Switzerland-based avant-garde black metallers Schammasch take no less than 2+ minutes into “A Paradigm of Beauty,” the second video track (first was “Rays like Razors”) off new album, Hearts of No Light (Prosthetic), to really get the engines running. Then, across the track’s near-eight minutes of darkened wonder, Schammasch turn up the experimentation, the discord, and the intensity to become more than the sum of their respective parts.
The Swiss purveyors of exploratory and innovative (if malefic) tenebrosity have a real gem on their hands with the video (directed by Dehn Sora) for “A Paradigm of Beauty.” It’s a slow burner, a mind challenger, a piece of interpretive art that shows just how far Schammasch will go (much like their video for “Metanoia”) to communicate to the viewer/listener.
Decibel, Prosthetic, and Schammasch are hereby proud to premiere the world debut of “A Paradigm of Beauty.”
Triangle was a massive undertaking for both band and listener. Was the initial thought to follow-up Triangle with something grander or to scale back, refine, and perfect?
C.S.R: Well, technically seen Hermaphrodite has been Triangle’s follow-up, bringing a clean cut to things, offering something completely different, and giving us the chance to distance ourselves to Triangle — which was very necessary. Starting to work on new material afterwards has proven to be more difficult than expected, because with Triangle a lot has been said, and a lot has come to an end as well. For me personally, a lot of views have developed further or have changed over the years since writing Triangle, to admitand accept that towards myself and towards Schammasch was not easy and took quite some time. The initial thought of where things would go, after Hermaphrodite, was partly something very different to what actually became the album Hearts Of No Light.
Does Schammasch view Hearts of No Light as part of a body of work — an accelerant to something greater — or as an individual piece, meant to be experienced in and of itself?
C.S.R: Everything we release is part of a chronologic development, a body of work of course, without Triangle there would not be an album like Hearts Of No Light, since it is an antithesis towards Triangle in some ways. But the new album will be the first of a two chapter-piece — which doesn’t mean that the next chapter will be our following release though.
What were some of the guiding lights during the songwriting process?
C.S.R: It was more of a guiding darkness, which lead through the major processes. Phases of emptiness and negative energy that fueled the writing.
Would you still label Schammasch as black metal? There are two paths here: the atavistic definition and the ability to transcend beyond the genre’s tenets.
C.S.R: I never really called Schammasch a black metal band and I still don’t, even though black metal has always been a part of Schammasch and a strong source inspiration for us. It is something that, I think, should remain within a certain field, within the “hunting grounds” from which it has arisen, and I respect that. Schammasch does not solely move on those grounds, so I don’t want to use its name.
C.S.R: It came up as a counterpart to a title that originally should have been the one for this album, after the concept was separated into two separate chapters. Hearts Of No Light represents the darkness that slowly consumes our beings, the darkness that reigns over us within these times, and the momentary absence of light within Schammasch, as an obvious paradoxon.
Schammasch, visually, is unique. What are the drivers behind the visuals? I see a cross-section of Vedic and Abrahamic traditions designed to fit a certain musical or lyrical or thematic approach.
C.S.R: That would be way too specific, we simply seek a to find a certain kind of “grandeur“, if one wants to call it that, within our visual aesthetics, something that resonates well with everything else.
In my review of Hearts of No Light, I said the Swiss invasion is coming. Not that being Swiss is an indicator, but do you see similar invention and adventure in other up and coming acts from your home country (or nearby)?
C.S.R: There certainly is an impactful history within the more extreme Swiss musician scene. Up to this day I think that Switzerland has a lot to offer within the metal sector, maybe not in quantity (not to be forgotten how small this country really is) but definitely in quality. We surely feel a strong bond to Bölzer, to name one example.
Music is subjective. Do you have a preconceived notion how Schammasch fans will react to Hearts of No Light? They’re the choir you’re preaching to after all.
C.S.R: I think I’m still preaching towards myself above anyone else. Which doesn’t mean that the words aren’t speaking towards the listener as well of course. Anyway, I think some people will appreciate the step back into darker, more direct and more destructive areas. The album will speak to some people more than to others, that’s how it always Is in the end. We do what we do, however we want to, the general reactions of people doesn’t change that. Still it is good to see the music you create resonating within others of course, and we appreciate all the support we get.
** Schammasch’s new album, Hearts of No Light, is out November 8th on Prosthetic Records. Pre-orders are available HERE. Hearts of No Light will be available on CD and 2xLP. The Decibel exclusive is also available HERE.