Time moves fast. It was four years ago that Sammath launched “Across The Rhine Is Only Death.” A devastating album which pushes the boundaries of black metal in extremes with pure blind aggression in the form of fast and intense songs (see also https://metal-exposure.com/sammath-across-the-rhine-is-only-death/). Now the Dutch three-piece metal outfit is back with “Grebbeberg,” which consists of eight songs that again display the band’s morbid fascination of World War II. Sammath has been active for three decades and slowly developed its style from melodic black metal (Satyricon in the early years) to a pulverizing Tiger tank which leaves you “Crushed, Shattered and Destroyed.”
Once again, except form some melodic guitar parts, you can forget any subtle power chords on this record. “Grebbeberg,” a hill were the Dutch army opposed the superior German forces in 1940 (and lost, unfortunately), sounds like a war machine ordered and set upon destroying anything in its path.
There’s nothing heroic in war and this album shows all the blood, terror and dread of mankind during battle. Sammath calls it audio-hell and this really is a fitting name. The music is relentless, dark and after pressing play the sonic terror is unleashed immediately and with full force. And with titles as “Last Gasp of the Dying,” “Stahl” and “Murderous Artillery” make sure that you don’t forget what this album is all about.
Opener “Grebbeberg” sounds like the war-pits of hell are opened. Jan Kruitwagen screams his lungs out in typical fashion. Aided with Ruud Nillesen on bass and the ultra-fast Wim van der Valk on drums you have a recipe for hate. “Reichswald” shows a little more melody but is still as fast and aggressive as the detonation of landmine while the cool opening sample in “Murderous Artillery” adds the intensity of the murderous assault of riffs and drums and sound like a battery. The additional samples of fighter planes and artillery make sure that the horror of war is imprinted in your eardrums while follow up “Last Gasp of the Dying” give some space for atmosphere before bursting in flames. Added with great guitar riffs this song is absolutely top notch while “Crushed, Shattered and Destroyed” picks up were “Dying” stops. It is good to see that the riffs, harsh and grim as the maybe, contain some excellent melodies. These melodies give the songs a sense of urgency. As if you are fighting off a battalion of Germans with only two clips of ammo.“Tot de laatste Granaat” and “Decimate” are short, tense and super harsh while track “Stahl and Feurer” is the accumulation of Sammath. It is tense but has a dark and haunting guitar lead which makes you despair like a bombing in the night.
As mentioned on the previous review of this band: this album is not for pussies. It is for devotees of absolute black metal terror. Recorded in a semi-live setting Jan Kruitwagen, Ruud Nillesen and Wim van der Valk have created an intense, ugly album which shows craftsmanship and once again a big “fuck you to all posers” attitude.
I really enjoyed this album. While it is an intense and super aggressive trip into the depths of war these three lads don’t forget to create the right atmosphere. This machine of war has already seen some mileage but hasn’t been worn down one bit. This machine refuses to be devastated. It is determined to conquer all. If you are into some extreme black metal you should definitely give this album a go. And if you have the chance: go visit a life performance. You certainly won’t regret it.
Score: 8,2 / 10
Release date: 16 June 2023
Label: Hammerheart Records
Writer: Erik Willems
- Murderous Artillery
- Last Gasp of the Dying
- Crushed, Shattered and Destroyed
- Tot de Laatste Granaat
- Stahl und Feuer