Review Summary: Heavy, ominous and catchy, Satariel's opening part of White Ink satisfies all expectations and gives you an apetite for what is to follow.
Satariel's quite a busy bunch of fellows. So much in fact, that they felt forced to split their long-announced LP "White Ink" into three chapters in order to make any release possible. This is their first bit of material since 2007's Chifra, and I have to say I'm very glad they didn't call it quits.
Satariel's unique branch of melodic death metal is very difficult to describe to those accustomed to classic bands of the genre. At any given time, they can be melancholic (but not in the Insomnium sense), foreboding (but not quite in the Dark Tranquillity sense), and even uplifting and relaxing (but definitely not in the Omnium Gatherum sense).. All in all, there has always been this uneasy, strained atmosphere about Satariel music, which can make the listener feel emotional unrest, but at the same make him come back for more. And all that remains simple - it's achieved entirely with melody and atmosphere rather than extreme technicality.
The first third of White Ink showcases some of the strongest material Satariel has written so far, bringing together the riffing and embellishment style known from Hydra and Chifra and the darkness and intensity of Phobos and Deimos. The three songs here are definitely darker and more ominous than on Chifra, also notably making less use of clean vocals. But where the vocals are used, the hooks are infectiously catchy.
"Black Titans" is the heaviest and most aggressive track on the first chapter of White Ink, and probably the best in that style Satariel has written thus far. "Daemons" is a slower number with ominous, borderline black metal atmosphere and a 6/8 chorus that is the catchiest in melodeath I've heard in a long time, without sounding poppy at all, which is commendable to say the least. "Ending Circle" is a slower track that focuses on atmosphere in a typical Satariel fashion - it's not as dark as "Daemons", but rather conveys that indescribable aura of uncertainty and psychological strain that only Satariel can do.
Overall the introductory song trio to White Ink is probably the most consistent yet varied, well-written set of songs by Satariel so far. It's brief enough not to outstay its welcome, but that doesn't really matter, as listening to it 3-4 times through shouldn't be uncommon - it's just that good. I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that the rest of the White Ink trilogy turns out to be as good as this once it's released.