Schammasch Set to Mesmerize at Iceland’s Ascension MMXXIII Festival

Alex de Borba

Alex de Borba

Schammasch, the renowned Swiss avant-garde black metal band, have confirmed their presence at Ascension MMXXIII, an upcoming four-day music festival that aims to provide a diverse and esoteric experience, focusing primarily on Icelandic and international Black metal.

Ascension MMXXIII is an upcoming four-day music festival that showcases an array of eclectic and esoteric performances, with a particular emphasis on Icelandic and international black metal. Presented by Oration and Studio Emissary, the festival is slated to transpire at Gaukurinn, Reykjavík, Iceland, from May 18th to May 21st, 2023. Among the confirmed acts is the distinguished Swiss avant-garde black metal band Schammasch, renowned for their innovative fusion of various musical styles and exploration of esoteric themes.

Emerging from Switzerland, Schammasch has etched an indelible mark on the avant-garde black metal scene since its genesis in 2009. Their distinctive amalgamation of black metal, doom, and dark ambient sounds, coupled with esoteric themes and striking visual aesthetics, has catapulted them to prominence.

Schammasch materialized in 2009 under the impetus of vocalist and guitarist C.S.R., who aspired to engender music transcending the confines of conventional black metal while preserving the intensity characteristic of the genre. The band’s appellation is derived from Šamaš, the venerated Mesopotamian sun deity, alluding to the ensemble’s captivation with ancient mythologies and spiritual concepts.

Released on May 11th, 2012, Schammasch’s debut album ‘Sic Lvceat Lvx,’ exemplified their sui generis approach to atmospheric black metal, marked by more languid tempos, a predilection for melody, and an eagerness to traverse diverse sonic realms. The album elicited laudatory reviews, heralding Schammasch as an innovative force in the black metal milieu. The album was issued by Invictus Productions, a record label known for supporting underground metal acts.

Ascencion Festival Iceland

Schammasch’s ambitious disposition ascended to unprecedented heights with their sophomore offering, ‘Contradiction,’ released on April 11th, 2014, via Prosthetic Records. This dual-disc album exhibited a more sophisticated and mature sound, characterized by intricate song configurations, elaborate guitar craftsmanship, and an augmented focus on atmospheric elements. The lyrics probed esoteric themes, scrutinizing the concept of duality and the interplay between luminosity and obscurity. ‘Contradiction’ explored themes of duality and the interplay between light and darkness, and was met with universal acclaim, fortifying Schammasch’s standing as a preeminent avant-garde black metal act.

The band’s most audacious oeuvre, ‘Triangle’ was released on April 29th, 2016, through Prosthetic Records. ‘Triangle’ is a three-pronged album segmented into distinct sections: ‘The Process of Dying,’ ‘Metaflesh,’ and ‘The Supernal Clear Light of the Void.’ Each compartment accentuates a different facet of the band’s sound, ranging from black metal and doom to dark ambient and ritualistic music. ‘Triangle’ grapples with themes of metamorphosis, transcendence, and humanity’s quest for enlightenment, embodying the band’s philosophical perspective on music.

‘Hearts of No Light,’ Schammasch’s fourth full-length album, was released on November 8th, 2019, through Prosthetic Records. Venturing further into progressive and atmospheric territories, the album incorporated elements of post-metal, broadening the band’s sonic range. Delving into themes of love, loss, and existential anguish, ‘Hearts of No Light’ demonstrated Schammasch’s ongoing maturation as musicians and composers, receiving positive reviews from both fans and critics.

Schammasch’s musical creations are deeply imbued with their fascination for ancient mythologies, esotericism, and spirituality. Their lyrics frequently derive inspiration from a medley of sources, such as Gnostic texts, alchemical treatises, and Eastern philosophies. This predilection for the esoteric extends to their album artwork and live performances, which incorporate occult symbolism and ritualistic elements.

The band’s visual aesthetics encompass an eclectic array of influences, including religious iconography, surrealist art, and occult imagery. Schammasch’s live performances often feature ornate costumes, makeup, and stage props, engendering an immersive and ethereal atmosphere that amplifies their music’s transcendent qualities.

Schammasch’s trailblazing approach to black metal has galvanized a new generation of avant-garde extreme metal bands, expanding the genre’s horizons and reimagining its potentialities. Their synthesis of black metal with doom, dark ambient, and ritualistic elements has become a paradigm for numerous emerging acts in the subterranean metal scene.

One notable historical detail worth mentioning is the band’s collaboration with prominent artists and designers, such as Valnoir of Metastazis, a renowned French graphic design studio specializing in the visual arts for metal bands. This collaboration has contributed to Schammasch’s striking visual identity, enhancing their overall artistic expression.

Schammasch has carved an unparalleled trajectory within the extreme metal panorama through their unmistakable sound, esoteric themes, and visually arresting live performances. By melding black metal with an array of musical styles and delving into complex philosophical concepts, the band has transcended genre conventions and positioned themselves as pioneers in the realm of avant-garde black metal. As Schammasch continues to develop and experiment with new sonic domains, their influence on the extreme metal scene is certain to endure.

Regarding Ascension MMXXIII, it aims to cultivate a unique and immersive experience for festival-goers by assembling a diverse lineup of musical acts that traverse the boundaries of traditional black metal. With a strong emphasis on Icelandic and international artists, the festival seeks to showcase the richness and variety within the black metal genre, as well as celebrate its cultural significance.

Schammasch’s confirmation for the festival underscores the event’s commitment to featuring innovative and groundbreaking artists. As pioneers in the realm of avant-garde black metal, Schammasch’s presence at Ascension MMXXIII is expected to enthrall and captivate audiences, providing a powerful and transformative musical experience.

Ascension MMXXIII, presented by Oration and Studio Emissary, promises to be a distinctive and memorable event, uniting the diverse and creative forces within the Icelandic and international black metal scenes. With acts like Schammasch set to perform, the festival is poised to leave an indelible mark on the hearts and minds of those who attend, fostering a deeper appreciation and understanding of the genre’s multifaceted nature.

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