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Brilliant genre condensation - 96%

MaDTransilvanian, June 9th, 2010

Senmuth’s hordes of ambient/ethno albums are quite enjoyable and interesting, but the man’s truly exceptional moments come when he combines those sounds with metal to create something completely unique and unheard of elsewhere in the realm of metal, or music for that matter. Such is the case with his ninth and last 2009 album, Себек, an Egpytian-themed 80 minute masterpiece.

The first 15 minutes or so of the album, split into three tracks, begin as an ambient-like instrumental section, mixed with metal by way of the complex guitar riffs. Thus, the must consists of keyboard ambient sounds, seconded by constant guitar playing, some non-metal drumming, which is basically the type of percussion one expects from folk-themed music, and a kind of synthetic chanting that isn’t actually vocals, but only an additional element designed to evoke Ancient Egypt, which is the objective of pretty much the whole album. One curious aspect is that these elements, while exclusive only during this brief beginning, continue existing alongside the rest of the music all the way through to the end of the album, sometimes more in the background but never completely absent.

The fourth track, Гимны Себеку в Праздник Воды, truly begins the main metal portion of the album. The drumming visibly takes on a more aggressive and fast-paced role, with its presence decisively given the main position within the overall sound. The riffs remain conspicuously the same as during the previous tracks, but a few more complex patters ones, including some solos, appear. The mix of these two elements is what truly makes this album a new force in the metal world. However, any attempt to define the kind of metal played by Senmuth here within traditional genre boundaries is bound to give any and all who try it headaches; in the end I hear a bizarre mix of death metal, doom metal and a solid dose of industrial metal, while the word experimental definitely has its place here as well.

Along with the above mentioned elements, Гимны Себеку в Праздник Воды is also where Senmuth’s vocals appear. These, too, are relatively hard to describe and especially to classify. He does a kind of repetitive semi-loud yelling, which borders on the harsh vocal without ever fully being a growl. His lines are sung very quickly, in keeping with the quickened pace of the rest of the music, while the overall thing tends to have a little of that repetitive, perhaps even droning effect to it; variation is very rare on this album. His vocals, and their evocative style, work in a similar way to the very different Blood of Kingu vocals. The final point worth noting on his vocals, and this is obviously natural, but he truly sounds very Russian, not only on account of the language but also having that distinctive accent whenever Russians sing in metal.

In the end, the primary objective of this album is to sound like a death/doom/industrial metal album, with additional ambient elements, in its attempt to capture the apparent atmosphere of Ancient Egypt, like a good number of other Senmuth releases do. Its complexity is impressive and the end result is a new kind of metal masterpiece, fusing foreign elements very successfully to create a brand new sound. This is another extremely worthy Senmuth album.