Saturn In Ascension

Written by: MST on 14/11/2012 22:53:55

If there's one Danish band that cult doom fanatics around the globe knows, it's Saturnus. Since forming in 1991, they've released three records that have all been hailed as brilliant releases in the gothic doom/death metal genre, and especially 1996's "Paradise Belongs To You" is a timeless masterpiece. Having once again taken their sweet time perfecting yet another opus, Saturnus are ready to present their fourth album to us all: "Saturn In Ascension".

Fans need not worry, for Saturnus do not change their sound on "Saturn In Ascension". The music is still heavy, slow and utterly beautiful. Led by the steady percussion courtesy of Henrik Glass, Rune Stiassny's beautiful lead guitar and Thomas A. G.'s depressed guttural growls and lamenting spoken word, the album bathes the listener in crushing misery and bittersweet melancholy. Most of the album is extremely slow and primarily features growled vocals, like album opener, and my personal favorite from the album, "Litany Of Rain": it starts with a female choir setting the mood for the music before slowly pounding drums and Stiassny's weeping leads lead the song through its double-digit entirety. But there are other types of tracks to be found on the album: "A Father's Providence" is a considerably faster track, and sees the guttural growls being replaced by loud, painfully shouted vocals in the verses, leading up to a chorus of spoken word poetry. But what really stands out for me are the two tracks that focus on acoustic guitars, piano and A. G.'s poetic spoken words that tell stories of love and misery; you can hear him pour his heart and soul into his lyrics.

This should all amount to an album with plenty of variation, and it almost does. I may as well give away now that I've absolutely fallen in love with this album, but at the same time I've found its only real flaw: at 69 minutes in total length, it's too long for its own good. Without being bad at all, the two longest tracks on the album, "Mourning Sun" and album closer "Between" are easily the weakest links on the album, as they don't seem to progress as naturally as the rest of the album, and with guitar leads that don't drag me into the songs like was the case with the rest of the album, the songs are simply decent doom tracks.

But as a whole album, "Saturn In Ascension" is everything that a great Saturnus album should be: passionate, crushing and soaked in overwhelming melancholy. It is an album that cements the band's status as legends in their genre. It is yet another fantastic release in a discography already filled to the brim with quality records. It is a testament to Saturnus and the brilliance hiding behind the name. But above all, this is beautiful doom metal at its very best.

Download: Litany Of Rain, Wind Torn, A Lonely Passage, A Fathers Providence
For The Fans Of: My Dying Bride, Swallow The Sun, Mar De Grises, Draconian

Release date: 03.12.2012
Cyclone Empire/Target

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