I have been following Saturnalia Temple since the release of their first demo, UR. The more old-school doom metal vibe of that demo was overflowing with what was best about the genre – from the heavy riffs, the ‘70s influence to the slight psychedelic and experimental tendencies. Time has passed, and the band has been developing its sound to include a touch more of a stoner vibe as well within that convoluted mix. A couple of EPs followed Ur and a four way split with Nihil Nocture, Nightbringer (check out these two bands for some serious black metal) and Aluk Todolo (check out their Occult Rock album for some really fucked up shit, you won’t regret it), with the band’s debut album Aion of Drakon being released in 2011. And now it is time for the return of the temple of Saturn with the sophomore full-length from the band, To The Other.
What do Saturnalia Temple offer in this instance? Well, the usual recipe that has always worked for them is still present. The seven tracks off their newest album feature some of the heaviest riffs that the band has produced. Straight in after the intro “ZazelSorath” sees the band’s soaring doom weight unfolding, while it certainly feels like a ton of bricks is being thrown on your head with “March of Gha’agsheblah.” From the simply cool, heavy riffs of tracks such as “Black Sea of Power” to the hooks of “CrownedWithSeven” and to the more driven and powerful parts of “Snow of Reason,” Saturnalia Temple have everything under their control.
Label: The Ajna Offensive
The structure that the band uses for their tracks is quite stable and rigid, with the riffs always pummeling down. But that simply works for Saturnalia Temple, and especially when you consider that they need a solid foundation on top of which they can throw their more experimental ideas and some interesting guitar parts. The driven nature of “Snow of Reason” and the more imposing and towering feel of “CrownedWithSeven” originate from that part of the band, and when you listen to riffs such as those in “Black Sea of Power” and “ZazelSorath” you will not be able to get enough of them.
As was said, Saturnalia Temple know what to throw at you to make this trip more intense and intriguing. It can be something as simple as a retro lead, as they do in “ZazelSorath,” or a cool guitar solo. But they can actually reach levels of schizoid playing, as the solo bit in the ending of “Snow of Reason” reveals, and they can complement the structure of the songs with some great lead parts, as they do in “March of Gha’agsheblah.” Just consider the guitar in the closing track of the album, making things more unstable and fluid with each passing note. And then you also have certain experimentations that simply cannot pass unnoticed. The combination of eerie black metal-ish guitar parts in the title track somehow fits perfectly with the underlying stonerized vision of the band, a technique that is also implemented in “Void.”
It is that combination of their dark ambiance with their psychedelic influences that takes To The Other over the top. The trippy aura of the title track has an underlying bleakness about it, especially with the heavy distortion thrown into the mix. The psychedelic rock type of sound of “Snow of Reason” holds something meaner in store for us, with the song sounding angry in a sort of suppressed manner. The vocals themselves further enhance that aspect of the band, managing to sound terrifying and trippy at the same time. From the unearthly effects in “Black Sea of Power” and “Snow of Reason” to the Lovecraftian incantation of “ZozelSorath” and the spitting rage of “March of Gha’agsheblah” to the echo effects of the title track, they always remain a focal point for Saturnalia Temple.
Saturnalia Temple know how to combine different ingredients to produce great results. The album reeks of the old doom metal spirit and the occult tendencies of the band, while the additions of psychedelia and the turn towards some more blackened parts works great for the band. And as the cover artwork shows, these guys have opened a portal to the abyss…