Review Summary: This is your stoner doom contender for Album Of The Year…
Every so often you manage to stumble onto something special, it doesn’t have to be ground breaking, nor does it need to be the next coming of Christ but this Norwegian three piece succeed in releasing the most solid, straight-forward doom metal record of the year, adding their own flair to separate the act from a host of same sounding groups. Off the bat, there are a couple of things that separates the band from the usual crowds. The first (and most recognisable) is the fact that the band’s vocals are commanded solely by a female crooner, bassist Merethe Heggset who doesn’t soar or over power the music and instead only pops in when the vocals have something to add to the music, playing the minimal role in the music. Secondly and under the radar a little, is the organ that floats through the rhythmic aspect of tracks. The organ takes a huge role in the band’s sound yet manages to maintain itself in the back of the album. With those two features, High Priest of Saturn
ensures the listener is lulled and captivated, without rough handling those fortunate enough to enjoy this rather ritualistic style of music.
Beautiful isn’t a term associated with most bands from the doom metal genre, but having a debut this strong presents a sense of awe not easy to come by. High Priest of Saturn brings a few elements to the table and combines them in such a way that transcends most in the genre. The music is fuzzy, yes, but it still manages to combine your everyday doom aesthetics with 70s inspired psychedelic organ work and guitar leads. This makes the stoner aspect of the music stronger and in turn makes the psychedelic aspect shine on its own accord, being the proverbial hero to the record as a whole. For 2013, High Priest of Saturn
is as much of a rarity as finding a good modern power metal record. Slowly and surely, a range of bands have come forth presenting their twists on the genre whilst trying to find their own little niche, High Priest of Saturn may not be any different under that stigma but for the most part they succeed in what they do by getting the essential parts of the band’s sound completely right. It’s important to note that despite only being four tracks, each song has a minimum of nine minutes. That won’t bother those who are familiar to the genre (in fact, it may feel a touch short) but for those who are fairly new to the music, be prepared to bring both patience and a thinking cap for this music may need multiple listens to fully be fully understood in both complexity and depth.
Despite being forty one minutes spread over four tracks, High Priest of Saturn
ensures the listener is left without a boring moment leaning heavily on its psychedelic influence to grab the listener, pulling them into this musical web. For the most part, this is mood music – for either getting into, or staying into. As far as the style goes it’s far from technical, providing a hugely straight-forward for this slightly sludgy, hugely psychedelic stoner doom album. High Priest of Saturn’s
slow tempo, smoky essence and solid musicianship all make it the highlight that it is. With a subtle sounding yet major frill to be found within the use of the organ High Priest of Saturn’s debut full-length shows just how band’s don’t need to remake the genre as a whole to achieve musical greatness. This is one band you’ll be glad you stumbled on.