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Ra is pleased... - 98%

BastardHead, April 4th, 2008

One should always judge an album on it's own merits, and looking at the score you can clearly see that I did, but I feel it deserves a mention that Saurian Meditation is in some way the usurper that destroyed the creativity of Nile. One thing that made Nile so original was their seamless blending of Egyptian pieces like this album and the melodies that intertwined with their sheer brutality. After this album, it was all gone. Karl not only put the different sounds on separate tracks, but separate fucking albums and bands. So I feel a tad bitter towards this album for enabling Sanders to get all of this out of his system and focus purely on hyperblasting brutality with Nile, but to call this a shitty album should be a capital offense, as this is a mind blowing piece of work.

The one thing that puts Saurian Meditation above the throngs of other faceless ambient projects in the music world, is there is almost never a spot where I feel bored to death. A lot of ambient works tend to drone on and on and on in an attempt to make something "epic" or "mood setting". I call bullshit on this practice, as a lot of people tend to write repetitive garbage that doesn't progress or change at all, which is something I like to call boring as hell. Karl Sanders shows his mastery here as he is able to make every last song interesting and captivating. The atmosphere on this album is wholly encapsulating and really takes me back to the days where the pharaohs ruled over the golden sands.

There are a variety of traditional instruments in use here, from old style Egyptian drums to a freakin' baglama. And even with a wide array of sounds at his fingertips, he maintains a generally restrained take on the songwriting. What I mean by that is nothing is there purely for the sake of being there. Every note from every instrument serves a purpose, whether for buildup or climax, everything falls into place wonderfully. The only, ONLY time the album descends into the pointless wind blowing bollocks that so many atmospheric/ambient bands fall into is Contemplations of the Endless Abyss, and it's probably the only thing holding this album back from a perfect score.

The real highlights to me are the more uptempo numbers (for example, Awaiting the Vultures and The Elder God Shrine), as Karl seems to have a knack for making this project sound metal as hell. Ballsin' A, The Elder God Shrine even has a dirty guitar solo in it, what's not to like? Segments of Luring the Doom Serpent sound like they could be some excellently crushing doom riffs if they were played with some distortion. It is this impeccable talent for songwriting that is shown on this album that leads me to my claim that Karl Sanders is one of the most talented men in death metal today. Even if he spends a majority of his time with a now fairly bland-yet-super-fucking-fast metal output, this album shows above all else his incredibly diverse ability and sheer perfection when it comes to songwriting.

In all, this is an excellent record to relax to, and maybe, while I don't partake, I can imagine it'd make for a great drug trip as well, just a hint for all y'all tokers reading this. To sum up, a near perfect experience that I recommend everybody with ears and a tolerance for anything that isn't naught but raw death blasting intensity. One of the best of '04. That's right, above the likes of Evolution Purgatory, Defying the Rules, Return of the Warrior, Blessed Black Wings, Iron, and even A Celebration of Guilt. About as close to perfect as you can get. I listen to this, and I liken it to having a porn star dispenser in your closet, but without all the grody AIDS and Ron Jeremy stench.