Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Review: Saturnalia Temple - Aion of Drakon
Saturnalia Temple's demos were pretty cool, like a more abstract and intense take on Electric Wizard. I didn't listen that carefully, but I liked the sound. I dug the band's nods to black metal, and was intrigued by their connections to the anti-cosmic mysticism of the Dragon Rouge. So I was looking forward to the full length, which was released at the end of April.
Huge disappointment. This basically sounds like a parody of doom metal. The album begins with a retro-occult intro that's actually pretty cool, but then slides into one of the weakest, most annoying doom riffs I've ever heard. It repeats like 8 or 16 times before they finally drop another, but that one's basically a holding pattern before we go back to the really uncool main riff. When the vocals finally enter around 2:30, the new riff is just as embarrassing. It actually manages to be a bit more intense and sinister, but it's a shameful cliche. The reverb-y vocals are cool, I guess? Not really though. The third track begins with a kind of cool verbed out intro riff that quickly becomes tiresome once you realize that it IS the main riff. At around the 4:20 mark, I was anxiously checking to see how much longer the song would last. Sadly, another 7 minutes. Doomed, indeed.
The first good riff, a bit like a 70s interpretation of Hellhammer, comes some 1:50 into the fourth track, by which point we are just over the halfway point of the album. It doesn't lead to any overall improvement. I listened to the rest of the track, and then cut my losses.
Aion of Drakon will defy any attempt to headbang whatsoever. The riffs sound like another band's filler, left on the cutting room floor and scooped up by a band of hooded occultists desperate for raw material. And there's nothing interesting going on rhythmically. In fact, the drums might as well not be there. It seems as if Saturnalia Temple were going for "numbing and hypnotic," but they failed. And they forgot that this kind of doom is already minimal as fuck... The best bands, like Electric Wizard, make this stripped-down sound work by writing really long, rhythmically interesting melodic lines.
No matter how much weed you smoke, you will not enjoy this album.
Buy this album on Amazon