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High Priest of Saturn - Sons of Earth and Sky

High Priest of Saturn
Sons of Earth and Sky
by Danny Sanderson at 25 March 2016, 10:58 PM

Musically, Norway is more famous for its shrill and abrasive Black Metal than it is for anything else. But to judge Norway purely off of this one form of musical output is limiting. There's plenty of great Rock and Metal acts from across the country who don't dip their toe into the more extreme end of the spectrum, and indeed can create great, compelling music without having to play one dissonant chord or sing with a shrill, acidic rasp. Take HIGH PRIEST OF SATURN for example; their music is every bit as warm, welcoming and mellow as Rock music can come, and it sounds just as amazing and engrossing as anything EMPEROR or TAAKE have put out. For evidence, you need look no further than their flawless, peer-less and beautifully alluring sophomore record, "Son of Earth and Sky".

The opening offering on this record, "Aeolian Dunes" is a really mellow, powerful piece of Retro Rock. It's got a thick, sludgy bass line that sounds amazing, some awesome, psychedelic keyboard sections and the song quickly settles into its own groove, bringing the listener along for the ride. The vocals are brilliantly atmospheric and airy, and it's hard not to get mesmerised by them, or the music as a whole for that matter. With many lengthier tracks like this one, it's hard to maintain the audiences attention throughout, but the music on all fronts here is just so hypnotic that you really don't notice how long it is, something that's surely a mark of a great song. This is a great song to begin with, and it definitely sets the bar high for the rest of the records. "Ages Move the Earth" takes the ethereal, trance-inducing tones of its predecessor and continues in much the same vein. With a sweet, catchy guitar hook to open on, a gigantic, pulsing bass line and haunting keyboard arrangements, this is a potent piece of inspired mellowness. It's so easy to get transfixed by the vocals and get carried away with its natural. subdued swagger. The slick guitar solo that slides into life in the songs final minutes sounds incredible and inspired. This is some of the finest Doom Rock you will hear, not only on this whole record, but this year.

Then we come to the third, titular track on this record. "Sons of Earth and Sky" is a very measured, soothing tune, with well placed, pattering drums, angelic vocals and some more of those wonderful, airy atmospheric tones courtesy of the bass, guitars and keys. There's plenty of imaginative hooks provided by these latter three, and they complement each other expertly, interlacing and weaving in amongst each other so that they all manage to draw your attention at the exact point they are meant to. The whole song is a gem from start to finish, without a solitary moment of filler in the middle. The fourth, and penultimate, track on this album, "The Warming Moon", has a really solid, fuzzy bass line as its initial gambit, quickly giving way to some gnarly psychedelic aspects. The vocal passages on this one have an almost sing along quality to them, and again there is nothing that can be picked up, either in the musicianship or the sound and production quality, that can be pulled up for criticism. The second half of the song really picks up the pace, and the song charges forward almost at a gallop to its closing motifs, setting the tone perfectly for the final track on the record, "The Flood of Water"; this has a perfectly relaxed, sublime texture to it at first, but quickly becomes as monolithic and grandiose as it can be without straying out of its warm, impenetrable tone. This is far closer to a hymn than a Rock anthem musically, and the only way that I can find fault in it is that it is far too short. It's an amazing end to an absolutely stellar, flawless record.

By the end of the first track, it's clear that you're listening to something amazing here. This is honestly one of those records that you could just put on and listen to from start to finish, without getting tired of it or longing for a change of musical pace. This is definitely one of the best records that I have heard this year, and it could very well stand as an early contender for album of the year.  If you are looking for something harsh and aggressive, you'll have to look somewhere else; but if you want well thought out, transcendental music that draws you into an  unbreakable trance from its opening notes, this is certainly the album for you.

5 Star Rating

1. Aeolian Dunes
2. Ages Move the Earth
3. Sons of Earth and Sky
4. The Warming Moon
5. The Flood of Waters
Merethe Heggset- Bass and Vocals
Ole Kristian Malmedal- Keys and Lead Guitar on "The Warming Moon"
Martin Sivertsen- Guitars
Andreas Hagen- Drums
Record Label: Svart Records


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Edited 07 February 2023

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