symphonic and standard black metal all—may well take issue with this release for its arguable inconsistency, but as metal’s fanbase becomes ever more adaptable to multi-faceted and well-versed musicians, Semargl are more likely to be commended for being 'ahead of the curve', if not necessarily 'ahead of their time'.
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