Thursday, April 04, 2013

High Priest of Saturn: High Priest of Saturn (2013)


Now, I'm not saying they're my favorite band or anything like that. What I'm saying is that, if you scoured the Internet for the one reviewer who's most likely to give a positive review to High Priest of Saturn, you wouldn't be wrong if you picked me.

The band's self-titled debut consists of 43 minutes in four tracks of slow-rolling, mellow stoner doom. Electric Wizard wouldn't kick them out of bed, if that gives you an idea. They use the organ perfectly, adding flavor without ever becoming the main event, and they have female vocals. So, yes, they are fully secure within my wheelhouse. This is the stuff I love.

Nothing about this music especially stands out. Everything fits perfectly into place, and there's nothing unexpected. It's a textbook example from Female-Fronted Stoner Doom with Organ 101. So I can't figure out why it's so compelling, but it is.

My best guess is that they have a perfect grasp of those amorphous concepts of "vibe" and "groove." They lock onto a particular feeling expertly, and don't let go. It's not a very dynamic record. "Kraken Mare" is slightly more ominous than the rest, and they do crescendo slightly on occasion, but mostly it's pretty much one tempo, one groove. You'll hear a run from one instrument or another, I suppose, but they really draw you in with the one main trick.

Or instead, maybe the key is Merethe Heggset, whose vocals fall somewhere between Sera Timms (Ides of Gemini/Black Math Horseman) and Jex Thoth. They could have been recorded in a large room without any carpets or curtains, the distant, echoing sound befitting that stoner vibe.

I can't figure it out. I can't explain it. I just love listening to it.

The Verdict: 4 out of 5 stars

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