Saturnalia Temple - Gravity LP (Black vinyl)


Saturnalia Temple have been a favourite of mine for some time now. Their psych-drenched doom metal is as uncompromising as it is trippy and this may well be their best album so far. Recorded completely on analogue equipment, Gravity is a throwback to the heady days of late '60s and early '70s psych rock.

First track proper, after a short intro, is the eponymous Saturnalia Temple which, if you didn't know better, you would swear was a psych-doom song from about 1968. I get a kind of doom Velvet Underground vibe from this track. Next is the nine minutes of organ-soaked, fuzzy doom, Gravity, with it's cracked and croaking vocals, which suggests that man is pulled down by his failings like a huge mass exerting it's pull on his soul and, despite the warmness of the guitar sound, it feels like an ominous and threatening track. The repetitive, ascerbic Elyzian Fields with it's black metal-style vocals is a kinetic ending to side one.

Between Two Worlds begins side two and, after a chaotic intro, kicks into gear and hurtles along like a lost Hawkwind track from their Space Ritual days with echoing vocals Bob Calvert would be proud of. The distorted hyper-fuzzy oscillations and cavernous, disembodied clean vocals of Bitter Taste are a little disorientating, particularly on headphones and could well be some kind of sonic experiment on the human brain! Oannes also features the same vocal style and a similarly repetitively hypnotic guitar sound as Bitter Taste, albeit with a warmer, more bassy tone and Alpha Drakonis is basically an ambient outro to end the album as it started.

Once more Saturnalia Temple prove they are one of a kind and are not content to plough the same doom metal furrow as the majority of their contemporaries. Gravity has a cataclysmically reverberating bottom end and properly disconcerting vocals to give the listener the impression of having heard something genuinely either profound or blasphemous. More successfully evokes the imagery and atmosphere of HP Lovecraft than any number of albums that deliberately set out to do so. Original, unsettling and ultimately, an extremely satisfying doom metal record.