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Album Review: SATURNUS The Storm Within

8 Reviewer

After 11 years, Saturnus is about to unleash a gorgeous new offering. The Storm Within marks the fifth full-length album by these Danish stalwarts. Saturnus was formed in 1991 as Asesino. The band took its current name in 1993. Thus, Saturnus brings the confidence of season veterans to its work. The Storm Within is a melodic death/doom victory that just might open the floodgates of your soul.

The Storm Within may be described as alluring, romantic, unique, and thoughtful. Slow and melancholic, The Storm Within is a deeply meditative effort with a mood of existential searching. Feelings of hope and hopelessness intertwine. This haunting record feels both ethereal and, thanks to its harsher components, sturdy as bedrock.

One of the first things that listeners will notice about The Storm Within is that the production is great. The album was produced by Saturnus’ longtime collaborator Flemming Rasmussen, who has worked with bigwigs like Metallica and Rainbow. Yet, if one were to be picky, it would be possible to claim that this album is, in fact, too polished.

The Storm Within melds and juxtaposes aggression and, again, beauty. At times, the way these two elements are combined can feel a bit awkward and contrived. The keyboards sometimes feel a bit too sparkly, and the lustrous textures don’t always go well with the more extreme aspects. Overall, however, the music effectively summons images of magnificent and formidable landscapes. It creates atmospheres of wind, hail, rain, and tumultuous seas.

The instruments are enjoyable. The guitars might just conjure the strongest emotions. The bass is on point. The drums are consistent and measured. Both clean, mostly spoken, and low, growled vocals are incorporated, though the lyrics sometimes miss their mark.

On this seven-song album, only one composition is under seven minutes. The longest is nearly eleven-and-a-half minutes. Thus, listening requires a fair amount of patience. This album boasts a nice range of moods: dramatic, fun, depressive. The Storm Within begins with atmospheric sounds and builds. It takes over three-minutes for vocals to kick in on the opening, title track. “Chasing Ghosts” is a song of contrasts that has solid momentum and hooks you with nice melodies.

The third track, “The Calling,” picks up the tone a bit by providing a higher level of energy and just the right type of change. The agonized next track, “Even Tide,” features some guest vocals and might be perceived by some as a tad melodramatic: “I wonder why, this long I’ve survived. Every time I try to go, the waves bring me home.” “Closing the Circle” is a bit of a soul-rending number with soaring, nostalgic guitars. The penultimate number, “Breathe New Life,” feels like a welcome gust of fresh air. The scorching finale, “Truth,” intensifies before the midpoint but ends gently. As a whole, The Storm Within is an oddly empowering experience. This record is a cathartic journey worth taking.

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