Fell Voices
Regnum Saturni


3.5
great

Review

by Eli EMERITUS
December 17th, 2013 | 41 replies


Release Date: 03/01/2013 | 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 (51)
Chart.
3.2
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
Xenophanes
Emeritus
December 16th 2013


10614 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Just got this on vinyl and have been listening to it all day. Like it before but it's hitting me harder than ever.

Digging: Kayo Dot - Coffins On Io

oltnabrick
December 16th 2013


31117 Comments


top five black metal albums of the year

Digging: Drake - 6 God

Hyperion1001
Staff Reviewer
December 16th 2013


18729 Comments


yep their best work

Digging: Monolake - Hong Kong

PunchforPunch
December 16th 2013


6280 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

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

Keyblade
December 16th 2013


15044 Comments


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

Digging: Submotion Orchestra - Alium

sixdegrees
December 16th 2013


17207 Comments


nice

Digging: Ted Nugent - Shutup&jam!

Cygnatti
December 16th 2013


21353 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

on mah to do lizt for sure

PunchforPunch
December 16th 2013


6280 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

yea do it cyg its free

Inveigh
December 16th 2013


25025 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

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

climactic
December 16th 2013


19441 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


19441 Comments


wtf this rules avg is stupid

zaruyache
December 17th 2013


6932 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | 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: Ardour Loom - Demo

TheSpirit
December 17th 2013


17931 Comments


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

YUJOS
December 17th 2013


942 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice rev Eli! Emergence slays hard!

Digging: Blut Aus Nord - Memoria Vetusta III - Saturnian Poetry

MoosechriS
December 17th 2013


5029 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.

CaptainDooRight
December 18th 2013


29968 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Brought out some good points in your review. I listened to a large portion of this again today because of your review. I enjoyed many parts but haven't come to a conclusion yet. Will prolly jam some more tomm.

Digging: Fleurety - Min Tid Skal Komme

CaptainDooRight
December 18th 2013


29968 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

There's nothing really wrong with this album other than the fact that it's average. My favorite part on this album is the transition shift at 6:12, it's so perfect and well timed.

climactic
December 18th 2013


19441 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


15044 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
Contributing Reviewer
January 1st 2014


8899 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

giving this one last chance before deleting it



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