Samael and Hangman’s Chair come to dominate London with heavy riffs 8.5/10
Words and photographs by Jade Greenbrooke
Swiss Extreme Metal band SAMAEL and Parisian Doom Metal band HANGMAN’S CHAIR dominated Camden’s Underworld on Tuesday night.
Hailing from Paris, France, HANGMAN’S CHAIR were the only support for the night with an impressive 40-minute set for the doom metal quartet. They take to the modest sized stage, backs to the crowd as the intro to their set begins. The riffs are longer than I’m personally used to, and at points felt as though they dragged slightly but this was made up for with the band’s contagious energy and excellent playing. If you appreciate a good riff with some killer drums you’ll love these guys. Despite a majority of the crowd visibly being present for SAMAEL, it was still clear that they were enjoying HANGMAN’S CHAIR judging by the head banging and cheering around me.
The room fills and where there was some space to move around before, there is no longer, and the limited venue is now cramped, filled to the brim with one of the most varied audiences I’ve ever seen, from younger looking fans to older metal heads, a lot of them sporting the band’s t-shirts. SAMAEL waste no time, the moment they enter the stage they throw themselves into the first song. Vocalist and guitarist Michael ‘Vorph’ Locher oozes charisma and instantly draws the crowd in, gaining very vocal encouragement from the crowd to continue their momentum. I was expecting something much heavier from SAMAEL, described as extreme metal, I found that this set list had more of their symphonic numbers, such as ‘Rite of Renewal’ and ‘The Ones Who Came Before’.
The band’s mix of industrial and symphonic metal reminded me a lot of RAMMSTEIN, specifically if RAMMSTEIN and METALLICA were to have a child, SAMAEL would be the result. This is particularly highlighted in ‘Angel of Wrath’, my favourite performance of the night, as well as ‘Black Supremacy’, which was a perfect example of how unique the band’s sound is. The band now actually having a drummer, but instead uses a drone/drum machine for both studio and live, adding a unique element to their sound. Although the setlist was very new album heavy, SAMAEL did treat longtime fans to some older works, including ‘Baphomet’s Throne’ and ‘Ceremony of Opposites’, throwing all the way back to when they first originated in 1987. For a band that have been around for over thirty years, they sure know how to put on a show and have gained an excellent following over the years. Overall, SAMAEL put on an excellent show, and I’m definitely glad I saw them performing their more symphonic album ‘Hegemony’, which is an excellent album that should be checked out! 8.5/10
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