Music has the ability to heal, even when it’s vitriolic and furious, because it knows where to find your inner chaos, greet it, stamp it out, and give you a breath of fresh air. There’s something good about being able to get lost in chaos and overcome by swarming noise.
I constantly turn to the noisiest, most sprawling music possible when I feel like I need a mental and spiritual lift, and even if I’m angry or agitated, this route seems to work better than when I try to turn to, say, violent death metal. I want to let the tension release slowly so I can feel the pressure subside and regain my wits about me. It’s a reason why a band such as Fell Voices has meant a lot more to me. They’re than just a band that makes incredible music; their work also acts as catharsis and psychological therapy for me, and everything they’ve put out so far has spoken to me from this angle.
Now comes the band’s ambitious, challenging new album “Regnum Saturni,” a tumultuous, atmospherically driven new effort comprised of three epics that spill over a double LP. It runs a little over 66 minutes, and every second of this collection is gripping and artistically rewarding. The whole thing was recorded live, so you’re hearing exactly how the band envisions the songs to be born, live, and fade away and weren’t put together piecemeal like most records are. That adds extra spark and dynamic energy to “Regnum Saturni” and makes for one of Fell Voices’ most exciting releases to date. In fact, they just seem to be getting better and better, building peaks upon peaks, and now three full-length albums into their run, it’s time for them to be recognized as one of America’s most exciting and adventurous black metal bands by a greater group of people. If you still haven’t heard Fell Voices, what is holding you back? Now is the time.
The band is a trio and remain fairly mysterious as far as full names go (I don’t get why more people don’t opt for that since people on the Internet are fucking nuts), with Joseph on bass and vocals, Tucker on guitars, and drummer Mike (also of Ruin Lust, who we’ll be talking about soon) on drums and vocals. Their musical connection has grown more steady and cosmic as time has gone on, and as great as their untitled 2010 release was, this one is superior by far and is truly indicative of a band at its creative apex.
“Flesh From Bone” opens with a long drone section that sounds like what an alarm system might if you were under the influence of some thick syrup. Then the shimmery noise bursts open with a thunderous assault, shrieks that are buried underneath the tidal waves of noise, and a furious sequence of punishment takes over. Once the panic subsides a bit, synth murk emerges, and a gothy, eerie spirit arises and floats over. Doom-laced melodies take over from there, and that continues until drone rises again like a sleepy curse.
The drone continues into “Emergence,” where a swarm takes flight that’s packed Armageddon sirens, and the noise pulsates and quivers until the metallic explosions kick up again about three minutes into the track, eventually letting a groove set in that the band rides to fiery glory. Doom drama bubbles again to the surface, wild howls and shrieks rip into any serenity you might feel, and primal melodies drub and bash you against cement walls. The guitar lines repeat and nearly achieve a hypnotic state, and the buzzing again returns and whips the song into a lather as is rinses away and sets the stage for the closer.
“Dawn” continues (and ends) the story with the same drone line that holds the entire piece together, and the early minutes are warm like young sunbeams on your cheeks. But something seems amiss in the midst of this song, like that early morning calm is about to be ripped asunder by tragedy, and when the hammer does fall, a world-crushing melody swells up and boils over onto the song, with distant shrieks swirling into cascading guitars. Sorrow and pain seem to bleed from the seams of this piece, almost as if the composition isn’t big enough to handle all the emotional tumult, yet it perseveres and carries the band into the hellish vortex that drives the song to its final isolated screams and concluding noise glaze.
Fell Voices know how to channel their inner turmoil and energy, and clearly every time I need their records for some much-needed catharsis, they over-deliver. “Regnum Saturni” is another in a line of incredible documents that stretch the boundaries of black metal and what you know extreme music and thinking to be. They excel at cosmic atmosphere, violent underpinnings, and murky chasms, and they’ve never made music as gigantic and compelling as this. And chances are they’ll top themselves next time around.
For more on the band, go here: http://fellvoices.blogspot.com/
To buy the album, go here: http://www.gileadmedia.net/store/
For more on the label, go here: http://www.gileadmedia.com/