Swiss extreme metal group Samael quickly evolved from a run-of-the-mill black metal band into one of the most daring and eclectic sonic explorers of their generation; eager to tamper with their sound by introducing industrial, electronic, and gothic music elements into their formative black and death metal foundations. Formed in the late '80s by brothers Vorphalack (vocals/guitar) and Xytras (drums/programming/keyboards), along with bassist Masmiseim, Samael were initially influenced primarily by first-generation black metal bands such as England's Venom, Sweden's Bathory, and Swiss compatriots Hellhammer/Celtic Frost, as evidenced by their exceedingly raw, self-financed, Medieval Prophecy EP. This brought them to the attention of France's Osmose Productions, which offered to release the band's first full-length album, Worship Him, in 1991. Characterized by spirited but unremarkable black metal graced with only minimal production values, the record did little to advance the band's cause, but a shift into slower-paced, almost doom-like domains for the next year's Blood Ritual better showcased Samael's fast-expanding songwriting range, as well as their first experiments with synthesizer backdrops. After signing with the Century Media label and adding keyboard player Rodolphe H., the group entered the studio with up-and-coming producer Waldemar Sorychta and came away with their most accomplished and distinctive effort yet, 1994's impressive Ceremony of Opposites, which was filled with evil atmospherics and keyboard melodies swirling around churning guitars to create what Samael themselves aptly called "macabre operettas."