Review

SATURNDUST RLC

Album · 2017 · Doom Metal
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4.5/5 ·
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Hailing from Brazil, doom/sludge metal act Saturndust are back following their 2015 self-titled debut album with their second full-length album RLC (2017). I'd not heard of the band prior to this release, but it's eye-catching cover quickly drew my attention this time around and made me want to see what sort of music they played. It only took one track after that for the music to make me stay and listen to the whole thing.

RLC is something of a mash-up of a few different genres. At its heart the album is doom metal, featuring heavily distorted, prolonged guitar stabs and rapid trills straight out of the book of Black Sabbath, but there are also sludge metal elements in the parts where the band up the tempo a bit and take on more of a hardcore approach, using harsher vocals. But the real mash-up and what ultimately makes the album interesting actually comes from Saturndust's softer sections, most of which I would describe as space rock influences, with a bit of ambient on the side.

Prominent synths and atmospheric guitars one minute, crushing doom/sludge metal the next, RLC is quite the trip through the cosmos. While the softer sections of the album such as the first part of the title track conjure up impressions of the majesty of space, the kind you'll see portrayed on Hubble photographs of nebulae and other celestial wonders, one must never forget that Saturndust's main game is doom and that space, despite the wonders it offers is actually quite an inhospitable place. A key feature in point of this is the way that Felipe Dalam's harsh but non-growled vocals absolutely ooze real despair. It's an effective contrast of atmospheres for a subject matter that black metal bands have seemed to have the monopoly on lately and it sounds really fresh to me. Doom metal isn't my most familiar genre, but I haven't heard any other band who does it quite like this before.

What makes RLC a really great album though as opposed to simply being a different one is that Saturndust have not only come up with a winning formula for themselves, but they also have one that gives each of their tracks its own identity. Each one on the album is able to assert itself in a different way and even though all except for Titan are long compositions (with three of the six over eleven minutes) they never feel like they should have been cut down to something more manageable. The title track for instance has those lengthy soft passages of music that are some of the most out and out spacey stuff on the album. Titan is shorter and to the point, yet just as jam-packed with goodness and Saturn 12.C is instrumental (except for voice-overs) and heavily atmospheric. I've little doubt in my mind in fact that RLC should be considered the standard setting album for doom metal in 2017. This will, at least, be the one I'll be looking at others to beat in any future doom metal reviews I do this year.
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Unitron wrote:
2 months ago
Good review, sounds interesting. I'll have to check it out.

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