Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Fell Voices: Regnum Saturni (2013)


You will of course understand that I approached Fell Voices with some trepidation, when I learned they were a “drone/ambient” black metal band. But I also approached with an open mind. I’ve attempted to make some kind of sense out of drone music a handful of times over the past few years, with limited success, but I may have figured this out.

Maybe I didn’t figure anything out. As I mentioned recently, I’ve been freed from headphones, and volume constraints. And I’ve been advised that drone music should be heard loud. That’s how I listened to Regnum Saturni.

A lot of black metal depends on repetition and inducing a trance-like state, but this takes that to the logical conclusion. Each song begins and ends with ambient noises, between which they play essentially one riff, with little deviation. I know my description doesn’t sell it to the doubtful, but fuck if it isn’t superb. The record is just over an hour long, divided into three tracks of 17 to 22 minutes apiece, and yet I have listened to it a half-dozen times now without getting bored for one moment.

What makes this could be the energy and care that went into it. The music is fast-paced, and was recorded live as a full band in what must have been some seriously cramp-inducing sessions. Plus, the recording and equipment sound analog to my ears—well, they must be if Gilead Media is putting it on 180g vinyl. So, what you get is an extremely powerful, hazy, tense ebb and flow, and you can really get lost in it. There are vocals, indistinct screams actually, and one mostly unintelligible voice sample at the beginning of the record, which serve to give it an even more human feel without detracting from that undifferentiated swirling vortex sensation.

No matter how much you doubt, you need to give this a shot. Just listen to “Emergence,” loud, and close your eyes.

The Verdict: 4 out of 5 stars

1 comment:

  1. Gonna check this out. I already dig Ash Borer(have never heard Fell Voices,though I know they did a split together). Thanks.