Saturnus – Saturn In Ascension

It’s been about a year and a half now, but I still have in my eyes, mind and heart, as if it was yesterday, the magnificent performance of Saturnus at Carlito’s Way in their first Italian date ever: Although in front of a few but enthusiastic fans, the Danish band, put back on track after a long silence with a renewed line-up, showed off, in addition to all their old favourites (including an epochal version of I Long), also two new tracks whose intrinsic value, already detectable at a first listening, suggested the depth of what would have been the long awaited comeback album entitled Saturn In Ascension. After solving their contractual problems and settling down with Cyclone Empire, they have maintained their average of an album every five to six years but, in light of the results obtained in the past and present, these long waits have always been repaid with interest. After the release of a seemingly unrepeatable album like Veronika Decides To Die, dated 2006, Thomas Jensen fortunately decided to give a new impulse to his band, which was in a stand-by phase, calling back two musicians who had already been present in the line-up in the past, bassist Brian Hansen and drummer Henrik Glass, and finding a new pair of guitarists in Rune Stiassny and Mattias Svensson (the latter left the band shortly after the end of the recordings). After a long tour, which for the first time touched also the Italian soil, the Danish combo puts an end to a long recording silence with an album that, as it was easy to guess from the premise, doesn’t disappoint at all, being on the same level of its predecessor. For those who don’t know enough about Saturnus’ music, we can try to summarize its characteristics as a sort of evolution in a melodic sense of My Dying Bride’s The Angel And The Dark River and Like Gods Of The Sun era; in fact, where the poetics of Aaron Stainthorpe’s band are covered with a decadent morbidity, Thomas and co. take the melancholic aspect to its extreme consequences, constantly touching the right keys to induce emotion in the listener. There is no doubt that, to love Saturnus, it is necessary to be endowed with a particular predisposition that allows you to savour in an absolute way the emotions that are evoked by each of their songs, and it is thanks to these peculiarities that listening to Saturn In Ascension will prove to be an unmissable experience. If Veronika Decides To Die disarmed any defense already with the masterpiece opener I Long, Saturn In Ascension is no less thanks to the fantastic opening couple Litany Of Rain / Wind Torn, twenty minutes in total that make an ideal bridge between the two works through the painful guitar strokes of Rune, alternating with the massive and characteristic Thomas’s growl; A Lonely Passage and Call Of The Raven Moon are, within the disc, two intimist brackets in which the vocalist recites his melancholy lyrics lying on a delicate fabric of guitar arpeggios. A Father’s Providence belongs to the category of the Danish masters’ most lively tracks, in this respect similar to Pretend and Murky Waters of the previous album, while Mourning Sun is the qualitative peak of the album, with its slightly darker atmospheres compared to the overall context, blessed by a lead guitar that embroiders melodies of sad beauty and with a Thomas who shows off an interpretation of rare intensity. Forest Of Insomnia and Between close the album as it began, and the last minute of Saturn In Ascension sees Rune take the stage for the last time with a melodic line that would move even the most brutal of serial killers. After seventy minutes of pure poetry, I have to say that the decision to include as a bonus track Limbs Of Crystal Clear, the first song in chronological order published by Saturnus and present on their debut demo dated 1994, seems rather questionable: an operation to which we can assign an almost archaeological significance considering the distance, not only in time, between this old track and the present ones. For those who own this version of the album, I strongly suggest to unplug the player after the last note of Between in order to keep as long as possible the magic induced by listening to the eight unreleased tracks, reserving perhaps to pay attention later to this tangible evidence of what has been the stylistic evolution of the band. Saturn In Ascension is a jewel not to be missed for those who prefer the more introspective and emotional side of music in the broadest sense, not necessarily only in the doom or gothic sphere; another superb work for an extraordinary band to which we only ask, politely, not to make us wait until 2018 for a new album.

2012 – Cyclone Empire