Saturnian Mist – Chaos Magick (Candlelight Records)Sunday, 2nd August 2015
“What’s up with the drums?”. That’s a question you’ll likely ask yourself when listening to Chaos Magick, the sophomore full-length album from this Satanic/occult Finnish black metal brigade. Incredibly hard to ignore, from the word go we are “treated” to a sonic pummeling by drums with awful production (not in a kvlt way, either), sounding like something out of a late 90’s nu-metal nightmare, yet with attractive, slithering guitar riffing and unhinged vocals, Saturnian Mist is able to capture a certain amount of allure despite themselves. Not only is the production of the skins pretty heinous (flat but loud), most importantly there is a very interesting propensity toward early Soulfly-esque, tribal sounding tom hits. Truly an interesting and completely unutilized style in the realm of black metal, and probably for good reason. But here it adds an originality that otherwise may be lessened with more traditional playing. These musical traits (excessive use of bad sounding toms) permeate the album. Odd thing is that it doesn’t really ruin things. It’s an interesting listen, and all said and done, not a bad album.
Moving past these issues surrounding the drums, the heart of the album is firmly rooted in extreme metal, adeptly handled by said weirdo (drummer fra. Vile, who is actually quite good) so rest assured, musically Saturnian Mist nicely sit in the realm of riff-driven black metal with ferocity and well measured occult atmospherics and melody (and guitar solos!). Of course, no sooner do I complete this thought than we encounter “Voodoo Satan”, which could pass for a Roots-era Sepultura song (once again, looking at the drums).
A fifty-three minute record with thirteen tracks, “Evoking God” is one of the more unusual songs, devoid of drumming, and driven by a strange, almost backward sounding melody, as the band trips out into a creepy dirge. Things follow with one of the best tracks (as is the title track) in “White Void of All-Being”, featuring spectral, ghostly noise and strong melodic riffs. Yet just when we reach what should have been a nice closer, these nutters toss out the completely unnecessary “Yoga, Hate, Fuck”. Chaos Magick is an album that got better with repeat listens and is a solid piece of wild Finnish black metal. We look forward to hearing the next offering, with an ear firmly on the sound engineer.