Saturn – Beyond Spectra (Rise Above Records)Wednesday, 22nd March 2017
Even when 70’s proto-metal, doom, and boogie/stoner rock wasn’t in vogue for much of the 1990’s and early 2000’s, Rise Above as a label and taste-maker has been the reliable constant, staying the course championing bands in that style, old and new. Choosing old mixing tables from the Swedish government controlled public service radio station that embraces that warm, analog feel, Saturn on their second album Beyond Spectra keep the roots of early metal top of mind, allowing for easy cranium retention.
As a quartet, this is a band that straddles different heavy rock and metal influences – most of which percolated in the UK scene in those pivotal early to-mid 1970’s. “Orbital Command” opens with a reflective, bluesy guitar passage straight out of the Gary Moore school of emotion before the high- energy vocals (which can move zero to banshee call instantly) and ripping rhythms plus guitar/bass tandem action lifts the arrangement to outer space. It’s tricky to get those harmonic principles in motion when the bass also holds down the low end and groove, but these musicians make it an integral part of their infectious sound – check out the double shot of “Electrosaurus Sex” and “Still Young” as both boogie and shake like Schenker-era UFO and Sad Wings of Destiny period Judas Priest. Oscar Pehrson possesses a Uriah Heep meets Witch Cross higher register wail, telling the tales of current world events with a historical slant as well as some twists of humor and fiction to the mix – “Wolfsson” and “Helmet Man” subscribe to this philosophy, beyond the space alien riding a horse against the dinosaur cover art. Guitarists Robin Tidebrink and Linkan Lindgren have all the requisite guitar hero tools of the trade – fiery, explosive runs and smart transitional abilities from electric to clean output, making headbanging mandatory from the first salvo to the final track “Sensor Data” featuring some serious gallops and passages aligning with NWOBHM 101.
Beyond Spectra should gain proper respect from the forty-somethings wishing to relive their youth – and hopefully put a charge into the younger generation as well.