Released: 2016, Prosthetic Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
With each successive release, the Swiss collective known as Schammash have intentionally expanded their musical reach, both literally and figuratively. Their sophomore release, CONTRADICTION, was a double album and showed the band finding beginning to find their footing within the avante gard black metal space. Their just released third album, TRIANGLE, is an ambitious triple album that aims to knock down whatever walls may be left to confine them. Embracing three distinct musical themes across each respective disc, TRIANGLE is a maximum dose of prog leaning blasphemy.
“The Process of Dying” houses the first six tracks, and is for all intents and purposes the most “traditional” set of tunes. There are definitely some nods to Behemoth’s THE SATANIST here, from the ambient tones that tethers one to tune to the next, to some of the guitar/vocal phrasing across tracks like “Father’s Breath” and “Consensus”. You could also argue that Deathspell Omega did that whole shtick first, but that’s for a conversation for another time. Inspiration aside, it’s a mature and defiant body of next gen black metal.
“Metaflesh” ushers in the next movement, and while it’s still as heavy as its predecessor, the tracks on this disc are broader in scope and execution. The goth leanings of “Metanoia” hint at early Katatonia, which is a stark contrast to the militaristic nature of “The World Destroyed by Water”. “Above the Stars” writhes in swaths of ghostly melody, and “Conclusion” exits this procession on a somber, folk inspired note.
“The Supernatural Clear Night of the Void” is the third disc in the package, and is mostly comprised of ambient, instrumental pieces. As TRIANGLE narrates the progression of death to transcendence, the vacant landscapes of “Cathartic Confession” and “Maelstrom” succeed in making you feel like you’re someplace unfamiliar, and maybe a little bit afraid. The epic finale “The Empyrean” is a nihilistic epitaph for the album, riding a discordant guitar line beneath poetic, chanted recitation. If you’ve made it through the entire 100 minutes of music with any feelings of hope left in your sould, consider yourself lucky.
You can debate the nature of whether avante garde black metal is really “avante garde” anymore if there’s an entire genre dedicated to bands that fall into that character, but what should be able to agree on Schammash and the achievements of TRIANGLE. It’s an album that requires time and investment from the listener, but the listener is rewarded with a complex platter of extreme music. Beyond the quality of the songs, everything from the production to the packaging is treated with the highest reverence. Plenty has been documented already about the photo sessions for the album covers for TRIANGLE and how it relates to the music; it’s good reading and adds some additional context to the music captured within. Schammash have kept a relatively low profile up to this point, expect that to change with the release of TRIANGLE.