Terror From Hell Records, 2015
This all-female power-sludge band from Italy don’t have a very high opinion of humans. Their debut album ‘Mors Vocat’ (Death Calls) focuses on humankind’s innately self-destructive nature and the shadow of imminent death that we all face with varying degrees of terror.
Bleak and yet bold, ‘Mors Vocat’ is an impressive volley of lumbering misery, featuring seven solid slabs of Italian doom metal. You know you’re in safe hands as you listen to the songs surge and progress through natural transitions and intuitive journeys, with barely a note out of place.
Saturnine’s gigantic guitars immediately create an atmosphere of apocalyptic devastation and fear, while an ever-present undercurrent of Celtic Frost-style groove (such as on ‘Empire Of Guilt’) adds another level of dark energy to the music. Beneath it all, the lively and intriguing bass-playing adds yet more interest and depth to the songs.
The riffs sound like the planet being torn apart, and the sinister growled vocals erupt like the burning magma spewing from the Earth’s shattered crust. Those rasping vocals are genuinely scary, although a touch more variety in the delivery might help to convey a broader spectrum of emotion.
‘Crimson Sand’ is one of the tracks that doesn’t really ever get started, while one or two other sections seem to get a little bogged down and lost. But, generally, the quality remains high throughout ‘Mors Vocat’. Saturnine’s compositions rarely rely on repetition or sheer heaviness – these songs are unrelenting, but in a way that draws upon intelligence and invention as well as muscle.