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Saturnian Mist: Chaos Magick

Incongruous effort from Finnish black metal occultists

Formed at the tail-end of the last decade, Finland’s Saturnian Mist have issued a steady stream of demos, EPs, splits and even a VHS (released in 2014, no less!) over the last few years.

Their promo sheet explains that the band have evolved “from a very traditional Finnish black metal sound toward death metal influences”, and compared to 2011’s Gnostikoi Ha-Shaitan, Chaos Magick is a surprising, even perplexing effort.

The bare bones production is partly the reason for this, resulting in an almost punk sound, with lead guitars pushed uncomfortably to the fore so that relatively simple – and sometimes catchy, to be fair – high-end melodies and the gruff vocals take centre stage. It seems odd to complain about production in black metal, but this doesn’t sound primitive so much as ill-conceived. Of course, strong compositions can withstand the worst audio treatment, but the tunes here are often repetitive and simplistic. Overall this feels like a step back.