Schammasch – Contradiction (Prosthetic Records)

Sunday, 30th March 2014
Rating: 9/10

Dwelling in depths of darkness and flickering sparks of light amidst shadows, the mighty Schammasch unleash Contradiction. As the title forewarns, Contradiction is a perplexing array of mirrors, reflections, and deceptions. This two-disc record is laced with spellbinding transcendence, projections of astral ecstasy, and illuminations into other realms. With conversing counterparts and peerless nature, the nine soul-capturing invocations of Contradiction are certainly not your typical metal songs.

One particular piece is so very powerful and divine that it has the strength to stand on its own – “JHWH.” Observe that JHWH is the Tetragrammaton which represents the Hebrew name of God. This sacrament’s duration is 16:47, suspiciously the same number as the year the Gregorian/Christian calendar was put to use, 1647, beginning in 1 A.D., or Anno Domini, in the year of the Lord. But this is aside from the deeper dexterities within the music. The hallucinations begin somewhere between a kindling fire and auditory static, then vocalist Christ S.R. preaches about “the creator.” His incantations are followed by a sedated movement of resonant strumming that moves in a woozily way then pummels into black metal vertigo and continues to alter coarse throughout the rest of the song, which at this point isn’t even half in. “JHWH” is definitely one piece, and Contradiction an album in its entirety, that needs to be heard to be understood. One thing assured, you’ll feel its stone-cold, slithery touch.

While the recited hymns and chants are divine, saintly, and angelic, Chris S.R.’s harshest vocals are utterly raw, raspy, and coarse. Guitarist M.A., bassist A.T., and drummer Boris A.W. concurrently diverge from delicate and atoning to demolishing and dark. “Split My Tongue,” displays a triad of Schammasch’s qualities, both vocal and instrumental – the intro strides in sludge, which ascends to a broad frame of screaming-in-darkness black metal, then the last seconds wane with sublime chants that seal the congenial wound begot by the merciless rupture.

Contradiction has the dreariness of a dream with ominous cascades of a dark nightmare, and when listening to Schammasch, one is entranced into their ritual. Schammasch’s inverted spirits are in well-balanced harmony, paralleled by nature like black and white, and they never drift afar from their intoxicating sanctuary.

Schammash official website

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