Friday, December 30, 2011

BEST OF 2011: Part 10!

"Let's find a darker night. Let's find a brighter light. Let's go away to some place strange. And bring back a whole new change..." Blue Cheer

Aion of Drakon
(Ajna Offensive/Nuclear Winter)

Here is one for the ages. These posts haven't been in any particular order but Saturnalia Temple definitely created what has become my personal favorite and most listened to record of the year. I’ve absolutely adored everything this mysterious trio has committed to vinyl from UR and the Forgotten Cults 7” to their visionary contribution to the four-way split On The Powers of the Sphinx and with Aion of Drakon they have delivered something very special indeed. These are hypnotic and intoxicating (intoxicated!) chthonic transmissions from the darkest woods of Mother North...and far beyond! Steeped in genuine occult obsession and disciplined ritual, the Saturnalians have much in common both lyrically and spiritually with the anti-cosmic framework of Dissection, replacing much of their predecessor's gore and aggression with potent hashish and incense. It seems like every time I spin this record in public (which is often) some dude with a curly mustache and a Hawkwind t-shirt inevitably asks if it is Electric Wizard. I suppose I understand that shallow comparison in the same way all black people look alike but to my untrained ears Saturnalia Temple doesn't share much in common with “stoner rock” or even most self-proclaimed doom metal, although I do hear influences from the largely overlooked early Monster Magnet demo 25...Tab (if you're only familiar with Monster Magnet's embarrassing MTV antics, do yourself a favor and seek out the earlier Glitterhouse EP and recently re-issued 25...Tab for some surprisingly muscular New Jersey drug rock). For the most part they walk an entirely different path with only incidental creative crossover. Nowhere is this more evident than on the hypnotic 11 minute title track with its bizarre analog production and the crushing closer, Fall, a triumphant ode to the Luciferian Spirit that informs their most inspired moments. I look forward to watching this band evolve over the years, especially if they can lock in a permanent drummer, and those of you with the resources to travel should be sure to catch them at Roadburn in April along with Voivod (performing Dimension Hatross in its entirety!) among many others. In a twist of fate that certainly puts satisfying closure on the year, my art for Aion of Drakon was recently selected among the best of 2011 by metal scribe Todd DePalma over at Left Hand Path. I don't generally pay much attention to what journalists/critics/anonymous interwebbers have to say about my drawings but in this case I am honored to be featured among the ranks of a few similarly devoted contemporary artists. By the way, what a year for album art! I'd say visual art absolutely trumped music in 2011. Of course I'm completely biased since I can't even tune an instrument, much less compose an actual song. Check out DePalma's complete artistic recap here. Black Magic Metal to rule again!


GSV JR said...

Hey we generally don't pay attention to what artists do/make/say either... hardy har har!