Thursday, June 5, 2014

Samael - Telepath EP (2004)

Telepath is the sort of redundant waste of molecules I always rue seeing from my favorite acts, and yet by 2004, Samael had long been a band established enough that both labels and their own personal enterprises would attempt to con some of the audience for just a little extra scratch. What we have here is essentially what I dub a 'karaoke EP', with a number of tunes lifted directly from an upcoming full-length studio album and then mimicked with their own instrumental versions. "Telepath" is actually represented on this three times, the third being a remix of an already electronically propulsed techno/black metal track, but honestly there's just no fucking reason to have this unless you REALLY want to karaoke to "Telepath" and "Inch'Allah" with your friends at a faux-vampire key party in the comfort of your own posh living room...

I'll go into the studio tracks more with a review of Reign of Light, but "Telepath" more or less tries to grasp at the mystique of Samael's brilliant Passage record (and its followup Eternal) but apply it to a more directly danceable beat, which ironically has a bit of a Gothic/Middle Eastern mashup feel to it adorned in Vorph's salacious grumbles and some baseline chugging. Ironic because you'd expect that out of the song called "Inch'Allah", but wait...that track does it too, only the throbbing beat is affixed with some of the synthesizers the band used so well on Passage. The issue I have here is not simply one of style...I was fully willing to follow this Swiss band almost anywhere, but only that their sense of exploration has been dampened, cheapened for the Euro-goth in the corset on the dance floor and no longer a poetic light on the edge of an infinite span of darkness (i.e. Passage). The riffs in these two tunes are quite lacking, with or without the vocals, as presented, and they seem to have slowly gone from truly compelling guitar lines to banal bouncing chugs circa Rammstein. The remix is so bloody uninspired that I had long forgotten it was even here...

This was all mixed with pretty cutting edge audio and it might hold some appeal for that reason, but since the material is very much redundant with Reign of Light, a 'sinker' of an album which I for some reason enjoyed for a few months and then totally turned traitor towards, I can see no viable benefit to owning it beyond the aforementioned desire to bark out Vorph's lyrics yourself. The lyrics to the tune "Telepath", which I'll complain about at length elsewhere, are the sort of insincere, implausible sorts of 'positive outreach' affirmation ravings that you'd expect from a self-help tape, and sound incredibly cheesy coming from a band that used to sing about Satan and horror and evil on their first few discs. But I'd forgive that if the music was just doesn't hold up, and not solely because of the aesthetic choices, but because the majority of the riffs and vocals are mundane and have little of the emotional gravitas I once felt so strongly from their music. Avoid this, and if you happen to see a copy of the digipack out in the wild, give it a swift kick for me.

Verdict: Fail [2.25/10] (format our comprehension)

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