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Samhain – Violent Identity

Samhain - Violent Identity

CD, Aliens Productions, 2007

Samhain (not to be confused with Glenn Danzig’s early-1980s punk band of the same name) is not, by any sense of the word, dance music. It may be classified as electronica, however, as it is digitally sequenced and mastered, and packed to bursting with a myriad of synthesized instrumentation. Perhaps “hybrid modern electronics” (in the words of the Aliens label) is the perfect classification for this album.
In keeping with the gloomy overtones associated with the ancient Celtic celebration of the dead that the Catholic Church later perverted into today’s Hallowe’en, Samhain label almost every track on “Violent Identity” with dark, antisocial names: “Wince,” “Apparition” and “Wicked Design” exemplify this. I don’t quite feel the same sense of doom when listening to the music. Yes, it is fairly dark in tone, but not overtly so. In comparison with a lot of contemporary ambient offerings, Samhain’s music is actually instilled with more than its fair share of uplifting, Vangelis-esque atmospherics in between the stabs of noise.
In fact, in spite of the best efforts shown in the occasional rumbling distortions or grinding percussive fill, or even the incidental “Resident Evil” samples, Samhain have put together a very easy album to listen to. I would go so far as to say they have managed to compose a psytrance album, sans 140+ BPM basslines and drums.
In summation, “Violent Identity” is by no means a bad album, just one suffering from a bit of an identity crisis. It falls neatly into a category I personally term “soundtrack ambience” – music typified by sweeping atmospherics, intended to emotionally charge the listener, but only just failing to do so without the intended accompanying visuals.


— David vander Merwe

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