Saturnus
Saturn in Ascension


4.5
superb

Review

by Jacob Hollows USER (22 Reviews)
December 2nd, 2012 | 13 replies | 4,162 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: With "Saturn In Ascension", Danish doomsters take cues from their former releases to craft a melodically melancholy and powerful album.

3 of 3 thought this review was well written

I'm a fan of Saturnus on Facebook, and every now and then I'll check my newsfeed and I see they've posted something new, for instance news of shows, reviews they appreciated, and so on. But one thing I've consistently noticed is their lack of exclamation points in their posts. Other bands (even seemingly darker ones like Amenra or Rorcal) use them, but Saturnus never does. This displays their music almost perfectly: subtle, simple, and melancholic.

I have heard their two previous releases "Veronika Decides to Die" and "Martyre" and both proved to me to be extremely solid and yet diverse in comparison to one another. "Martyre" built upon a primary hopeless sound, utilizing choir samples, strings, and an overall minor sound, whereas "Veronika Decides to Die" had more of a piano and simple melodic guitar base. I favored the latter (except for the ridiculous title), since it seemed more heartfelt and simple, and it became the soundtrack for a difficult time in my life, due to its incredibly sad and honest approach.

Their new album "Saturn in Ascension" builds upon the sounds of both former albums, creating a sound much like their latest, but increasing their soundscape to include influences from "Martyre." Opener "Litany Of Rain" sounds like something from this album, building the sound and atmosphere with a choir and melodic plucking. Where this is a very good song, it is not consistent with the following track "Wind Torn", which takes a far more melodic approach and does match with the opener in terms of style. This shift in sound is one of the few flaws of the album.

"A Lonely Passage" is one of my favorites of the album, and is comparable to "All Alone" off of "Veronika Decides to Die", due to its lack of death vocals, including only speaking. But this track adds some more tricks, to keep it from being a complete ripoff of its soundalike. It includes some almost Celtic guitar resonance, adding to overall yearning of the lyrics, as well as a guest opera vocalist who adds her gorgeous vocals, which float above the climax of the song. Later track "Call Of The Raven Moon" is also an instance of experimentation in beautiful simplicity, as it showcases spoken vocals, acoustic guitar, and flute.

"A Father's Providence" exhibits perfectly the marriage between their former releases. The song opens to chugging guitars, choral samples, and a melodic piano line over top. The combination of these factors create a powerful yet sad sound, and the entirety of the song is a highlight of the album. Thomas Nielsen's vocals shine in this track particularly. The track "Mourning Sun", the most death metal-influenced track of the album, also showcases his style very well.

Much like "Veronika Decides to Die", Jensen utilizes three basic vocal styles: an impressively powerful low growl/grunt (he could honestly probably front a slam-death band), a mid-range shout/roar, and speaking. Each of these approaches is unique and compliments the music very well, however his shout is probably the weakest of these, however they worked incredibly well with "Pretend" off of their former release. His vocals, along with the melody present, is something that separates Saturnus from their peers such as Mourning Beloveth, Swallow the Sun, or Shape of Despair.

Closers "Forest Of Insomnia" and "Between" show something else present in Saturnus' sound: a sense of uplift. Through the driving guitars, slow beats, and grunting vocals, a melody intertwines itself with the heavy sound. The former showcases hints of technicality, as guitarist Rune Stiassny shows off some lively finger-tapping and soloing, something not often seen in doom. "Between" gives more justice to the title's "in ascension" part, as its sound is almost interpreted as transcendent. The sad atmosphere, combined with the melodious plucking, gives a sense of looking up to the raining sky and seeing the sun emerge from behind the clouds. It includes as it closes a choral sample along with a melodious cello before erupting into its final climax.

Some versions of the album include a bonus track, entitled "Limbs of Crystal Clear", which is a remastered version of a track from a demo back in 1994. The track is essentially death metal, from their earlier days, and honestly has no purpose but to show how far they've come. It does not flow with the rest of the tracks, as its production value is terrible, and the guitar is raw and screaming, and the vocals are drowning. But I'm not including this in the overall rating, as it is clearly separate from the album "Saturn In Ascension."

Overall, "Saturn In Ascension" is an incredible release for anyone interested in the doom genre. Combining brutality with striking, complimenting, and contrasting beauty, the guys of Saturnus have created a work of art, one of sadness and of subtle hopeful sanguinity. Recommended for fans of Swallow the Sun, Mourning Beloveth, and other melodic doom artists.



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Chart.
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Jacob818Hollows
December 1st 2012



100 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Sputnik doesn't have this one in its database. Working on it. Bear with me here.

taylormemer
December 1st 2012



4887 Comments


A few things. When you add tracklists, don't include track times; they are not necessary. Second, if you fuck up submitting album art, don't try and reattempt adding it, that results in the white square. Most of the time you have to wait for moderators to approve any edits you make.

Jacob818Hollows
December 1st 2012



100 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Okay, thank you. I don't think I added the song lengths, but sounds good. Sorry about the confusion there. I appreciate that, though.

taylormemer
December 2nd 2012



4887 Comments


No problem, just for future reference, that's all.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
December 2nd 2012



5611 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks for bringing this upon Sputnik's attention, i should check this out sometime.

Martyre is a huge album.

Your writing is decent to say the least and in that light, you should try in future reviews to compact all your impressions about an album in 1-2 paragraphs, it reads better than the track-by-track review structure.


Some suggestions/corrections:


and incredibly melancholy

melancholic


Where this is a very good song, it is not consistent in sound to the following track "Wind Torn", which takes a far more melodic approach and does match with the opener.

Although it is a very good song, it is not consistent [...]

[...] and does not match the opener in terms of style.

Digging: Mekong Delta - In A Mirror Darkly

FrozenVain
December 2nd 2012



2262 Comments


This looks kinda cool. It's always nice to find new bands from Denmark.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
December 2nd 2012



5611 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@FrozenVain

Search for their Martyre album, it's awesome.

DeadBeat
December 2nd 2012



529 Comments


This sounds good

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
December 2nd 2012



5611 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Indeed

http://www.sputnikmusic.com/news.php?newsid=25047

Jacob818Hollows
December 2nd 2012



100 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@Voivod

Thanks for the feedback. The suggestions were very helpful and I applied them. It definitely reads a lot better with the edits.

DarkNoctus
Contributing Reviewer
December 2nd 2012



8581 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

might grow on me but i doubt it honestly

Digging: Triptykon - Melana Chasmata

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
December 3rd 2012



5611 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Judging on the material floating on YouTube, I find this album more intriguing than the new My Dying Bride material.

Shuyin
January 27th 2013



10402 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

just discovered this band, amazing album.

give it a few more listens, noctus

Digging: All the Empires of the World - Sunscraper



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