Even though they’ve been around since 1994, black metal purists Sammath’s output has been decidedly thin on the ground, with only five albums released since the Second Wave had already began to burn itself out. Hailing from the Netherlands, a nation whose contribution to extreme metal begins with Gorefest, peaks with Pestilence and ends with God Dethroned, it’s fair to say that the odds are against Sammath having any impact with new album “Godless Arrogance.” But it’s not just a lack of productivity and uninspiring location that’s to blame, the music itself isn’t much cop either unfortunately.
Listening to “Godless Arrogance” is akin to hearing the selected discographies of Marduk, Gorgoroth and Taake all at once, with a riff from “Incipit Satan” here, a blasting section from “Panzer Division Marduk” there and repeated undiluted shots of corpse painted, grim and frostbitten evil clichés rammed down your throat for the entire thirty-six minute duration. You’ve heard it all before and done better, and despite the ferocious pace of album opener ‘Shot in Mass’, the icy melodies of ‘Godless’ and the grimy atmospherics of ‘Nineteen Corpses Hang in the Mist’ there’s nothing here to suggest that Sammath will ever make anything more than the reserve team, and who pays attention to the reserve team?
While there’s nothing wrong in itself with the musicianship which remains tight and efficient throughout, the lack of variation and originality is really unforgiveable in this day and age when so many other black metal acts are finding new and twisted ways to reinvent the wheel. If you’re in the mood for some no-frills B-grade blasting to kill the time with then “Godless Arrogance” may well serve that purpose, but for those whose tastes have grown a tad more refined, this is a throwback best avoided.