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Samael is a Swiss extreme metal band formed in 1987 in Sion.
|Past members||Pat Charvet|
The current line up of the band include founding members and brothers Vorphalack (Vorph) and Xytraguptor (Xy), guitarist Drop and bassist Ales. A few other members have been part of the band throughout the years: Rodolph H. (keyboards, 1993–1995), Kaos (guitar, 1996–2001), Mas (bass, 1991–2014) and Makro (guitar, 2002–2018).
Samael is known to incorporate metal, industrial, electronic and symphonic music into their sound and mix it with massive beats, martial rhythms and up-tempo or blast beat. One of the key elements that distinguishes Samael from traditional metal bands is the use of a drum machine in studio and live on stage.
Early years and two first albums, 1987–1993Edit
Although Vorphalack jammed and played with his friend Pat on drums since April 1987, it was when his brother Xytraguptor first sat behind the drums kit on 14 July 1988 that Samael really started. The two brothers soon recorded and released a 7-inch EP with two original songs "Into the Pentagram" and "The Dark" and a cover from Hellhammer "The Third of the Storm". They played a few shows in Germany, France, Switzerland and Poland before entering Taurus Studio in Geneva to record their first album. Samael became a trio when Masmiseîm joined the band as a bass player, the new formation played its first show in Poland. Worship Him (1991) become the first album released by Osmose Productions one year after being recorded. The band played a bunch of shows to promote the album including a short eastern tour with Napalm Death which ended with two shows in Moscow. Samael signed with Century Media and record their second album at T&T Studio in Gelsenkirchen with producer Waldemar Sorychta. Blood Ritual is released on 1 December 1992, a month later the band embarked on their first European Tour with label mates Unleashed and Tiamat. The 20-date tour ended in Belgium with an indoor festival with Fear Factory, Brutal Truth and Agnostic Front among other bands.
Ceremony of Opposites and Rebellion, 1994–1995Edit
Recorded and mixed in 10 days in Woodhouse Studios in Hagen (Germany) Ceremony of Opposites was produced by Waldemar Sorychta and released on 18 February 1994. The addition of keyboards in every song is accountable for the recruiting of Rodolph H who joined the band as keyboards player. A few samples could be heard throughout the album and most notably the voice of Aleister Crowley on the song "Crown" and the beginning of "The Hut on the Hen's Legs (Baba Yaga)" of the Pictures at an Exhibition from Modest Mussorgsky in "Baphomet's Throne". The crunchy and aggressive guitar sound, the keyboards orchestration, the metallic sound of the drums and over the top screaming vocal turned it into a seminal black metal album.
The band got invited by Martin Eric Ain (Celtic Frost) to play at the Lucifer Rising convention in Zurich in March before they joined the Full of Hate Festival tour headlined by Morbid Angel and Cannibal Corpse. A video for the song "Baphomet's Throne" was shot during that tour. The tour was followed by Samael's first headliner tour in Europe with Grave, Massacra and Therion as supports. The same year the band did their first US tour: 23 dates in 23 days up and down the East Coast as support for Cannibal Corpse and continued that tour in Europe for another 41 shows.
February 1995 the band was back in studio to record the Rebellion mini album. Two new tracks, two re-arranged songs and a cover version of "I Love the Dead" from Alice Cooper. "Static Journey" were the first songs Samael recorded with programmed drums. The Rebellion Tour started in Europe with Sentenced and ended with two shows in Mexico.
Passage and Exodus, 1996–1998Edit
The band decided to work with a drum machine after Rodolph left the band. Xy moved from the drums to the keyboards and programmed all the drums parts. Kaos joined the band as second guitarist and the band went back to Woodhouse Studios for a 3 weeks session. The first show with the drum machine and new line up was on 26 June in Z7 in Pratteln (Switzerland) as opener for Kreator, the following day Samael played in With Full Force festival alongside Ministry, Motörhead, and Front Line Assembly. Passage was released on 19 August 1996 and a full European tour followed with support from label mates Moonspell and Rotting Christ. A video was shot in Berlin for the song "Jupiterian Vibe" directed by Andreas Marshall.
Samael co-headlined the 1997 Full of Hate Festival tour with Obituary, Entombed, Crowbar and Strapping Young Lad completed the line up. Later on that year they took part in another tour festival across Germany alongside Kreator, Sodom, Exodus, Grip Inc. and In Flames. That summer the band played for the first and only time at Dynamo Open Air in Eindhoven as well as Wacken, Grasspop, and With Full Force festival. In the meantime Xy released on his own label a neo classical version of Passage under the name Xytras. Exodus mini album was released in April 1998, in June Samael played in Istanbul with Kreator.
Eternal, Black Trip DVD, 1999–2003Edit
In Montreux (Switzerland) at the Mountain Studios, Samael recorded their new album with rock producer David Richards. The sound and the overall production of Eternal was very much rooted in the 1970s while the approach of the songs was very contemporary. The gap between the opening song "Year Zero" and "Infra Galaxia" or between the Deep Purple sounding "Radiant Star" and the electronic stamped "Ways" is very wide. The band toured in Europe with Grip Inc. and Lacuna Coil before going to the US with Dimmu Borgir, Monstrosity and Epoch of Unlight. The following summer they played with Iron Maiden at Artefact Fest in France.
Early 2002 Kaos departed from the band and was replaced by Makro. With the new line-up, the band played a couple of shows before the Summer Breeze Open Air which became the core of Samael's first DVD Black Trip. In the meantime, Vorph and Xy worked on an electronic project which was released in 2006 under the name Era One. In January 2003 Samael was back on the road with Cathedral and Without Face for the Redemption Tour, the tour then went to the US with Strapping Young Lad and Cathedral as supporting acts.
Reign of Light and Solar Soul, 2004–2008Edit
Reign of Light was recorded and mixed during the summer 2004, first single "Telephath" came with a video and was released in September, the album was out in October. The band toured Europe with support acts Flowing Tears for the first part of the tour and Dagoba for the Scandinavian dates. Samael later supported Oomph! in Germany. The next year, the single "On Earth" which featured a cover of "I Feel you" from Depeche Mode was released. The band played summer festivals in Europe and Switzerland. In Paleo Festival in Nyon (Switzerland) they played before Rammstein, four songs of that performance ended up on a bonus DVD for a special edition of Reign of Light. In Paris, the band received an award from Hard Rock magazine for best industrial album. After a European tour with Obituary the band finished recording their following album.
In March 2007 Samael opened for Iggy Pop in Montana (Switzerland) where they played two new songs for the first time: "On the Rise", and "Slavocracy". Solar Soul was mixed in Sweden by Stefan Glaumann and was released on 1 June through Nuclear Blast worldwide. In July they played with Nine Inch Nails at Rock Oz'Arenes. In March 2008 they were back on the road with Gothminister and Sybreed. During the summer Vorph and Xy went to Sweden to mix with Frederic Nordström a side project that was recorded a long time ago. In September they returned to the US with Amorphis and Virgin Black. After that tour, as the final mastering for the side project was done it was decided that it would become the next Samael album.
Above and Lux Mundi, 2009–2014Edit
Recorded in 1999, mixed in 2008, Above was released on 6 March 2009. It was described by the band as a tribute to their metal roots and they listed some of their influences on the CD booklet: Kiss, AC/DC, Venom, Slayer, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Impaled Nazarene, Motörhead, Black Sabbath, Bathory. Faster and more extreme than anything Samael released previously, the album surprised the critics and fans alike but it sent the band on a 90 more dates tour. First in Europe with Deicide, Vader, Devian and The Amenta, then in the US with Carcass, Suicide Silence and Psycroptic, and finally all across Europe with Paradise Lost and Ghost Brigade.
Lux Mundi was co produced by Xy and Waldemar Sorychta, it was recorded in Switzerland and mixed in England by Russ Russel. First the band released a mini album Antigod which featured two live tracks, a remix and new version of the song "Into the Pentagram" from their first album Worship Him (1991). Samael toured in Europe with Finntroll and Rotting Christ in support of that mini album. A video was shot in Sweden by Patrick Ulaeus for the song "Luxferre" (Latin for "light carrier"). On 29 April 2011 Lux Mundi was released. The band later toured in Europe with Keep of Kalessin and Melechesh.
Xy was asked by the city of Sion (Switzerland) to compose a piece of music for a sound and light show to be played in two consecutive summers. Recorded in Prague with 100 classical musicians that piece of music was released on CD under the name Sedunum. In 2013, Samael played the album Passage in its entirety at Inferno Festival Switzerland and at Metal Hammer Paradise in Germany. Bass player and long time Samael member Mas left the band in November 2014, he was replaced by Drop (ex-Sybreed).
Return to the past, 2015–2017Edit
20 years after it was first released, Samael celebrated their album Ceremony of Opposites (1994) by playing the entire album live over 40 times in festivals in Europe and US and with short tours in Canada, Russia and Poland. The fact that the album was performed with a drum machine instead of real drums like it was on the original recording created a polemic within the older fans of the band.
In May 2017 the member of Samael launched a side project W.A.R. (Worship and Ritual), in order to perform their first two, more primitive black metal albums, live. In this group, the original members adopted their old stage names (Vorphalack and Xytraguptor) and Xy returned to playing drums. The first W.A.R. concerts happened in Les Caves du Manoir in Martigny (Switzerland) were the band performed for two consecutive nights.
The new album Hegemony was released on 13 October 2017. Before hand the band released lyrics video for the songs "Angel of Wrath" and "Red Planet", and a video for "Black Supremacy". In early 2018, a video with live footage was released for Rite of Renewal.
- Michael "Vorph" Locher – guitar, vocals (1987–present)
- Alexandre "Xytras" Locher – drums, drum programming, keyboards, samples (1988–present)
- Thomas "Drop" Betrisey – guitar (2018–present), bass (2015–2018)
- Ales Campanelli – bass (2020–present)
- Pat Charvet – drums (1987–1988)
- Rodolphe "H." Bellina – keyboards, samples (1993–1996)
- Frédéric "Kaos" Miniutti – guitar (1996–2002)
- Christophe "Mas" Mermod – bass (1991–2015)
- Marco "Makro" Rivao – guitar (2002–2018)
- Pierre "Zorrac" Carroz – bass (2018–2020)
|Title||Album details||Peak chart positions||Sales|
|Ceremony of Opposites||
|Reign of Light||
|"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.|
|Recordings '88 – '89||
|Since the Creation...||
|Aeonics – An Anthology||
|A Decade in Hell||
Other affiliated releasesEdit
|1994||"Baphomet's Throne"||Tamara Jordan||Ceremony Of Opposites|
|1996||"Jupiterian Vibe"||Andreas Marshall||Passage|
|1999||"Infra Galaxia"||Rodrigue Pellaud and Samael||Eternal|
|Reign Of Light|
|2009||"Black Hole"||Sergeï Ulyanov||Above|
|2011||"Luxferre"||Patric Ullaeus||Lux Mundi|
|2017||"Black Supremacy"||Marki Ghosteaser and MK||Hegemony|
|2022||"Dictate Of Transparency"||Hegemony|
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