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Saturnus - Saturn In Ascension (2012) - Review

Band: Saturnus
Album title: Saturn In Ascension
Release date: 30 November 2012
Label: Cyclone Empire

01. Litany Of Rain
02. Wind Torn
03. A Lonely Passage
04. A Fathers Providence
05. Mourning Sun
06. Call Of The Raven Moon
07. Forest Of Insomnia
08. Between
09. Limbs Of Crystal Clear (Bonus)

More than six years after one of the best doom metal releases ever recorded (Veronika Decides To Die) Danish Saturnus are back. Again with a quite new line up formation, though two main members, vocalist Thomas and bassist Brian remained as the leading force since the very beginning in 1991 when the two formed a band under the name Assesino which changed into Saturnus in 1993. Since 90's the sound of the band evolved from death metal into slow and melancholic doom which throned the band as one of the most reliable of the genre. It's only the fate which didn't want that Saturnus emerged from being underground into worldwide recognized and one of the most respected groups. Now, Saturnus are here with their fourth studio album and tears will be poured again.
The marvelous sense for crafting melancholic melodies, slow paced and strong rhytms, marvelous atmospheres, impressive songwriting and distinctive deep guttural main vocals are the elements that make a formula. Saturnus offers a journey into most subtle dimensions of depressive mind, but yet with kind of hope that is reached on some levels with some extraordinary guitar leads, just listen to the guitar solo in "Wind Torn" or "Mourning Sun". Then narrative acoustic ballads "A Lonely Passage" and "Call Of The Raven Moon" with their heartfelt acoustic guitar passages, piano, strings, background chants, flutes and overall spoken vocals must bring tears in your eyes, not to mention beautiful voice by female guest vocalist Laurie Ann Haus (Todesboden, Autumn Tears) at the end of "A Lonely Passage", enchanting and most tender. In rather more dynamic "A Fathers Providence" where harsh vocals in contrast with spoken ones and some death metal grunts, beautiful tempo changes from acoustic parts to strong melodic doom explosions with playful yet emotional piano touches, forms an incredible proof of all Saturnus qualities, even in gothic metal fields. I can't help but notice some connotations with late 90's Paradise Lost, even a bit of My Dying Bride or Anathema in this one. On the other hand some parts on Saturn In Ascension are very near to being defined as funeral doom. Once you get driven away by astonishing wall of sound that leaves no bland space neither in epic long compositions like opener "Litany Of Rain" or before mentioned "Mourning Sun", astonishing atmosphere builder "Forest Of Insomnia" with some captivating melodic lines and at last grand conclusive "Between" with amazing string insertion, all with more than ten minutes of longitude. Saturnus know how to make those dense and gloomy musical soundscapes to breathe and keep them interesting from the very first note. There is a lot going on, it's a slow sinking into some of the most melancholic and grim spaces that have been ever discovered with the sole music. Keys often enable the open space here and there to became fulfilled with dark veil of sound and expressive poetic lyrics keep the devoted listener interested till the very end.
Saturn In Ascension is well balanced even from productional side which was done by legendary Flemming Rasmussen (Metallica, Morbid Angel, Blind Guardian,...), yet it adds a right dose of heaviness into the sound. Someone could miss folk elements from Saturnus's early album, but those were missing on Veronika Decides To Die to. Those who will get limited editions of this album will be endowed by a bonus song "Limbs Of Crystal Clear" which is a remastered version of a demo track from 1994 and shows how band sounded when they were still playing more typical death metal oriented music. Saturn In Ascension is a must and one of the albums that will run for a title album of the year.

Review written by: T.V.
Rating: 9/10