From Norway comes the very appropriately titled High Priest of Saturn and their self-titled debut for Svart Records. Yes, you guessed it, epic doom and psychedelic sludge all the way folks, as these guys obviously worship at the altar of Black Sabbath, Saint Vitus, Pentagram, Candlemass, and Cathedral. With four lengthy songs each passing the 9-minute mark, this debut is a scorcher of monstrous doom, bleak, atmospheric, and containing some of the heaviest guitar riffing you'll hear this year along with haunting vocals, pounding rhythms, and some creepy organ to boot. The band are a trio, comprised of guitarist Martin Sivertsen, guitarist-drummer Andreas Hagen, and singer/bassist Merethe Heggset, with the chilling, swirling, organ sounds played on the album by Ole Kristian Malmedal. "Protean Towars" lumbers out of the gate with massive riffs and a heavy psychedelic element, but it's "Kraken Mare" that really shows the bands evil intent, a crushing slice of monolothic doom made even more menacing thanks to Heggset's eerie vocals. Her mysterious delivery adds an ethereal touch to the spacey doom of "Crawling King Snake" (which also features some sizzling lead guitar work), and on the epic "On Mayda Insula" her spooky chants cut through the mountains of distorted power chord dirges, sizzling wah-wah leads, and haunting organ.
This is massive, massive stuff here, a real must listen to any fan of crushing doom , sludge, psychedelic, and stoner metal. The offbeat female vocals add on intriguing element to their monstrous sound, but don't assume that High Priest of Saturn sound anything like new sensations Blood Ceremony, though I can certainly see fans of that band getting into these guys as well. Two thumbs up!
1. Protean Towers (10:30)
2. Kraken Mare (9:06)
3. Crawling King Snake (9:01)
4. On Mayda Insula (12:49)