Six years after their previously released album it seems the waiting is over as “Saturn in Ascension” is going to come out at the end of November. What remains to be seen is if it was worth the wait.
Saturnus is a band which needs no introduction, being active since 1991 and with an activity spanning over 19 years on the doom metal stage.The band made itself noticed with its live performances and the release of three full length albums – “Paradise Belongs To You”, “Martyre”, “Veronika Decides to Die”, which have been well received by the public.
“Saturn in Ascension” is their fourth full length album which, as mentioned earlier, comes out six years after their previous release in 2006. If I were to conceive a conspiratorial theory scenario, my first impression would be that the date of this album’s launch is not coincidental. As it’s launched at the end of 2012 it commemorates 20 years of Saturnus and if I were to make an association (Saturnus, Ascension) I’d say they don’t plan on stopping just yet.
“Litany of Rain” is the first track of the album, it’s beginning reminding me of the “Martyre” intro, “7″, most likely thanks to the chorus used on both tracks. A simple way to add weight to the sound, perhaps due to the associations made. The track goes on with heavy low toned riffs, Thomas’ voice being, as always, dominant. Right until the 4:30 minute, composition-wise, the track feels akin to a “journey” though the other three albums, after that minute the feeling that the sky is falling ensues. “Angelic” voices of the chorus, accompanied by heavy death-like riffs, crushing growled vocals and the lead guitar come together in some heartbreaking, sorrowful passages, two minutes of pure emotion. An amazing two minutes. These two minutes, I can honestly say, define the whole album as far as approach and composing goes, themes from this passage being present in other tracks of the album.
“Wind Tom”, the second track of the album, is also the track that gave me goosebumps back in Bucharest where it was for the first time that people attending could experience tracks from this new album. The guitar on this track is simply ground-shaking, it drops you to the ground reminding you what doom, and in this case, Saturnus, is all about. The definite star of this track is the guitar.
“A Lonely Passage” and “Call of the Raven Moon” are two other tracks with a more instrumental approach and they make use of folk, unplugged instruments, nature sounds, elements which we’ve also had a taste of on “Paradise Belongs To You”.
“Mourning Sun” and “Between” are classic doom/death tracks, with sorrowful guitar parts, heavy death riffs, Thomas’ typical growled vocals and a slow tempo, although “Between” is written with a little bit more complexity in mind.
“A Father’s Providence” has a more rhythmic beginning, introducing Gothic influences manifested through rhythm, background keyboard as well as composition, a resemblance to “Pretend” coming to mind. Towards the end the doom style regains its dominance as well as a fantastic guitar solo… oh yes, the guitar!
“Forest of Insomnia” is another track that managed to draw my attention, being one track I haven’t listened to before. It’s quite encouraging to stumble upon little gems like these. It’s the sort of typical doom/death sounds with a sustained rhythm, emotional passages (this time also accompanied by sorrow inducing guitar play) and the ever present growled vocals.
All I’ve said does not manage to capture the true essence of this album, and even if it would, it’s a work that demands listening.
Were six years necessary to come up with a new album? Probably not. While Saturnus did stick to the style that made them famous they did have ample time to work on the fine points of this latest release.
Was it worth the wait? A definite yes!
1. Litany of Rain
2. Wind Torn
3. A Lonely Passage
4. A Father’s Providence
5. Mourning Sun
6. Call of the Raven Moon
7. Forest of Insomnia
9. Limbs of Crystal Clear (Bonus Track)
Saturnus Facebook Page
My Dying Bride
Gothic / Doom Metal
(review by: Azmo Lozmodial (From www.jorzine.com)
As many fans were waiting for more tragic\gothic magic for the British doom metal masters My Dying Bride, the EP The Manuscript blew the scene with interesting doomed tracks. After the success of A “Map of All Our Failures”, My Dying Bride continued to provide the doom metal listeners with more doomy energy for the year 2013. Though the production and the musical structure sounds similar to the previous release, the energy and the strength of the tracks in this track sounds more vital and dynamic.
The track “The Manuscript” is an interesting piece of gothic\doom metal, the steady sound of the lead guitar folds around Aaron’s voice and the sound of the violin supports the structure of the track with deeper ethereal feeling. As the first three minutes of the track repeat the same pattern, the track changes its feathers to reveal more stimulated guitar riffs for minutes, letting an acoustic guitar section to end the track. And here the magic begins as the harsh vocals of Aaron collide with the floating riffs of Andrew and Hamish, Shaun’s drumming work continue to supply the needed doomness in every moment. More than eight minutes of eerie guitar sound and wicked harsh vocals will be a perfect gift for all those who missed the extreme voice of Aaron Stainthorpe.
The third “A Pale Shroud Of Longing” belongs deeply to “Map of All Our Failures”, with more energized drumming and more obvious bass line. The atmospheric violin’s melodies sink through the fibers of the track before the heavy guitar’s screams build a huge stage behind the doomed Aaron’s throat. The spoken vocals in front of the violin’s heavens are my best moments in this track. As I was waiting for more harsh vocals in this track (especially in the last part) I was disappointed. Nothing is better than a spoken poem by Aaron can start a song for My Dying Bride, the track “Only Tears To Replace Her With” flows slowly in a very calm way, reminding me of the track “My Wine In Silence” but with a strong rhythm guitar in the background.
This EP is recommended for all the worshipers of doom metal, specially for those who adore the tasty music of My Dying Bride. If you enjoyed the album “Map of All Our Failures”, then I am pretty sure that this EP will continue the same enjoyment and will satisfy every doomed need inside your ear.
Rating: 8.6 / 10
1. The Manuscript
2. Vår gud över er
3. A Pale Shroud of Longing
4. Only Tears to Replace Her With
My Dying Bride Official Facebook Page.
Ah, “Stoned Jesus”, we meet again. Remember back when I wrote here that I didn’t think the next album will measure up to the first one? I was wrong. Boy was I wrong. “Seven Thunders Roar” (March 2012) isn’t a good album. It’s a really good album. Read below the praises I bring it and why.
As with their first full-length release they don’t line up a dozen songs, some of which may or may not be fully polished. You can literally hear the work they put in to bring a smooth finish to every one of the five songs on this album.
Here’s the break-down I’ve been too lazy to do on other, more track intensive albums lately:
“Bright Like The Morning” fits the role of an introductory track pretty well. Slow eerie start with a touch of wave and seagull sounds. Then that low toned bass rhythm I’ve been expecting. It simply makes you happy when you hear it. The vocals are there, very much on par with the sound and it all gets complemented by pretty guitar riffs to accentuate the pauses in the lyrics. While more jumpy and colorful then what I would have expected it retains the stoner feel with that repetitive obsessive rhythm.
The next track, “Electric Mistress” is more familiar, it has the full sound I’ve come to enjoy on the previous album and for a while I thought it was the best track present here. I really enjoyed the guitar part in the middle of it (reminds me of a certain piece from Phoenix). Good vocals near the end of it with a nice electric effect. Think Black Sabbath’s Iron Man but not that coarse.
“Indian” is the third track and even if I liked it least of all it still has a good sound to it and it clicks with the whole album. And the best part is that it’s short (just about 5 minutes which makes it the shortest track of the lot) and doesn’t have time to get me to dislike it.
I had a very weird response to this song at first. “I’m The Mountain” is by any standard a long and somewhat complex composition. When I reviewed “First Communion” I listened to this song just to check out the newest album of “Stoned Jesus”. I didn’t care for it too much. It felt slow, lazy and uninteresting. This is the main reason I was so reluctant to review the album. Now I’ve gone 180 degrees on it. I think it’s the best track here. I just needed to pay attention to the context, to how well it fits in-between the other tracks. It provides a welcomed pause from the more alert first songs and it gives you time to appreciate a more relaxed rhythm, one you can easily listen to while sipping on your coffee. Not to say that it doesn’t have some heavy parts in it. They just don’t define it. Also it has a very pleasant “unplugged” sound at the end. So, taken by itself it’s a decent song. As part of the whole it just makes it work better.
“Stormy Monday” ends the album in a nice heavy sound. The lead guitar doesn’t embellish things too much and I like the result: a better feel of the vocals. A good finish in my opinion.
Now all I can hope for is that you give this album a listen and that “Stoned Jesus” will definitely prove me wrong by coming up with and even better album for us to enjoy.
1. Bright Like The Morning 07:47
2. Electric Mistress 09:21
3. Indian 04:59
4. I’m The Mountain 16:01
5. Stormy Monday 08:42
Stoned Jesus – Facebook
Band: Dreams After Death
Genre: atmospheric funeral doom
Label: Endless Winter
Bandcamp Page : online album stream
Concerning production, “Dreams After Death” remains unchanged, the album being well coagulated from start to finish, the sound, excellent and all the work put into its making really does show. Same goes for their first released album, you can’t actually say anything bad about a one man band who pulls it off like that.
There are a few style differences in relation to “Embrace the Light”. The first album, even if it emphasized the synthesized atmospheric lines, had sufficient “brutal” passages to give it its good dose of heaviness.
“Fading Chains” on the other hand got me thinking. I knew I could expect the same atmospheric parts and they are present right away on the first track, “Anger”. However this time things are different. That 3 minute intro is kind of haunting and gloomy.
Surprising compared to the first album is that after the intro the track keeps it’s atmospheric, even mystical tones, the keyboard does its magic subtly on the background while the foreground is dominated by the lead guitar with some really appealing tunes. Oh, and here’s a surprise: it seems we’re getting clean vocals on this album.
The vocal parts on this album are in my opinion one of the novelties of the album. No longer going exclusively for low toned, hoarsely sounds of the first album, we’re getting up to three vocal types (if my hearing didn’t fail me). This is most obvious on the second to last track, “Love”. We have a starting part with clean, calm vocals, kind of like oldschool doom (but not high pitched), and towards the end we have two complementing vocals (at times that passage felt a bit off). Ah, yes, that part is sung in their native language, Hungarian.
Throughout this track feels on the romantic side (sort of), melancholic, until the last 3 minutes when a strong funeral doom part begins accompanied by some harsh and high pitched (almost similar to the ones used in dbm) vocals. This is where the light bulb lit and I figured out what other band was the inspiration for this track’s ending. Well, it could have been Esoteric (I may be wrong but a few parts really are here).
The final track, “Nothingness”, felt to me like a closing to “Love” and brought along the vocals that gloomy and mystic funeral doom all with the added synth sustained atmosphere.
After all I can qualify this album as a bit of mystic dark funeral doom, clearly not as aggressive as the first but much gloomier. Some vocals could have used more work but I really enjoyed the dbm ones. Taken as a whole it’s a good album that works the way it should, as I mentioned, not as aggressive as the first but somewhat more atmospheric (a different kind of atmosphere).
1. Anger 08:59
2. Worry 08:46
3. Sadness 07:27
4. Peace 09:09
5. Love 13:10
6. Nothingness 13:31
Dreams After Death
“Doomed”, Pierre Laube’s solo project, began back in November 2011 and four months later their first release, “The Ancient Path”, came into existence. In August 2012, one moth after their second album, “In My Own Abyss” has been finalised, the band joins with Russian record label “Solitude-Prod”.
“In My Own Abyss”, launched in December 2012 and made it’s way in our “laboratory” at the start of this year. Out of the whole lot of promo disks we’ve chosen three to focus on at the beginning and we’ve listened to them thoroughly. And right from the start we’ve glimpsed that “In My Own Abyss” was the sort of album that makes a good impression right from the first track, something that not many other albums manage to pull off.
“Downward”, the album’s first track, introduces us to a genuine death/doom state of being with very aggressive low toned distorted riffs and some insanely good death metal growls. The lead guitar’s tremolo effect amplifies the whole feeling this song aims to induce. A nice sample can be heard starting at 3:00. The harmonic guitar maintains a low, distorted rhythm on par with the drums that further defines the piece. Couple all of it together and it fits very well as a whole. The track ends in a higher bpm of the drums, appropriately sustained by the same imposing growls it started with.
The third song, named after “Doomed’s” first album, “The Ancient Path”, starts with a lower tempo, more alike funeral doom. In fact the psychedelic guitar recurrence found in the first part of the song reminds us of “Ahab”. Overall a slow paced track with some rhythm changes towards the end made noticeable by the higher tone.
“A Wall of Your Thrones” maintains the previous track’s musical line with the same psychedelic guitar component and also some clean vocals throughout the song.
“Restless” picks up the aggressiveness encountered in the first track with its clear death/doom metal influences. This will clearly be a headbanging song and in my opinion “Ahab” influences are, again, obviously present.
“Ах ты, степь широкая” (“Oh You, Wide Steppe”) is a reinterpretation of a Russian choral folk song. The heavy guitar and drum tones, complemented by the lead guitar’s high pitched, sorrowful tunes that precedes the vocals, give this track a distinct feeling of high, intense emotions, melancholic yet powerful and hope inspiring. And then we have the vocals. Oh my god, the vocals! Powerful, Russian, manly choir vocals. You need to listen to it. This way to end an album is probably the best way to do it. With the exception of the last few minutes of the track that come after a couple of minutes of dead silence. We didn’t really get that part.
This is just a small part of what one might say about the album. It’s one of the really good ones. Highly recommended. Also take note of the interesting and inspired artwork present inside the disk casing.
This was reviewed by both Doru and BlackHand. It was that good of an album. Even our not-so-doom-inclined friend enjoyed it.
2. Alone We Stand
3. The Ancient Path
4. A Wall Of Your Thrones
7. Ах ты, степь широкая
“Raventale” launched it’s sixth album, “Transcendence” in 2012. The Ukrainian band is quite consistent, launching one album a year starting back in 2006. This latest album is produced by BadMoonMan Music and they call their style “Atmospheric Blackened Metal”.
The first track does start in more of a “doom” style, considering the slower tempo and the low toned growls. The overall feeling is one gets from this track is that it’s not directed specifically at the genre’s main audience. The term I would use is “melodic”. The guitar makes it’s presence felt towards the end of this track where it takes over the job of providing variety from the vocals.
The next two tracks are what I’d call mainstream black music. They feel generic and don’t stand out with anything composition and execution wise. The rhythm does get on the boring side after a while. The piece that keeps repeating seems too short so it ends up in too many loops before the change in tempo. Listening to the same drums for 10 minutes (with 20-30 second breaks every now and then) can be a bit of a nerve wrecking experience. The guitar doesn’t seem to break out enough to compensate with it’s long tones, and it’s volume seem too low to really feel it.
Both vocals, the low tone growls and the higher pitched ones, have their impact at certain points of the tracks. While I enjoyed the high pitched ones and felt that the low toned growls didn’t dominate enough, Doru does seem to enjoy the other singer more. Perhaps it’s the “doom” feel of the things.
Now, all you’ve read ’till now does apply to the first three tracks. The fourth manages to step above the others with a great intermezzo. Breaking the monotony and sounding really good overall, this track bears the same name as the album itself but it is not quite defined by the pieces I’ve heard before. Sure, the “black”, fast, repetitive drums are here as well, but feel like less of a pain then they were in tracks 2 and 3.
The whole album feels a bit repetitive and it might get boring to listen to more then one time in a row. Store your CD away and take it out when you feel like listening to something of the sort. I don’t recommend listening to this album on a laptop or even with your iPod (or similar device, not an Apple fan here). It’s a much more enjoyable experience if you’re using a proper sound system.
2. Room Winter
3. Without Movement
Time for another debut album. “On the Shores of Oblivion” is “Somnus Aeternus’” first album and it’s launched relatively late since the band came together back in 2007. It’s released under Solitude Production though so I wasn’t expecting a bust. And right I was.
Ever wondered what heavy metal would sound like with growled doom lyrics? If you have, here’s your chance to listen to some. While the album wants to be more on the doom side with various other metal influences I myself would consider it a clear mix of goth/heavy metal with doom influences. You’ll also find progressive, death and symphonic mixed into the fray. But don’t let all that scare you away. It fits together very well, especially considering it’s a “rookie” album.
While I usually do a track by track deconstruction I think I’ll just stick to presenting it as a whole. One of the reasons for this is that, in my opinion, no one track stands out over the other. They’re all solid when it comes to composition and interpretation.
So the first couple of tracks feel just like I mentioned earlier, heavy metal with doom-ish vocals. Quite pleasing to the ear I might add. Nice guitar, decent vocals. It felt very cozy to me. Then it moves to a goth, even symphonic main style. Here there are a few rapid rhythm changes that don’t really feel right. A more progressive approach to the succession of rhythms would have been welcomed. The next tracks follow this pattern: start off with a melodic intro then evolve into what I would call a very fast tempo, here and there attenuated for a more doom like effect. Nothing outstanding but then again nothing to frown at. I guess this is “death” part of the album, however I feel that it’s just the high bpm of the drums that give this impression. The last two tracks feel a bit more like “generic” metal, with good solo riffs and a pleasing mood. The overall sound is, again, pleasing to the ear and the track layout does feel like it’s meant to go full circle. While I found it a bit lacking on the doom side of things, I did enjoy listening to it. More then one time. And I do intend on listening to it in the future. Being the pretentious elitist bastard that I am, that says a lot about the quality of the music here.
As a side note, I loved the quality of the disk itself. The matte black finish looks great and I’m a sucker for good CD artwork. That and the inspired track names made me pick this album for review.
I was first going to give this album a rating of 7, but that black disk deserves the extra half of point. As for “Somnus Aeternus”, I’m looking forward to more of their work, especially once the new band members settle in and they’ll clearly adopt and adapt a style/genre/subgenre.
1. Withering Attachment
3. Few More Pictures Till Death
4. Of the Bond
5. The Light at the End of the Suffering
6. A Touch of Insanity
8. The Divine Void
9. Everything Else Is a Lie
I stumbled across this album while looking for stoner metal on the web and I have to say I’ve been hooked on it ever since. It’s the “rookie” album of the Ukrainian stoner band “Stoner Jesus”, launched back in 2010. The band has since released two other albums which, while I haven’t listened to in full, I’m quite certain they don’t live up to the quality of their first one.
“First Communion” has a short list of 4 tracks adding up to about 35 minutes. I do appreciate them not bloating the list with “filler” tracks that wouldn’t have album quality or wouldn’t fit in that well with its general tone. And what a sweet tone it is. The whole length of time you’re going to listen to that good old stoner low rhythmic guitar that sets the right mood. There are a few solos that break this pattern but that’s more then welcomed. The vocals fit quite well with what I believe they intended to achieve, reminding me a bit of Ozzy’s eerie voice. Some transitions are not masterfully executed however I’m willing to ignore such subtleties’ absence in a band’s first album.
A track by track brake-down is along these lines:
The first track, “Occult”, has an interestingly narrated intro in line with the album’s name. It goes from a slow paced start to a more alert tempo towards the end. Vocals only kick in after almost 3 minutes. Nothing impressive about the voice in this track as I do think it’s being set at a lower volume then needed as not to be dominated by the low guitar chords, which do make up for that by being the main mood setter. After another 3 minutes we have that change in tempo and even style, reminding me of some not so great commercial bands. Luckily it’s just an intermission. The track does end more or less on the same note it starts on with the added heavy metal like guitar solo on top. Overall a good, robust piece which tries to set a mood for the album.
Going forward to “Red Wine”, the second piece of the album. It’s the shortest track of the four, just over 5 minutes. I’m getting a feeling that low string guitar tones don’t set the mood here. I’s more driven by the battery and the bass and much better supported by the vocals then on the previous track. It just fits better as a whole.
Ah, “Black Woods”. The shining star of the album. Close to 12 minutes of ecstasy to an old “Black Sabbath” listener like myself. Obsessive heavy guitar with intermittent light vibrato which support great vocals. That’s what you’re going to love here. A short intermezzo after 5:40 minutes with a good solo allows the track to start with that good rhythm that soothes the soul all over again. After 9:20 the ending piece begins. It sets a higher tempo however it does feel like the track has been building to it this whole time. A good drumming at the end and you’re left wanting so much more.
The fourth and final track, “Falling Apart”, begins with the same tones as the first one, albeit not as slowly. We have a good guitar combo with low heavy tones overlaid on top of more high, classic heavy metal ones. The voice adds the needed juice with a healthy dose of echo effect that enhances it in a good way. It goes on to a slow, almost jazzy intermezzo where the continuation of the first track’s narration fits well. Building up to another guitar solo which I personally didn’t like all that much, this piece ends pretty much on the same note it begins. A good end to a good, although short album.
The third track is the one that really makes it stand out for me. If not for that I don’t think I would have given it a second look. So I wil go ahead and give an 8/10 for the album with the mention that the third track is more along a 9.5/10.
2. Red Wine
3. Black Woods
4. Falling Apart
Band: Subterranean Disposition
Melodic doom / death Metal
Hypnotic Dirge Records
Subterranean Disposition is a one man melodic doom/death metal band from Melbourne, Australia.Terry Vainoras is the man behind the band, a musician with a decade and a half long career of recording and performing with many groups.
The forthcoming self titled “Subterranean Disposition” album is a interesting new release, with a little bit of old-school flavor and it will be released in in October by www.hypnoticdirgerecords.com
The album has 5 songs, all of them in the near of 10 minutes playing time and it is a combination of some doom metal from the 90′s, especially the British death/doom metal scene, modern sludge elements, some kind of hardcore passages and some complex songwriting.
Between Apes and Angels, the first song on the album has a chaotic start, the disturbing screams of the apes are a preface of what’s next, chaos, slow oppressive riffs and atmosphere, no sign of angelic scenes. There are some parts in this song that remind me of Graveyard Dirt – on the melodic part and My Dying Bride on the clean vocals used throughout the song.
Prolong this Agony is a little bit more experimental, there is a small riff at the start that creates a calm and melancholic mood, somewhat similar to Ahab’s Oath, but this is just for a couple of seconds, the song continues with hectic sludge doom passages, some kind of hardcore vocals and some female vocals. Too much? Maybe.
All the elements that have inspired Terry Vainoras in this album can be heard in the 4th song, The Most Subtle of Storms, a song that has the classical doom elements, the modern sludge approach, an experimental jazzy saxophone moment and different kind of vocal types, a mix of all what you can hear in this album.
By the looks of it, Subterranean Disposition is an album that tries to hard to make an impact. Of course, the quality is good, you can hear that there is a lot of experience, but for my conservatoire tastes, I think that there are some parts that are a little bit overworked. Well, this can also be a good thing, just follow the links, take a listen and see by yourself.
Rating: 7 / 10
1.Between Apes and Angels
2.Prolong this Agony
3.Seven Sisters of Sleep
4.The Most Subtle of Storms
5.Wailing My Keen
Band: Krief de Soli
Krief de Soli is a one man funeral doom act from Quebec – Canada, active since 2009. Its first impact on the “metal scene” was with the release, in 2010, of “Procul Este, Profani …”, their first full length album.
Now, two years later, the second full length album was releases, via Endless-Winter records. “Munus Solitudinis” seems to be a more complete album, it has a total playing time of almost 1h : 10 minutes, split between 5 tracks, compared to 46 minutes and 3 tracks in “Procul Este, Profani …” and by the looks of it, it has a very mournful presence, thanks to its artwork.
Náscentés Morimúr is the first track on the album, a heavy 21 minute long song that starts with a very profound chorus. This and the small keyboard passages give the song a very gloomy atmosphere, a very inspired way to prepare the listener for the minimalistic funeral doom approach.
The song is indeed long, with heavy and repetitive riffs, low growled vocals and with some little “droning” effects, or so I’ve heard. It is very minimalistic and quite repetitive, but a dark, funeral doom song.
“Vita Memoriae – Exordium Sanctus “ is a small buffer between the first and the third song, a intro like song, 4 minutes keyboard atmosphere second by some martial industrial passages at the middle of the song.
“Vita Memoriae – Apogaeus Rerum Vitae” continues the minimalistic funeral doom approach but something interesting happened somewhere at the middle of the road, the song takes a more “melodic” approach with sorrowful guitar solos, atmospheric passages, a true moment of grief.
The last two songs, “Deo Volente… Caelo Tegi” and “Sanguis Et Umbra Sumus” continue the same path of the album, with some classic funeral doom sequences and some atmospheric a little bit more melodic passages.
All in all, the album respects the genre, a classic funeral doom release, but a little bit too classic for my taste. It is very repetitive, quite heavy and for a hour it’s quite difficult to keep focused
Rating: 7 / 10
1. Náscentés Morimúr
2. Vita Memoriae – Exordium Sanctus
3. Vita Memoriae – Apogaeus Rerum Vitae
4. Deo Volente… Caelo Tegi
5. Sanguis Et Umbra Sumus