Semen Datura


Written by: EW on 01/12/2009 16:16:57

Information seems to be at a premium for German black metallers Semen Datura in my efforts to introduce them to both yourself dear reader and I too. According to their Myspace, "Einsamkeit", my first meeting with the band, is to be their final work, bringing to a close a group works that could be said not to have reached any major status given my lack of prior knowledge of their existence before receiving this, album number three.

In the congested metal world any band looking to 'make it' needs a certain je ne se qua as well as the odd slice of luck, so do Semen Datura have what it takes on record to up their profile? Well, apart from a dodgy name ('semen', well I guess you know what that is, 'datura' I read is a "shrubby plant with trumpet-shaped flowers...used as hallucinogenics") "Einsamkeit" I do not feel produces a sound likable to many within black metal, and perhaps even fewer outside of it. I myself however have partially come to appreciate their Satyricon-meets-Secrets Of The Moon-meets-Deathspell Omega mix over a few listens, though this has not been without a challenge. Evidenced by tracks like opener "Fons Et Origo" Semen Datura are possessors of a compositionally complex black metal creation, staccato in nature and dark in soul and conceivably 'different' enough in spirit to repel many who like things a bit 'simpler'. The band are hard to pin down to any exact sound, an attribute gained by a succinct mix of speeds where many songs carefully mix fast blast-ridden Darkthrone-esque black dirt, Dissection classical-influenced black melody and an industrial edge and overtone that makes it hard not to think of both mid- and latter-era Satyricon (evidence in point - "Einsamkeit" and "Mental Outlaw"). Some obvious influences individually, but as a whole an unusual concoction I think you might agree.

Unlike other albums I have heard which feature a disparate mix of styles and influences "Einsamkeit" keeps an ongoing sense of identity through tracks that individually hark back to one or two other more notable names; on top of those already mentioned "Marschbefehl" has a feel of "Monotheist"-era Celtic Frost and closer "Arkona" is a grand emotive BM number that bears similarity to Negură Bunget. "Einsamkeit" is a strong release for sure that I personally am enjoying more with every listen as it has the rare quality of having a self-identity without looking to reinvent the wheel, thus sitting nicely between those two more commonly visited camps. Only the process of time is going to be enough however to reveal the true merit of Semen Datura's "Einsamkeit", but I get the feeling this album is to be a grower for the minority who can appreciate it’s quirks and delights.

Download: Marschbefehl, Einsamkeit, Witwenmacher
For The Fans Of: Secrets Of The Moon, Deathspell Omega, Satyricon
Listen: Myspace

Release date: 15.10.2009
ATMF Records

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