Saturnalia Temple – Aion Of Drakon …   Leave a comment

I first heard the down-tuned lysergic heaviness of Saturnalia Temple when they released their incredibly diabolical EP back in 2009 so this has been a hellish process waiting for this full-length album to emerge out-of-the-darkness. For those who have never heard the band, they have been described as ‘like Kyuss at 16 rpm’ and ‘Black Sabbath dipped in peyote’ and this still rings true. The sound of the band is influenced by Black Sabbath, Pentagram, Celtic Frost, Electric Wizard and the late 60’s proto-metal sounds of bands like Atomic Rooster. But it is put in a melting pot and stirred up with ingredients as diverse as N.W.O.B.H.M and classic black-metal.

The sound of the band is stoner-doom and psychedelic but it is blackened with an intense occult-rock vibe. Nothing new with all this of course but few bands can match the hypnotic intensity of Saturnalia Temple.

Here is what is on the menu: Thick bass lines, fuzzy wah-wah guitars, druggy effected vocals, and sinister occult atmospheres that is all backed up with serious stoner grooves. The Black Sabbath influence really shines on this album but mostly it is in the walking bass-lines and while many bands mirror Tony Iommi in the riffing department, few capture Geezer Butler’s wonderfully infectious bass playing techniques but Saturnalia Temple nail it on ‘Aion of Drakon.

The 6 songs on this album are unique in the way that they don’t stray too much from the selected style but they still each track has its own personality and feel. It is also important to mention that from the album opener ‘God Is Two’ to the closing ‘Fall’ there isn’t a moment of weakness. The album is so strong and consistently good that I can’t find a single stand-out track, the entire album is a standout, for all of its 49 minutes.

The band swing with slow-motion stoner grooves that ooze from the psychedelic to the immensely doomy and it is delivered through a lo-fi kind of production that somehow sounds huge at the same time. The production on this album is one of the album’s strengths, everything is layered beautifully from the sometimes bizarre sound-effects to the pulsating riffing that is saturated in hypnotic fuzz. At times the band verges on drone only to pull out of it at just the right time before anything becomes remotely repetitive. At other times, the band becomes drowned in a swirling, psychedelic vibe but it is mostly heavy-armed grooves that are irresistibly mesmerizing. It is also hard not to be impressed by some of the lead-work too especially in the album-closing Fall where the twin-leads are surprisingly classy and polished. All of this is topped off with haunting vocals that are soaked in effects giving the album a washed-out, laid back kind of atmosphere.

Even when the songs take a more straight forward direction, there is always something to make this far from predictable whether it be a strange vocal effect, a twist to the riffing or just odd noises that appear out-of-nowhere. At times I am sure I hear flute on this for example. What really makes me respect and appreciate Saturnalia Temple’s Aion Of Drakon is the way they use retro-influence and yet don’t sound retro at all. This is doom for the future while keeping the doom-metal traditions firmly intact. This is ritualistic and mesmerizing and is almost perfect, without a doubt top 10 material for 2011…..9.5/10

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Posted May 22, 2011 by doommantia in Saturnalia Temple

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