Samael - Worship Him
Osmose Productions
Black Metal, Doom
10 songs (41:06)
Release year: 1991
Samael, Osmose Productions
Reviewed by Goat
Archive review

Not just the first CD to ever be released under the Osmose banner, but one of the very first Black Metal releases as we know it today, Samael's debut is just one of several generally overlooked albums from the band from the early nineties. Looking back, it's a mixture of Black and Doom Metal, clearly influenced by Hellhammer and Bathory, with interestingly ahead-of-its-time atmospheric touches (that creepy intro to Sleep Of Death, for one) and downright gnarly instrumentation. Formed all the way back in 1987, the lineup for this album featured brothers Xystraguptor and Vorphalack along with Masmiseim on bass, and it's an old-school set of songs indeed. The guitar riffs are deep rumblings, the drums post-Thrashing blasts, the vocals about as kvlt as it was possible to get in 1991 - a year when not even Darkthrone were Black Metal yet, let's remind ourselves - Worship Him is a curiosity especially for those interested in tracing the roots of the genre.

There's something genuinely thrilling and cold about the Doomy churning of the title track, however, great cavernous riffs plodding to wonderfully subtle effect. Most of the songs follow a similar path, but you sense that the band are genuinely overjoyed to have made this discovery, and are channelling dark forces for all that they are worth. Samael's later albums progressed immensely, but never did the band sound so downright sinister and dark as they did here, building on the Hellhammer blueprint to create Thrashy pounders like Morbid Metal and turning almost My Dying Bride-y with Rite Of Cthulhu. This is fairly simplistic, hardly technical music, but it's the atmosphere that makes it so worthy, especially on Into The Pentagram, probably the most advanced track present with what is very nearly a chorus.

Not a great deal more that can be said about Worship Him, except that it's the beginning of a fascinating career from the Swiss band. Later albums, especially 1994's Ceremony Of Opposites, are much better in practically every way, but for an initial blast of evil Worship Him is hard to beat. Samael were making Black Metal years before most of their peers in the Second Wave of Black Metal, have consistently proven themselves ahead of the game, yet often failed to live up to expectations and Worship Him can seem rather repetitive and dull if you're not prepared to give it time and respect for its unacclaimed status. The band rather dropped the ball with it, in my opinion, by not pursuing the riffs' atmospheric value in and of itself - final track The Dark fades out with the sound of a music box, for example, rather than coming to a crescendo. It is, ultimately, a relic of the genre, an album that's important more for historical reasons than for any timeless music it has made, and whilst fans of early extreme metal such as Hellhammer and Bathory will find much to enjoy, the greater number of Metalheads are probably better advised to start later in Samael's career.

Killing Songs :
Worship Him, Morbid Metal, The Black Face, Into The Pentagram
Goat quoted 74 / 100
Other albums by Samael that we have reviewed:
Samael - Solar Soul reviewed by Cory and quoted 56 / 100
Samael - Reign of Light reviewed by Cory and quoted 86 / 100
Samael - Lux Mundi reviewed by Cory and quoted 92 / 100
Samael - Passage reviewed by Goat and quoted 85 / 100
Samael - Ceremony Of Opposites reviewed by Goat and quoted 95 / 100
To see all 9 reviews click here
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