Schammasch - The Maldoror Chants: Hermaphrodite review




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Band: Schammasch
Album: The Maldoror Chants: Hermaphrodite
Release date: June 2017


01. Prologue
02. The Weighty Burden Of An Eternal Secret
03. Along The Road That Leads To Bedlam
04. These Tresses Are Sacred
05. May His Illusion Last Until Dawn's Awakening
06. Chimerical Hope
07. Do Not Open Your Eyes


When bands that have won themselves a sizable following through the employment of a certain sound suddenly change their sound radically with a new release and piss off a good portion of their fanbase, I love it. Why? Because it shows the band in question doesn't care about pleasing fans by recycling a certain formula, and that a lot of fans are a lot less about "let the band do what they want" than they'd lead you to believe. This is inevitably going to be the case with this new EP from Schammasch.

Thus far, I've found the sound of Schammasch up until now to be "good but not great," as the band certainly do have a commendable formula going for them, but one that always seemed to feel as if it was missing something to me, something that I couldn't quite put my finger on. But Triangle, the triple album the band released last year, changed this significantly. The first two discs were good but nothing mindblowing, but the third one was different, as it saw the band going for an immersive, highly intriguing dark ambient approach, abandoning their fusion of black and death metal almost entirely. I enjoyed it immensely, but there was nonetheless a worry in the back of my head. Was this third disc a one off occasion? Or a new approach the band would continue to explore?

The Maldodor Chants: Hermaphrodite answers this question, and thankfully, Schammasch have chosen to go deeper into this droney, more ambient-oriented sound. The new approach is very formless and highly percussion driven, a favorite of mine when it comes to the drone genre, conjuring some thoughts of some other bands out there such as Æthenor or Alone In The Hollow Garden. Though mostly instrumental, vocals have not been abandoned, but are now simply applied in a more sustained, chant-like fashion. Metal has not been abandoned here entirely either, but this aspect of the music has now morphed into a more monotonous, repetitive delivery. Or, occasionally, as on "The Weighty Burden Of An Eternal Secret," you may hear a bit of guitar drenched in that signature black metal tone dropping a note here and there in the background, for a sort of minimalistic, psychedelic type of effect. The track "Chimerical Hope" is also noteworthy for being the only moment on this EP in which Schammasch tap into some of their previous uptempo, more metal oriented elements. While not a bad cut, it does nonetheless feel a little out of place among the more meditative, ritualistic nature of the rest of this EP, and probably would have fit better on one of the first two discs from Triangle.

To say that Schammasch have spiked my interest and won a huge amount of respect from me with The Maldodor Chants: Hermaphrodite would be a major understatement. At the risk of sounding elitist, allow me to say that this is what real artistry is all about: not staying grounded in one area for long, and being courageous enough to charge into the unknown, smashing down whatever walls stand in your way. As with other albums from bands that have come as a major curveball, such as Celestite from Wolves In The Throne Room, or Not For Music from Emptiness, this EP will no doubt come as a bit polarizing for Schammasch's fanbase. Nonetheless, it was announced by the band shortly before they dropped this release that "The Maldodor Chants" would be a series of offerings, implying that this one is merely the first installation in a common theme. I think it goes without saying at this point that I'm looking forward to what's next in this bold and curious new chapter in the history of Schammasch.

A new saga begins.


 



Written on 17.07.2017 by Comforting the disturbed and disturbing the comfortable since 2013.


Comments

Comments: 14   Visited by: 233 users
17.07.2017 - 04:08
Karlabos
Weirdo of MS
Whenever I read this album title I remember of Thee Maldoror Kollective
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2016

2017
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17.07.2017 - 06:29
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Written by Karlabos on 17.07.2017 at 04:08

Whenever I read this album title I remember of Thee Maldoror Kollective

I think their previous press statement about the series of albums said it's inspired by a book or something
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Written by RaduP on 14.01.2016 at 02:08

So you're not actually a bearded shaman opening his third eye through music?
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17.07.2017 - 21:40
mz
For more percussion driven drone, check Afsprengi Satans - Djöful Leg (https://afsprengi.bandcamp.com/album/dj-ful-leg)
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Giving my ears a rest from music.
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17.07.2017 - 21:49
nikarg
Old Nick
I like the fact that the whole EP flows like it's just one song. I'm probably the exception here, but I prefer the last 3 tracks a lot more. The first 4 seem to me like an unnecessarily long introduction to "May His Illusion Last Until Dawn's Awakening", which is my favourite. Needless to say I only listen to the first two Triangle CDs and always skip the third "Above The Stars Of God" was my most played song last year.
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on and on south of heaven

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17.07.2017 - 23:08
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Written by mz on 17.07.2017 at 21:40

For more percussion driven drone, check Afsprengi Satans - Djöful Leg (https://afsprengi.bandcamp.com/album/dj-ful-leg)

Yeah I've already heard, really great stuff too. The label that it's coming from, Mystikaos, was founded by Alex Poole (Skaphe) and HV Lyngdal (Wormlust). Let's just say good things are going to be coming from those two soon
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Written by RaduP on 14.01.2016 at 02:08

So you're not actually a bearded shaman opening his third eye through music?
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17.07.2017 - 23:14
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Written by nikarg on 17.07.2017 at 21:49

I like the fact that the whole EP flows like it's just one song. I'm probably the exception here, but I prefer the last 3 tracks a lot more. The first 4 seem to me like an unnecessarily long introduction to "May His Illusion Last Until Dawn's Awakening", which is my favourite. Needless to say I only listen to the first two Triangle CDs and always skip the third "Above The Stars Of God" was my most played song last year.

Nice that you're enjoying some of it then I guess, but I can't really understand how someone would enjoy this EP but not Disc 3 on Triangle. Both are very similar, not exactly the same, but strongly alike
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Written by RaduP on 14.01.2016 at 02:08

So you're not actually a bearded shaman opening his third eye through music?
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17.07.2017 - 23:25
nikarg
Old Nick
Written by Apothecary on 17.07.2017 at 23:14

Nice that you're enjoying some of it then I guess, but I can't really understand how someone would enjoy this EP but not Disc 3 on Triangle. Both are very similar, not exactly the same, but strongly alike

The third CD of Triangle has no culmination I think, like this EP does. It's mainly droney stuff, which kind of puts me to sleep. This EP though builds up and finishes very strongly. Anyway, don't mind me, I'm bizarre
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on and on south of heaven

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18.07.2017 - 09:15
roeder
Written by nikarg on 17.07.2017 at 23:25

Written by Apothecary on 17.07.2017 at 23:14

Nice that you're enjoying some of it then I guess, but I can't really understand how someone would enjoy this EP but not Disc 3 on Triangle. Both are very similar, not exactly the same, but strongly alike

The third CD of Triangle has no culmination I think, like this EP does. It's mainly droney stuff, which kind of puts me to sleep. This EP though builds up and finishes very strongly. Anyway, don't mind me, I'm bizarre

I was not a big fan of the third CD either, but I came to like those songs a bit. It only took some cheating on my part. The deal is that I made a custom playlist of the songs on Triangle, without listening to the songs in the original order. Obviously this only works if you have the separate audio files on a computer, and not with CD or Vinyl.

Here is my song order for Triangle: Crepusculum, Father's Breath, The World Destroyed by Water, The Third Ray of Light, In Dialogue with Death, Satori, Cathartic Confession, Diluculum, Metanoia, Jacob's Dream, Consensus, Above the Stars of God, Maelstrom, Awakening from the Dream of Life, Conclusion, The Empyrean

I guess this is kinda blasphemy, but at least this way there is no 30 minutes of continuous ambient that puts you to sleep. The ambient tracks serve as interludes or intros for the songs, and there are instances where they flow into each other pretty well.
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18.07.2017 - 10:00
nikarg
Old Nick
Written by roeder on 18.07.2017 at 09:15

I was not a big fan of the third CD either, but I came to like those songs a bit. It only took some cheating on my part. The deal is that I made a custom playlist of the songs on Triangle, without listening to the songs in the original order. Obviously this only works if you have the separate audio files on a computer, and not with CD or Vinyl.

Here is my song order for Triangle: Crepusculum, Father's Breath, The World Destroyed by Water, The Third Ray of Light, In Dialogue with Death, Satori, Cathartic Confession, Diluculum, Metanoia, Jacob's Dream, Consensus, Above the Stars of God, Maelstrom, Awakening from the Dream of Life, Conclusion, The Empyrean

I guess this is kinda blasphemy, but at least this way there is no 30 minutes of continuous ambient that puts you to sleep. The ambient tracks serve as interludes or intros for the songs, and there are instances where they flow into each other pretty well.

I have the digital files of Triangle too. I will try your playlist, because I also thought there are interesting songs in the third CD, it's just that I can't go through half an hour of this style. Thanks for the tip
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on and on south of heaven

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19.07.2017 - 07:32
Maratha
Originally Les Chants de Maldoror or The Maldoror Chants has been an iconic work in the field of surrealism, dadaism and themes with complete rejection of god, the novel is divided into six parts. So if Schammasch are on this path of interpreting the novel through music, then they daintily are onto something unique. The album itself is so interesting it makes me want to read it as soon as I finish The Secret History of Twin Peaks.
Surely a polarising album for their fans, as they are exploring unchartered territory as you mentioned in the last paragraph.
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19.07.2017 - 15:29
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Written by Maratha on 19.07.2017 at 07:32

Originally Les Chants de Maldoror or The Maldoror Chants has been an iconic work in the field of surrealism, dadaism and themes with complete rejection of god,

Sounds intriguing, the Dada movement was very unique and is always a fun puzzle to try to wrap your head around
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Written by RaduP on 14.01.2016 at 02:08

So you're not actually a bearded shaman opening his third eye through music?
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20.07.2017 - 22:45
koob
Love it.
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05.08.2017 - 04:49
btzona
Powerful literature driving this sick album... Look up Lautremont AKA Isadore Ducasse.
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08.09.2017 - 09:53
Jaeryd
Nihil's Maw
Written by btzona on 05.08.2017 at 04:49

Powerful literature driving this sick album... Look up Lautremont AKA Isadore Ducasse.

I've found while reading the Alexis Lykiard translation of Maldoror that a lot of their lyrics from Contradiction and Triangle also reference that book. Seems like overall it is a huge inspiration for the band (as I read it myself, it's easy to see why).
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