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Emotional, Dark and Delightul. - 95%

TheZombieXecutioner, February 4th, 2013

Take a healthy dose of melodic guitar from Swedish death metal and then combine it with a metric ton of English doom/death. Alas you get an incredible formula for a wonderful band by the name of Saturnus. Based out of Denmark, Saturnus is very different from any other doom/death band. Particularly the use of melodic guitars along with serious and emotional atmosphere and lyrics. Seriousness isn't a bad thing to have in death metal, and Saturnus shows it can actually be done in a mature and creative fashion. Taking viscous growls of traditional death metal and infusing them with long melodic songs backed by strong drumming and an eerie atmosphere. Saturnus is a truly unique band and this album is able to show their ability to stand out from any other doom/death band.

First off, the atmosphere on this album is incredible. The chirping birds between each song and the snowy album cover gives the album a great feeling as if you are sitting beneath a snow covered pine tree in the winter. Mood is pretty hard to do in death metal and the band seems to pull it off with ease. The bird chirping also gives the album a feeling of completeness and flow. The melodic guitars and keyboards do a great deal of mood setting with either some hefty chords, powerful melodies or playing some really depressing leads that really bring the dread and sorrow and cast it wonderfully on this album.

Thomas Jensen provides some astounding vocals on this album with the voice of deranged yeti. Jensen's voice is monstrous and towers over the listener in this melodic masterpiece. Changing between a crushingly deep growl and a faint whispering voice throughout this record, it all happens to fit hand in hand. The harsh vocals are much like Chris Reifert's vocals on Autopsy's Mental Funeral but with 10X the thickness. "Paradise Belongs to You" and "I Love Thee" are some standout tracks for the perfectly timing roars and sinister vocals. Some great guttural screams are also shown at the appropriate times on "Astral Dawn" and "Pilgrimage of Sorrow" that make the intensity and atmosphere even more undeniable. On the other hand, Jensen's whispers are also very nice. Adding a nice subtle effect to the slower and quieter parts of the music like on title track and "Christ Goodbye". The lyrics are very sophisticated compared to death metal standards are actually elegant and well written. "I Love Thee" has some fantastic lyrics that tell of taking your love to the forest to make love. Most of the tracks center around death, loss and sadness, while the music and vocals provide a great platform for the lyrics to be shown on. Jensen has a great voice and the lyrics to accompany make them even better. Jensen's singing makes this album pleasurable to any traditional death metal fan or fans of doom.

The guitar work, provided by Kim Larsen, is exceptional as well. Centered around melodic melodies and riffs, Larsen is able to make a great atmospheric riff and make it sound as if two guitars are playing instead of one. "Pilgrimage of Sorrow" and "The Underworld" show some fantastic melodic doom riffing that is rather intoxicating. These haunting riffs are very delicate and played with a lot of emotion, which is what makes the guitar work so great. Other than melodic riffing, some heavy riffs are scattered here and there to keep the listener interested on tracks like "The Underworld" and "Christ Goodbye". The riffs are crushingly heavy (especially on "The Underworld") and provide some variety in this melodic dominant album. The shortest track on the album, "The Fall of Nakkiel" is a rather interesting one. Abandoning all signs of death metal and focusing on an acoustic guitar with whispered male and female vocals lurking in the background with a flute dancing about. This is a nice touch to the album and brings a lot of depth to the album as a whole. As for the acoustic work, it is nothing less of magic. Playing some enticing arpeggios with some multi tracked guitars humming in the back. The closing track "Lament for This Treacherous World" also has a great acoustic part on the intro that really brings the album to a beautiful finish. Larsen is a skilled player and on this album he shows he thoughtful playing in the form of melodic melodies and heavy riffs that would please any metal fan.

The drumming on this album is also a great addition to this album. Jesper Saltoft on drums is able to keep a melodic feeling for over nine minutes per song while keeping the drumming interesting and skilled. Saltoft doesn't do anything technically inclined but instead provides fabulous mood and beats. "Astral Dawn" is a great track filled with some great beats, rolls and moody cymbal crashing to bring life to the music. The drum intro to "Christ Goodbye" is also a great drum beat that is very calm and soothing. In contrast "I Love Thee" shows Saltoft's ability to build suspense with cymbal crashes and rolls. The drum tone is also fantastic. Perfect volume and tone on everything on the kit and can cut right through the melodic riffs and make a statement if it needs to. As most drummers in death metal settle for extreme speed, Saltoft shows that speed isn't everything when you have a great drum tone to complement suspenseful rolls and crashes.

The bass playing on this record is brought by none other than Brian Hansen. Only standing out on a few tracks like, "The Underworld" and "Pilgrimage of Sorrow", Hansen is able to do a few standout lines himself. The bass tone is clear and audible through a reasonable amount of this record and can bring a wave of refreshment from the melodic mastering on guitar. Though the bass doesn't do anything too special, Hansen is able to keep the rhythm well and shine when he can.

Melodic death metal and doom go hand in hand on this record and can make an incredible atmosphere accompanied by melodic riffs, moody drumming and inhuman growls. This album is a fantastic addition to any death metal or doom/death fans collection and should be heard by anyone interested in hearing the more melodic side of doom/death.

Saturnus - Paradise Belongs to You - 100%

Loloj, August 22nd, 2011

This, my fellow metalheads, is atmospheric doom metal at it's finest. From start to finish, this is one of the most emotional albums I've ever heard.

The riffs are absolutely fantastic. Like most doom metal, they drudge along slowly, but magnificently, and are some of the best sounding riffs I have ever heard in my entire life. The riff in Paradise Belongs to You brings you to that faraway forest, covered in snow, standing over a dead deer carcass. The riffs are usually in higher pitched notes, but it does get down on the lower register of the instrument in some of the growling sections. There are no guitar solos, but plenty of leads. The guitar work on the track "I love thee" is also exceptional! Definately the best and most metal love song of all time, this is another track to check out. The drumming on this album does exactly what it needs to do. There isn't hugely hard parts because this album is so slow and atmospheric, but when the drums are prominent they sound just as amazing as the guitars. An example of great drum work is the beginning of Christ Goodbye. He has an interesting drum fill using the toms. He also does a ton with the cymbals throughout the whole album, although not obsessively or anything.

Now the vocals. I don't even know his name, but he's absolutely fantastic. He switches back and forth between growling and singing, and he sounds like an unembodied voice that you imagine you hear at night. It send shivers down your spine. His growling voice is also epic, as he has the perfect pitch, and his vocals are brutal and still understandable. The bass is very strong, even though there are some parts where it follows the guitar. Especially in the outros the bass has some extremely interesting parts, and it gives a very solid background. The bass outros are usually slow and melodic, and use the medium range of the instrument.

As for the bird chirps - why would you rank this beast of an album down just because of 40 seconds of bird chirps? The bird chirps are at the start of every song, yes, and I happen to like them. Even if I didn't, I could wait 5 seconds for the song to begin without bitching and moaning about it.

You are stranded in the middle of a dark wood. You wander aimlessly, but begin to lose hope. Your religious faith leaves you. You will never see the love of your life again. You have nothing more to live for. A deceased deer is in your path. You lie down in the snow next to it, and await the time when you will join it in death. It will not be long.

The above paragraph is basically what the atmosphere of this album is portraying to me. Total hopelessness, as any self-respecting doom metal band should want you to feel while listening to them. None come even close to what Saturnus is able to accomplish. Do whatever you have to do to get this album.

Am I the only one who likes the bird noises? - 96%

Nameless_Rites, December 17th, 2009

Saturnus play a quiet, brooding variant of doom metal. Although sharing influences with all the usual bands in this style - My Dying Bride, The 3rd and the Mortal, Anathema etc, their sound is instantly identifiable. This album in particular has generated a decent following for its take on "Angel and the Dark River"-era My Dying Bride, which incidentally is far better than anything My Dying Bride has ever done.

The best thing this band has going for them is their grasp of subtlety and finesse. So many bands playing atmospheric doom metal lack these characteristics and their songs simply drag on like a clumsy, monolithic freight train of boredom. Saturnus avoid this trap by building songs around a series of cycling riffs that gradually gain in intensity until reaching a dramatic conclusion. They manage to give their songs a delicate, feather-light feel despite some crushingly heavy doom riffs. The warm, organic sound of the production courtesy of Flemming Rasmussen helps here.

Musicianship is stellar all around. The guitarists are adept at playing clean/acoustic guitar melodies with feeling and passion as well as technical skill. Of special note is the excellent drumming courtesy of Jesper Saltolft. He doesn't do a lot of busy, technical playing, but he has a great grasp of offbeat syncopation and subtle polyrhythms, as well as some of the best tone and dynamics of any modern metal drummer. In a style of drumming where those attributes are frequently sacrificed in favor speed and dexterity, it's good to see someone who remembers how to make drumming musical and complementary to the song. Observe the way his rhythm gradually builds in heaviness through the last couple minute of "Christ Goodbye" and you'll start to notice just how much he adds to their overall sound.

"Paradise Belongs to You" is probably the best work from Saturnus overall. It's not a famous release, but continues to exert a quiet but undeniable influence upon many subsequent bands' work. Although their 2000 release "Martyre" has stronger songs, that album feels slightly disjointed - "Paradise Belongs to You" is a complete work instead of just a collection of strong songs.

And fuck it, I like the bird noises. It gives the album a sense of continuity and natural mysticism, even if it is a cheap and superficial way of achieving those feelings.

eh...maybe it does & maybe it doesn't! - 80%

grimdoom, March 27th, 2009

There is something profound about a scenic landscape. Be it a grand mountain, an ancient battle field, or a deep and seemingly bottomless valley. What makes it profound however, is the circumstance by which you come across it. Black Metalists would have you believe that only their style of Heavy Metal belongs in the forests and the dark recesses of nature where mankind hasn't held sway for centuries, but this album, like countless others provides a dissenting opinion to their arrogant claim. In no short order this album takes you to a time that history forgot. In this time you are surround by epic sights and sounds that cause you to ponder much. In these thoughts you have found the profound.

If you are a devout follower of Doom-metal.com you'd probably believe that this is either the best Doomdeath album ever, or at the very least, in the top three. Like countless bands before them they take the music to original heights and never look back. This is a very different Doom album indeed.

The production is pretty good over all. The guitars are a little weak sounding but its hard to say if its the production or their choice of preamps. The guitars are incredibly melodic (sounding as if they were tuned to 'D') and flirt with the piano constantly. There isn't a lot of palm muting as they instead opted for more long drawn out passages. The guitars go from distorted to overdriven to acoustic at various points in any given song. They keep the songs at a slow to moderately slow pace for the bulk of the recording. There are various leads but no solos.

The bass plays follow the leader (sadly) but sounds good anyway. The drums are pretty standard with little to no flare at all. There is some flute playing randomly thrown in for the acoustic parts and some light background work from the keyboards as well.

The vocals are grunts and get old after awhile. There is some spoken word here and there but over all the style is grim. The lyrics are fairly poetic and not bad over all.

With the exception of the guitars there isn't a lot of really exceptional anything to discuss, except for the song writing. This album is a melodic giant that sounds like no other before or since. There is something within the humble sounds on this album that evoke a ponderous and inexplicable feeling of wonder. This isn't a dark and depressing release, which most are in this style, but something that gives hope and thought.

If there are any problems at all with this they would be directly linked to a few post production annoyances. Specifically the chirping brids that haunt damn near every song on this recording. Most are thrown in intros or outros, but if you listen intently enough you'll hear them in various songs as well. Being pagan is fine, singing about it is also fine, but throwing actual bits of nature in your music is as about as lame and annoying as you could possibly get. This is no worse than putting a crying baby (one of the most annoying things in existence regardless of location) or a barking dog in a song.

This aside, this is a damn good debut from a consistent band. While misguided and curious with regards to their production and cover art; a dead dear carcass covered in snow, presumably in a forest, and lots of birds chirping (oh how they chirp!) You could do far worse. This isn't as good as Doom-metal.com claims however.

Transcendence into a Realm of Beauty and Sorrow - 98%

Skullkrusher_, April 9th, 2007

One of the most beautiful and unique albums I have ever encountered, Paradise Belongs To You is an incredible work of melodic death doom metal. The perception of this album is deeply mournful and utterly melancholic. Thus, no other title could possibly fit such an amazing piece of poignant music.

Within each tracks’ inception and closure, the sound of chirping birds lavish the environment. It adds something alluring and momentous to each song. The moment it commences it is as though everything around you dissolves and you are left simply alone, enamored by the privation and sentiments of sorrow. Before you are able to reckon, sixty eight minutes of that fragile atmosphere which summoned such a perplexing and esoteric intensity are now gone.

Paradise Belongs To You is a highly melodic album. Regardless, the heaviness of each track coveys a rather pessimistic and depressive aura. The wonderful vocal display by Thomas Jensen is unparalleled. His deep grunts embodied with melodic voice lines and whispers flow ideally with the music. Heavy guitar riffs (lead by Kim Larsen at the time) are acutely prominent throughout the album as well as unforgettable. Delicate acoustic pieces are wonderfully alternated and the keyboards add an atmospheric touch yet they are not overly done.

This album is an extraordinary jewel that should be owned by many fans of death doom metal. It is truly a shame that Paradise Belongs To You has not gained as much recognition as it seemingly should, its enchanting ambience and melodic heaviness is unmatched to anything else.

(originally written for: http://www.metal-realm.net)

Simply Beautiful!! - 100%

WhisperingGloom, March 15th, 2005

If it’s one thing that Saturnus are good at, it’s creating amazing atmosphere and beautiful melodies within their music. And this album here is a prime example of this. It oozes atmosphere right from the start with the chirping of birds to the soft and mellow piano passages and the slowly played guitar riffs. It’s something a lot of bands try to do and don’t do well. But Saturnus have perfected this element, and this is possibly why they are one of, if not the, best death/doom bands ever created.

As I mentioned, this album is full of atmosphere and it all starts with the chirping of birds, which they use as a transition into every song. It’s a very nice touch, actually. I’ve heard people complain about it and say it’s pointless. Maybe so, but it adds a nice touch to the overall feeling you get from listening to this masterpiece. It really gives you an idea of what paradise truly is like; serene, beautiful and peaceful.

The lead guitar work done by Kim Larsen on this album is nothing short of great. He may not use huge flashy solos, or overly technical passages, but he does play with a lot emotion. Which can easily be heard throughout the album, and this too, also makes the album outstanding.

And then you have Thomas’ amazing voice. He has one of the best death growls I’ve ever heard. His voice fits the music so well it’s almost sickening. It’s like his voice and this type of music were made for each other. It’s very impressive. He’s also very well at switching back and forth between his death growls and his spoken voice. And the combination of the two throughout this album is just beyond great. This too also adds to this concept of atmosphere that I have been talking about.

But what really sets the atmosphere of this album apart from other albums is the keyboards. They use a lot of keyboards and synths, but they don’t overuse it at all. It creates a nice feeling as you sit there and just listen to it combined with the guitars and the drums. They have the power to pick you up, take you away on a journey through paradise for an hour and bring you back, without ever leaving your chair.

I first heard about these guys through an online review where the last line stated something like “This is a must for any metal fan. If this album isn’t a part of your collection, then you suck!” With reading that line, I immediately got it. I was not disappointed in the slightest. This album still is one of my favorite albums to this day. It is a definite must have! It is the definition of perfection.

3 favorite tracks: Paradise Belongs To You, Christ Goodbye, and I Love Thee.