Deftly melding dark, smokey melodies with rocking, fuzzed-out riffs, Germany’s Samsara Blues Experiment’s Revelation & Mystery adds yet another record to the already long-list of great metal albums in 2011.
According to the band’s webpage, Samsara roughly means “to flow together” and that’s exactly what this album does. The band pulls together elements from stoner and doom metal, psychedelic rock, and krautrock into a mesmerizing package. Their second album since 2008’s Long Distance Trip, Mystery & Revelation is essentially a mix of elements being woven together to create something powerful and hypnotic. The huge, grooving riffs seem to be deeply intertwined with the moody melodies; the heavy tone of the electric guitars and bass are complimented by acoustic guitars, sitars, and harmonicas.
A band like Red Fang would be a good comparison in terms of the record’s heavier sections. The bands are similar in their use of heavy riffs and rocking song structure that make your head bob, but Samsara Blues Experiment are a little harder, a little heavier. They infuse their music with heavy doses of psychedelic influences that make their songs more varied in comparison as well. The softer, more bluesy sections of the album are reminiscent of Graveyard’s darkly upbeat rhythms and melodies, especially those found on 2011’s Hisignen Blues. Vocally, both Graveyard and Red Fang are strong comparisons — not overly aggressive, but not very melodic; Cleans with a hard edge, and tinge of aggression.
Like with the composition of the music, each song flows and is intertwined with the others, creating the sense that this is more a single orchestration than amalgamation of songs on a single slab of vinyl (or CD, or Mp3 player). The mystical lyrics fit well within the strong melodies, hard-hitting riffs, and drifting instrumental and psychedelic moments of the album. This is a very different and unique take on doom/stoner metal, utilizing the genre’s basic elements to construct something exciting and different. Overall, the highly detailed and finely tuned composition creates an immensely listenable and enjoyable experience, and one that skyrockets near the top of this year’s best albums.
Also, I would be remiss not to mention the album’s amazing artwork, which perfectly illustrates the atmosphere of the record. Without a doubt, my favorite album art of any release this year. I mean look at it!
Pros: Extremely well written; music flows and intertwines flawlessly; no unnecessary elements; the lyrics create a strong atmosphere; amazing album art!
Cons: Might be intimidating for someone looking for a few quick and catchy 3-minute songs. (Personally, I love that about the album)
For Fans of: Graveyard, Red Fang, The Sword, Led Zeppelin, Pink Flyod, Black Sabbath
Mystery & Revelation was released October 2011 via World in Sound records. You can check out more about the band and order the album on their official website, here.