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The crawling chaos. - 80%

Witchfvcker, March 19th, 2015

A strange and divisive trip, Saturnalia Temple made their imprint with the reverb-heavy and trancelike Aion Of Drakon. When their drummer left in 2013, the Swedish black magicians became a duo, headed by the occult-minded frontman Tommie Eriksson and supported by longtime bassist Peter. They are joined by session drummer Tim Call. With To The Other they tone down the abrasive weirdness a few notches, but retain the hypnotic darkness which they have made their own.

Eriksson’s effect-heavy vocals immediately stood out on Aion Of Drakon, and seems to have been a dealbreaker for many listeners. On their sophomore effort the demented wails have been dropped completely, replaced by a more conventional croaking that is still shrouded in echo. The extreme dissonance has also been reduced significantly, with the band putting more weight on a more straightforwardly heavy approach. Still murky doom metal at its heart, To The Other relies on raw production values and monotonous gnarly riffs that sound like they could make mountains crumble.

This being a Saturnalia Temple-album, there are still more than a few touches of the unexpected. The title track sees the band wander down a boggy southern path, paved with a remarkably bluesy southern twang. The atmosphere of forbidden backwoods worship lays thick under the blanket of fuzz, as the band crawls along like a malevolent serpent. Eriksson seems to thrive on the mixture of ritualistic darkness and spaced out effects, dishing out both in substantial amounts. Not without aspirations of grandeur, the band also prove themselves at penning crushing riffs, such as the hulking “March Of Gha’agsheblah”. An unstoppable force moving along at snail’s pace, Saturnalia Temple have refined their occult black acid trip with thundering consequences.

On the psychedelic doom metal spectrum, Saturnalia Temple are about as depraved-sounding as they come. To The Other walks a fine line between oppressively grim and mind-bendingly entrancing, retaining just enough of their psychedelic edge to keep the repetitive melodies interesting. Those who were turned off by the overwrought weirdness of Aion Of Drakon may want to give this a spin; it feels like the band has found and improved their sound.


Written for The Metal Observer