SEMARGL aren't a band rooted to their origins, they've definitely slipped anchor and been taken by the current well away from Black waters, through some choppy seas and have ended up..., well to be honest it seems that they've gone aground near some Black Sea resort.
“Ordo Bellictum Satanas” gives up all pretence of portraying the ugly side of extreme Metal and instead corrupts through accessibility. This album bounces along like a helium filled hippo, it's Thrash on a pogo stick with plenty of other elements hanging from the bungee, if that spoils your day, tough, because this lot have gone from the root of evil to a devil of a hoot. Those of you that are choking on your cocoa are gonna go apoplectic when you hear the likes of “Credo Revolution” with it's industrial overtones and wailing female accompaniment or the seedy Gothicness of “Credo Flaming Rain.” Both these songs are an ocean apart from SEMARGL's early work and both are highly commercial relatively speaking but whilst “Flaming Rain” is a take it or leave it track, “Revolution” is pounding good fun, just forget about genres, sink a gallon of beer and enjoy yourself.
Those of you that are still sticking a cautious big toe in to test the water would perhaps be more likely to dive straight in upon hearing the likes of “Satania” or “Sacrifice,” these tracks are more typical of the album, full of hubris, they're hard and insistent, the lead riffs are catchy and familiar, practically old school Heavy Metal on steroids, blood sluicin' and grin inducin'. Rhythmically, these songs stomp about with confidence, there's humour there and a strong desire to drag the reluctant into movement, if you're a miserable twat then the hooks might not find purchase but anyone who has a functioning ankle is going to be tapping their foot in no time. Everything on this album is geared into encouraging participation, the drums are played in a manner that brings on the 'bang, whatever the tempo and the pummelling is well to the fore, as is the bass, which tanks along sounding like someone's dropping medicine balls into the belly of a supertanker.
Whilst it appears that SEMARGL are flirting with the mainstream, it has to be said that they still sound rock hard. There are motifs that will raise an eyebrow occasionally like the funky slapped bass that briefly invades the stage on one track but the main thrust is a solid, chunky riff-driven beastie that is carved from granite despite some of the adornments. The vocals are gruff and magisterial, they remain within the extreme yet are also discernible, allowing you all to holler along should you feel the urge. In some ways, this music is more subversive for being accessible seeing as the subject matter is still drawn from the dark side, this more is likely to have you good folk singing bad things about baby Jesus than most of your Black hymns will.
Ultimately “Ordo Bellictum Satanas” is more about getting your blood pumping than spilling it, it should test the strength of many a dancefloor 'cos if the filthy assembled ain't jumping about to this then we might as well all say “fuck it” and take up knitting.
(Online July 12, 2010)