Saturnine is a all female band with members from four different cities in Italy. Since their foundation in 2010, the band has suffered several line-up changes which, along with the distance between the cities, slowed them down a bit. Yet, with this latest full-length, their second after a demo in 2012, will hopefully set them on the right track again, including a lot of stops on a lot of stages worldwide.
This quintet incorporates all the necessary ingedrients to make 'Mors Vocat' a crushing album. Monolithic riffs with a lot of fuzz, battering drums and a hellish voice blast through my speakers with a lot of intensity and a lot of respect towards the tremendous history of the genre. Opener 'Mors Vocat' for instance is a very strong vintage instrumental doom track with a powerful modern-day sound.
Maybe comparing them with a blend of Electric Wizard and Gallhammer comes closse to what Saturnine sounds like but these women have clearly found their own, disctict style. I'm quite sure many doom fans will fall for this one and for it's bewitching sound.
From there on the steamroller is set loose and about to crush anything that stands in its way. 'Moloch' drives on a simple but highly effective guitar riff, reminding me of Winter's 'Servants Of The Warsman'. The vocals on the other hand, bring back the eerie atmosphere of bands on old Candlelight and Osmose Records releases. This combination of forceful doom and almost blackened vocals make this album stand out in the enormous pool of sludge bands these days.
The cumbersome sound of Saturnine is actually quite mesmerizing and has an almost hypnotic effect on the listener. I can't help but shaking my head almost constantly to this slow but energetic tempo. I also enjoy the guitar solos, especially in 'Fangs in the Flesh' which is quite rare because I've never been a big fan of solos, only if they enhance the quality and drive of the song. Here they do, and they are fantastic.
'Crimson Sand' brings out an other element, a raw version of old melodic doom metal like Paradise Lost in their early days. This way Mors Vocat is quite varied for a sludge/doom album and that's something I can only applaud. By this song I honestly have to mention that I'm starting to be blown away by this effort. This is one of the best doom albums I've heard recently. Even for a doom fan like me this stuff is highly surprising and refreshing.
The album continues with this brilliant, vintage doom sound and these scary vocals and it never loses its intensity. The uptemo passages bring a perfect amount of variation to songs like 'Bones and Regrets' or my favourite one, 'Empire of Guilt'. And it didn't even mention the psychedelic aspect of the music, capable of bringing the listener in a state of trance.
Saturnine continuously succeed in impressing me and I'm not saying that because all members are women. In fact, I haven't even looked at their pictures yet because I think the music has to speak for itself before the image of a band becomes important. That being said, I'm sorry for several male artists in this genre, these girls have enough power to blast them right off stage.