Ok, so we're at part two of SAMAEL's back-to-back "breakthrough"-albums. I must admit, that I'm among those who consider this album their classic. In fact, I consider this album one of my favourites…EVER! It ranks among the likes of "The Jester Race", "Cosmic Genesis", "Tales From The Thousand Lakes", "Entombed In The Midnight Hour", and many of my other favourites, as one of THE essential albums that must be in your collection, or forever a poseur ye shall be! Ok, I may get laughed at here now, because SAMAEL have gotten a lot of grief for their turn of direction on this album, and even more so on the follow-up, "Eternal". But just listen to this album. Come on, listen to it!!
After "Rebellion", Rodolphe was kicked out of the band for reasons that I'm unaware of. Drummer, Xytras, decided to take over the role of keyboardist, and, instead of getting a new drummer, all of the drumming was done by a drum machine. Ok, hold it….I know what you're going to say….but please, just listen to it! This is not a dance-album. There are riffs aplenty (partly due to extra guitarist Kaos). Vorph still has his Black Metal-voice, which fits in nicely with the eerie, almost evil, keyboard-performance by Xytras. And the drumming actually sounds like real drums!
I have a feeling that a lot of work went into the writing of these songs. Because each one is a work of art in itself. Honest to God (or whatever deity you may worship), I cannot find ONE bad moment on this album. From the opening riff of "Rain" to the closing keyboard note of "A Man In Your Head", "Passage" is an experience that has left me breathless on many occasions. Each song is cold, harsh, and, at times, mechanical. I certainly wouldn't call this Black Metal. Some fans and magazine writers have dubbed it "Space Metal", due to the cold sound and the fact that the blatantly satanic/blasphemous lyrical theme has been dropped for that dealing with space, and the cosmos.
So, be the first on your block to own this incredible album! Tell 'em Josh sent you!