Released: 2009, ATMF
Reviewer: Alan Gilkeson
According to their Myspace page this is their Bon Voyage CD, and that is very unfortunate. Among all of Metal's sub-genres, Black Metal is perhaps the least defined, with so many bands falling under the moniker, it can at times be difficult to come up with a set of guidelines for labeling such acts. Semen Datura are one of those groups that prance around the core of intrinsic Black Metal tremolo picking, shrieky vocals, overdone distortion, and relaxed song structure. They are all of these things...and none of them, all at once.
I like to compare these guys to Arckanum, not because they sound alike, but because they approach music in a similar manner. There is no particular allegiance to any Black Metal more. Instead they look to expand things a bit, there's more emphasis on riffing and song structure, there are calculated displays of emotion above the sonicscape of 'atmosphere', they're attempting to grow their own take on the music rather than branch off towards the more commercially viable styles.
Unlike most Black Metal fare, the drums and bass are high in the mix, clear and powerful and on the whole, the music is very progressive. There's elements of Thrash, Industrial, and Prog Rock, but still doesn't lose that old school aggression. Songs like 'Mental Outlaw' and 'Marschbefehl' are great examples of this blend, conjoining these sounds in ways melodious and violent. Certainly worthy of an A+ for originality, Semen Datura may be contenders for Black Metal record of the year.