It is true. I had my reservations about Rituals of Black Magic, Deathless Legacy‘s last full-length album. Somehow things did not quite fit. The record tried to be a live performance on stage. And the band is known for its pretty lavish productions on stage if nothing else. Yet, this was obviously impossible if soundbites are the only thing that you have to offer.
So, this time, the deathless ones just returned with an interesting concept EP called Saturnalia. One that plays much better to their strengths than its predecessor ever could. To do so, they chose the Roman winter solstice festivities as their theme, which again is a great fit. A story of a slave on his flight from his master, so I am told.
Now, you’ll still get this penchant towards Gothic and Symphonic Metal of course, complete with those Power Metal impurities. This is Deathless Legacy after all and some sort of dark occultism must prevail.
But this time they also included a very strong Progressive Metal undercurrent that would make Ayreon proud. Add to that a refreshingly energetic performance of their vocalist Steva and you have a pretty tasty offering.
Now, the band took two actions that really turned out in their favor.
First, they chose a musical suite as their vector. One that presents itself as one, giant track of some 24 minutes or so. Firmly connected to a rock-solid storyline, the EP offers a wide array of styles and flavors. From soft acoustics, over progressives to Death Metal, you get it all. And to increase power and quality, Saturnalia boasts a pretty hefty selection of guest musicians, too.
Second, Saturnalia‘s storyline is actually depicted in a mini-movie, on top of the aforementioned EP. One that perfectly syncs with their music and lyrics. I won’t hide my surprise to find such a brilliant concept that truly lets this band shine where they are strongest.
If anything, Saturnalia is yet again one giant step forward for this band. The RMR deck crew truly enjoyed this juicy increase of overall quality and the refreshing energetic drive on a production that we can hardly find fault with.
This is one piece that will make the ‘established’ Gothic and Symphonic Metal masters like Nightwish and their ilk look oldish and somewhat dusty by comparison. And those better take heed, there’s some stiff competition right behind them.
And here’s to the movie. Enjoy!