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Saturnus is surely one of the biggest doom/death bands in the history of the genre. And having in mind what all the historic bands are doing at the moment, I think I can say Saturnus is the biggest name in the scene in 2012. After "Veronika...", a fabulous record based in a bad novel, I confess my expectations were high, because in my opinion "Veronika..." had everything: it was heavy, melodic, great riffs, great solos, great acoustic, great piano. It was an instant classic. When I pressed play to hear "Saturn in Ascencion" for the first time, I noticed in the first seconds of "Litany of Rain" I wouldn't be deceived. The sound was very close to "Veronika..." and soon the typical Saturnus dynamics kicked in for a 75 minute ride (in fact the first minutes of "Litany of Rain" could easily fit in "Veronika..." ). And well, I feel there's not much to say. It's exactly what was supposed to come from Saturnus. Great riffs, great arrangements, good melodies, the deep voice from Thomas, great drum details, everything wrapped in a production that's able to allow all these elements to shine on their own. This time I feel the keyboards have a different role in the music (the choir-like atmosphere in "Litany...", the pop melody of "A Fathers Providence"), but I think it's not in a way that's able to change the band's identity.
Overall, I think those who enjoyed the past Satunus records will enjoy this new one. Saturnus formula is used with the same mastery as before, but I think some of the last songs are not so good as the first 4. Still they have some good moments, except for "Call of the Raven Moon", which is, in my opinion, the less good moment in this record. The bonus track "Limbs of Crystal Clear" is a bit displaced when comparing the album song writing, but I think it was a good idea to resurrect the heavier doom/death sound of early Saturnus for the new generation of listeners.
Despite not being flawless both musically and visually (the front cover doesn't appeal me in any way), this is a great piece of work from a well matured band that was able to find their sound and their style... and I must say, they're doing it well.
It was worth the wait.