Fell Voices
Regnum Saturni


3.5
great

Review

by Elijah K. STAFF
December 17th, 2013 | 41 replies


Release Date: 2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "Regnum Saturni" isn’t exactly the American black metal landmark that preceded it, but Fell Voices still deliver with an impeccable piece of raw intensity.

Fell Voices have always taken a sort of comfort in the solace that comes with anonymity. Songs are formless voids lacking structure and names, giving an unsettling aura and mystique to everything the band does. Their first two records, Fell Voices and Untitled, featured two songs a piece with each simply being called “Untitled.” It should come as no surprise then, that despite finding a certain niche as American Black Metal darlings, the band is still very much underground. Despite a proper title with their third record, Fell Voices show no sign of changing the haze and intrigue surrounding them.

Regnum Saturni is a bleak and caustic record through and through. Praised for their live performances, Fell Voices recorded the album completely organically in a live setting. Thus it takes on a life of its own. It feels incredibly dense powerful, while sounding perfunctory in its natural sound. This comes at the cost of a traditionally smoother production, however, as the instruments can often sound tinny, the vocals distant, and the drums oppressive. None the less, it is a haunting experience. The combination of but a few members sounds surprisingly bold and explosive throughout the hour long onslaught. The fact that it comes together so well is a testament to the band’s keen understanding of their craft.

Featuring three tracks, Regnum Saturni runs a little bit over an hour long. Much of the time is spent creating a scathing wall of sound that feels insurmountably dense. Hellish tremolo picked guitars and drums cut through each of the long form pieces, while vocals are but mere echoes lost in furious sounds. Returning are the drone and ambient influences that have been prominent in their previous works. In fact, much of Regnum Saturni moves like one long form drone piece, with additions being made to merely accentuate the whole. It moves with purpose and intensity, but it remains stern and unyielding. The album opens up with the hypnotic “Flesh and Bone” and only grows from there. Much like the hurricane pictured on the front (taken from recent NASA photos of a raging storm on Saturn) the intensity only builds from here. Ending in a chaotic fury the song drones into “Emergence,” the album’s center piece and an absolutely beautiful and unforgiving track. It’s a focused and unrelenting song that builds into a wretched and fiery maelstrom that becomes almost oppressive. Very seldom is there a moment of clarity in the 20 minute runtime. Despite the exhaustion it’s absolutely exhilarating. When “Dawn” comes to a close it does so in a most peculiar way. It recedes meekly rather than ending in an expected and direct fashion. Cymbals crash haphazardly and anguished vocals reverberate weakly. Shockingly restrained, it’s the perfect way to end it all.

Regnum Saturni, in spite of the stunning performance, falls short in many regards. Though it may sound cheap, were Fell Voices not so on point on previous albums Regnum Saturni would be much more effective. The atmosphere at times feels contrived when ambient sections are mere bookends to make leading into a song more convenient. Typically more eclectic, here Fell Voices are more likely to play a riff ad nauseum, with minutes being lost to one singular idea. But the album is more than the sum of its parts. While not quite the landmark we’ve come to expect, it is none the less an impressive addition to an already impeccable discography.

3.8/5



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user ratings (60)
Chart.
3.3
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
oltnabrick
December 16th 2013


33193 Comments


top five black metal albums of the year

Digging: Goropsy - GOD GAVE ME ONE LIFE AND HE MADE ME UGLY

Hyperion1001
Staff Reviewer
December 16th 2013


19648 Comments


yep their best work

Digging: Robert Hood - Wire To Wire

PunchforPunch
December 16th 2013


6279 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

i don't get the low avg for this but w/e

Keyblade
December 16th 2013


16419 Comments


Sweet a review, nice on Xeno. Yeah average is wack. Still prefer Untitled I think

Digging: -

sixdegrees
December 16th 2013


18752 Comments


nice

Digging: Sonic Youth - A Thousand Leaves

Cygnatti
December 16th 2013


25055 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

on mah to do lizt for sure

Digging: Carly Rae Jepsen - E MO TION

PunchforPunch
December 16th 2013


6279 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

yea do it cyg its free

Inveigh
December 16th 2013


25529 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

thought this was a bit harder to get into than their last one but still dug it

Digging: Elder (USA-MA) - Lore

climactic
December 16th 2013


20443 Comments


still need to hear this, downloaded it last week. avg rating kept me away for a long time but untitled and the ash borer split are amazeballs

climactic
December 17th 2013


20443 Comments


wtf this rules avg is stupid

zaruyache
December 17th 2013


9022 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

I can see why people don't like this as much. The lower-quality of the recording (compared to their

other works) makes it more difficult to hear the guitars--the rhythm guitar doesn't sound like an

instrument so much as it does a constant low humming in the background. There's also a higher

humming that seems to be a constant, too. That's probably what they were going for, but it's still

kind of annoying to not be able to hear everything as well as on previous releases. The minutes-

long hum that starts every song gets annoying, too.



Those things said, I did like the way these guys went with this album. This is definitely a more

drone-oriented release than either of the previous LPs and it fulfills that idea pretty well. The

instruments sound fairly tame and mellow, which makes the whole thing easier to just play and get

suck into.



edit: Or that might be the bass that makes that grumbling hum in the background. That's probably

it.

Digging: False - Untitled

TheSpirit
December 17th 2013


18510 Comments


Their tour demo aka untitled is better than this but this still rules.

Digging: Fields of Mildew - Fields of Mildew

YUJOS
December 17th 2013


973 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice rev Eli! Emergence slays hard!

Digging: Halford - Crucible

MoosechriS
December 17th 2013


5259 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

niec review dude, aint listened to this in a few months. Could do with spinning it again soon, although the sound quality wasn't as good as their previous releases i thought it made things a lot more hypnotic myself.

climactic
December 18th 2013


20443 Comments


above average imo. borders on drone sometimes, at least a lot more than other "cascadian" bands, and i think it works really well

Keyblade
December 18th 2013


16419 Comments


I love drone which is why I don't see it as a negative at all. I loved the more drone parts of Untitled for example

DarkNoctus
January 1st 2014


9200 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

giving this one last chance before deleting it

Digging: Mourning Beloveth - Dust

Hawks
January 1st 2014


37489 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Motherfucker....

Digging: Seizures - The Sanity Universal

DarkNoctus
January 2nd 2014


9200 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

i just really don't get it



the music to me sounds so, so simplistic. you could argue it's impressive for a live setting but when they stick to one note and one tempo for 20 minutes it totally ruins any 'impressive' aspect it may have had, and the recording is so intentionally bad that they could have just played anything (and to be honest i wouldn't bet against the fact that's exactly what they did) as long as they stuck to that one note and tempo



i mean i get that it's meant to be hypnotic but this album really misses out on a pivotal part of what an album like this needs and that's atmosphere. a bad recording and bad synths don't automatically create an atmosphere and here all i can hear is a wall of nothing. i can totally see this working live but on record it just doesn't for me. even then i'd bet on several bands who do this kind of thing being far more engaging live - ash borer and darkspace come to mind.



still love ya hawks [:

climactic
January 2nd 2014


20443 Comments


is this really .5 away from the worst music ever put to tape



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