REVIEW: Fell Voices - Regnum Saturni

Genre: Atmospheric/Black Metal/Drone
Label: Vendetta
Date of Release: March 25, 2013


Ambient music is a tough type of genre to write and plot out. If done right, the music can be soothing but still unsettling in its dark fabric. On the other hand, there is a chance that the tracks can end up sounding boring and completely uneventful, even by its nature's  standards. California trio Fell Voices is a group that sort of falls just on the border between the two worlds. Established in 2008 from Santa Cruz, they released a few records over the years, their newest installment being their third full-length album called "Regnum Saturni." It's an atmospheric release that has its fair share of pros and cons in its ambient wake.

"Regnum Saturni" is an album constructed of a blend of atmospheric metal, black metal, and drone. The end result is three very ambient tracks that are generally carried out decently. They have a sort of otherworldly tone to their sound, with the echoing but surprisingly fast-paced instrumentation. The aggressive vocal roars are partly faded out, hence the band's name Fell Voices, and it does create more atmosphere for the music. The music is composed rather nicely also, with well laid-out shady passages and sounds roaming throughout the stream. In fact, this album has such a thick rawness to it that old school black metal fans could easily be vacuumed into it. As far as darkly droning albums go, this record does have a good amount of enjoyability to it, simply for its investing atmosphere.

Sadly, this album isn't without its problem. The starting track, "Flesh from Bone," is a tad boring. Even though it is the shortest song out of the tracklist (It goes for seventeen minutes, while the other two are over twenty minutes long), it feels as though it drags on for a borderline eternity. This is because the track has a serious lack of depth and dynamic that keeps it engaging. Even the others occasionally tend to fall into this trap, because even as very atmospheric songs, they don't warrant much attention because of how they sometimes have no progression. This issue, while it certainly doesn't destroy the album, it is quite significant and distracting.

All in all, "Regnum Saturni" is a rather solid ambient black metal album. The mix between the atmospheric metal and drone, although unfortunately miles from perfection, is quite intriguing, and the formula does lend itself to having some likability. Fans of raw black and atmospheric metal may take pleasure in listening to this album, though it isn't essential. The shortcoming from earlier, however, is sadly a glaring one. If the songs had a little more sense of dynamic and progression, it would have resulted in a stellar release. However, if the next album irons out these issues, then the metal community can expect something even more hypnotic.

Score: 6/10 (Fair)