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Ignoring the Vorph/Xy 'Era One' side-project which was released in 2006 under the Samael name, 'Lux Mundi' is the Swiss metallers' ninth studio album and, by fuck, what a mightily impressive beast of an album it is too. First off, I must state that I try to refrain from awarding full marks in a review as a band/artist should always be left with scope for improvement on successive work, even if it is only half a point. However, with 'Lux Mundi' (or 'Light of the World' in translation), Samael have made an album that I cannot fault in any small way. Quite the contrary, I can find nothing but positive commentary to describe how utterly awesome this album is; a career best for those talented Swiss musicians. After the blackened slab of metal that was 2009's 'Above' where Samael reverted to their erstwhile style by taking a u-turn and regressing to their roots, it's almost as if they've exorcised that particular tenet of creativity from their collective psyche and now started afresh with a clean slate. The results are stunning and the twelve tracks on 'Lux Mundi' epitomise everything that people have come to love Samael for...and then some. So there are big, sweeping, epic sounding melodies, almost movie-score in their orchestral structure and execution, as well as pounding heaviness and a massive dose of groove. Moreover, Samael have struck a perfect balance between each of those elements. Not only that but they've also created the perfect balance between experimentation and accessibility so, depending on the context within which you digest this album, there are passages that'll propel you into banging your head or stepping back and admiring their innovative essence. To merge innovation with accessibility is no easy feat so, for this, Samael should be applauded. The production is also rather incredible. Rather than opt for an overly polished sound, 'Lux Mundi' has a very 'live' feel to it, like you can really sense there are people standing there performing the music. Again though, Samael have achieved a perfect balance on this count too - the resulting sound is polished, just not overly so, thus giving a more organic, live vibe to the music. And British producer Russ Russell's mixing talents have been at work here - all elements of the instrumentation can be heard clearly yet are still mixed into a unified whole where everything's integrated and combines to enhance the epic, grandiose, and atmospheric sounds inherent in the songs. Stand-out tracks? None, for this is a stand-out album. Buy it, listen to it, and excite yourself with what is one of 2011's best albums so far.
Nuclear Blast
Review by Mark Holmes
29th April 2011
1) Luxferre
2) Let My People Be
3) Of War
4) Antigod
5) For A Thousand Years
6) The Shadow of the Sword
7) In The Deep
8) Mother Night
9) Pagan Trance
10) In Gold We Trust
11) Soul Invictus; 12) The Truth
"Stand-out tracks? None, for this is a stand-out album. Buy it, listen to it, and excite yourself with what is one of 2011's best albums so far."