The mystical trio -from Trondheim (Norway) - HIGH PRIEST OF SATURN had been one of 2011 greatest newcomers in the Doom sphere, their demo was containing 2 long songs of infectious psyche-Doom with bewitching female vocals... After a rather long wait of two years this album was logically pretty much expected as an essential record of the year and it is Svart rds who succeeded to catch them in their evergrowing roaster of great bands !
Manifestly the recording conditions have been more than decent and this 4 songs affair gets the perfect sound treatment it deserves. The sound is here far more organic and psyched-out whereas the demo's was somewhat too loud and fuzzy, kindof limiting them in the overused sludge/doom category inspired by some british wizards ! In that sense this reminds a bit of similarities in the evolution with HUATA (check out their new stuff!) which will also play at HDDT next month in Copenhagen like our present trio, maybe the same taste for some Coven stuff has its effect on that...
While there's still basically a lot of bleakness and hypnotism in the band's style, the music gained in consistency and serenity, like floating in a great dash of (ominous) psychedelism. This brings to a new level 'Protean Towers' and 'Crawling King Snake' compared to their demo-version, while both new songs confirm the development in the song structures and complexity of the arrangements, especially the epic last song 'On Mayda Insula'.
The balance between all instruments is now perfectly mastered, starting with the more affirmed presence of Lord-esque organ which is giving an ominous deepness along with the psyched-out vibes, as well as stellar solos from Martin Sivertsen and certainly Andreas Hagen who holds the drums but is also credited for some guitar duties.
The band is just a trio (well a 4th guy plays on organ as well) but they fill so wholly your ears with creativity that you need several listenings to enjoy it fully, it is a grower on you and can suddenly reveal some tribal or hammering and haunting drums, a ghostly whisper or a bluesy tinged solo that you didn't notice previously, being captivated by ethereal organ parts or heavy guitars...
And what about vocals ? Merrethe Heggset performance is a perfect accompaniement to those floating moods, not too lamenting or mesmerizing, her vocals are slightly spaced-out like an ultimate mix between Sharie Neyland (The Wounded Kings) and Jex Thoth... Like a master of ceremony, she nicely magnifies the lowering atmospheres, sometimes ventures in light gaps too, not to forget that the slow pace of the band is often enhanced by her on bass, she indeed also hammers, drones and hits hard with her instrument !
This album is an absolute must-have, a real highlight of 2013 from a band that makes here a striking impression, I'm very very impatient to seem them at the HDDT Fest :)