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Saturnian Mist: Gnostikoi Ha-Shaitan

Finnish black metallers Saturnian Mist have been lurking around in the underground since 2006 and are set to release their first full-length in December, Gnostikoi Ha-Shaitan, and it is nothing less than utterly abhorrent.

Abrasive from the outset, this is seething rage wrapped in broken glass and rusty nails. Raw and organic, this is black metal magick executed very well with Saturnian Mist's distinct style lacing the compositions with their idiosyncratic primal wrath. Zetekh's vocals, for one, stand apart from the traits of the genre as he has a style that fuses elements of hardcore into the scowling heretic preaching. His style is also reminiscent of Primordial's Nemtheanga, such as in 'Sacrifice of Faces Unbroken' in that he adopts a theatrical and dramatic approach to his pained delivery, adding a different dimension to the overall aesthetic of the record. And the female vocals such as in the coda of 'Aura Mystica' add a beautiful edge to the work. Where Zetekh's vocals do stand out as a key factor in the band's sound, the musicians shouldn't be overlooked. The diversity in the riffs marks them out as masters of their art. The two guitars are used to great effect, working with each other to create powerful and unified barrages. What Saturnian Mist could've done was exploit the guitarists' obvious talent for constructing such dense edifices and developed these ideas throughout the record, exploiting the depth that the two guitars have here touched upon.

Structurally, the tracks can be predictable but what they may lack in diversity which is very little, it must be said they make up for in composition and the breadth of scope in riffs. The tracks are solid and go a long way to distinguishing Saturnian Mist from the horde as a band that is en route to underground greatness. As with most BM recordings, the production needs attention. It would be good to hear Saturnian Mist in all their grim glory because Gnostikoi Ha-Shaitan is an impressive album.

Track Listing:

  1. The Regicide
  2. Bythos in Quintessence
  3. Consecration of the Temple
  4. Temps-Des-Cranes
  5. Sacrifice of Faces Unbroken
  6. The Watcher's Feast
  7. Aura Mystica
  8. Gnostikoi Ha-Shaitan

Added: December 16th 2011
Reviewer: Jason Guest
Related Link: Saturnian Mist's website
Hits: 3204
Language: english

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Saturnian Mist: Gnostikoi Ha-Shaitan
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2011-12-16 10:08:56
My Score:

Though Finland's Saturnian Mist are labeled as a black metal band, I have a hard time classifying much of their debut Gnostikoi Ha-Shaitan as such. Though some of the tempos and arrangements do fall into the Finnish style of black metal, more often than not this is raw and pummeling death metal with plenty of hardcore influence as well. Lead vocalist Zetekh fluctuates between hardcore shouts & bellows, death metal growls, and some black metal rasps, with the occasional clean passage that wouldn't sound out of place on a pagan or folk metal release. It does make for an intriguing listen, but in the end his vocal attack just doesn't seem to measure up to the otherwise solid attack from the rest of the band. "Bythos in Quintessence" is a lean, mean, death metal rager, complete with thunderous riffs and pounding drums, while "Consecration of This Temple" is a vile, doomy ride into the depths of hell. When the band does dive into hyperspeed black metal, as on "The Regicide" and "Temps-Des-Cranes", Zetekh opts for his hardcore bark and death metal growls which makes for an odd fit. "Sacrifice of Faces Unbroken" sounds like a cross between the punk/black metal of modern Darkthrone and the more pagan stylings of Primordial, and "Aura Mystica" is the most melodic of the bunch, even featuring some female backing vocals for good measure.

All in all, Gnostikoi Ha-Shaitan is a strong debut, and despite my doubts about the vocals, shows lots of promise for this Finnish band.

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