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Interview

Samael Returns To Form And Forges Ahead With New Album "Lux Mundi"

Photo of Samael

Band Photo: Samael (?)

After a brief excursion into "Above," which was originally meant to be a side project, Swiss metal pioneers Samael have both returned to form with the upcoming "Lux Mundi" album (reviewed here) and forged ahead into new territory. Bringing to mind some of the band's best work from the '90s, but with a modern slant and an extra decade of experience behind the music, "Lux Mundi" sees the act again gracefully melding electronic and metal elements.

Following-up our last interview after the release of "Above," front man Vorph has again given Metalunderground a look into Samael's creative process for the recording of the new album. Explaining how the band approached the new material, Vorph commented "With 'Lux Mundi' we wanted to start afresh and do an album as if it would be our first one, we had no intention to link it to anything we’ve done before."

Below you can find Vorph's thoughts on writing music that fits a live environment, the change in sound from "Above," and the plans for an upcoming music video for the song "Luxferre."

xFiruath: Fill me in a bit on the recording process for the new album. Where did you record and who did you work with?

Vorph: As far as the recording process goes, we pretty much proceeded the same way we did for “Solar Soul” and “Reign of Light;” we used three different places in Switzerland including Xy’s home studio and we mixed the album in England with Russ Russell. Xy started working on the new material in the summer 2007 and by the end of that year we already had a few songs in their first shape but they all mutated through different phases. We took time to let them mature, we had no dead line we just wanted to make a great album that would work fine in a live environment.

xFiruath: There is a vastly noticeable sound difference between “Above” and “Lux Mundi,” especially with how the vocals end up in the music. How was the production different on this album from the last one?

Vorph: The approach wasn’t the same. “Above” was originally intended to be a side project, we had those songs ready for some time but we never got the chance to put the final touch to them so in spring 2008 we took a break with the song writing of “Lux Mundi” to finish that project and mix it in 4 days during the summer. We liked the energy of that album and we thought some of those songs would be a nice addition to our set list. That’s how “Above” became a Samael album.

xFiruath: “Lux Mundi” has generated some buzz as being a sort of sequel to the critically acclaimed “Passage.” How do you feel about that label and were you trying to return to an earlier sound?

Vorph: With “Lux Mundi” we wanted to start afresh and do an album as if it would be our first one, we had no intention to link it to anything we’ve done before. We thought if today we’ll have the chance to do a first album all over again what it would be like and the result is the answer to that question. I’m sure you’ll find all elements that made Samael what it is today but this album is somehow a new start for the band.

xFiruath: How does Samael usually approach song writing?

Vorph: We found a way to work together on “Ceremony of Opposites” and we haven’t changed it since. Xy is doing all the music and I write the lyrics but we all give our impressions to the songs so they can evolved to the next step.

xFiruath: What do the lyrics generally deal with on this album and how are they different from other releases?

Vorph: Religion, war, and personal quest are the main themes of “Lux Mundi.” The difference are mainly the angle we take when looking at those topics. Our desire of self improvement is constantly mirrored in the lyrics of our songs and as we believe knowledge is “an ever growing flame” there are more white sheets to be filled.

xFiruath: Can we expect a music video from any of the tracks on this album?

Vorph: We’ll shoot a video this week for “Luxferre.”

xFiruath: Were any songs recorded that didn’t make it onto the album?

Vorph: No, the 12 songs we recorded all made it to the album because they were all important to us.

xFiruath: Where will Samael be touring in support of the album?

Vorph: We will tour Europe in September and we’re also looking to come to North America sometime this fall.

xFiruath: How’s your local metal scene and does Samael get to perform home town shows often?

Vorph: The Swiss metal scene is going good at the moment, there’s a lot more bands than when we first started and some of them start to get recognized internationally.

xFiruath: Been to any really amazing shows lately or seen anything crazy at a concert in recent memory?

Vorph: I didn’t had much time to visit concerts this time around but next weekend I’m going to see Coroner performing for the first time since they reformed, hope that’s going to be great.

xFiruath: What bands or albums are you listening to these days other than “Lux Mundi??

Vorph: I’m playing some AC/DC in my car right now but most of the time I listen to classical music, mainly Russian and German composers.

xFiruath: Now that “Above” is out and ended up being released under the Samael name, will there be anything else in the future from that virtual side band?

Vorph: I don’t think so but you never know; a virtual band means a close collaboration on the long run with graphic designer and computer programmer, and at this time all that we want is to play live.

xFiruath: Anything else you’d like to discuss?

Vorph: “Lux Mundi” will be out on the 3rd of May on Season of Mist and the US version also contains the “Antigod” EP, I can’t actually wait to have that CD in my hands.

xFiruath's avatar

Ty Arthur is a freelance writer who writes for both entertainment and technical instruction sites. An avid fan of many different forms of metal, he has been involved in reviewing music for several years and is currently a contributing editor for Metalunderground.com

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