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Fell Voices - "Regnum Saturni" (CD)

Fell Voices - "Regnum Saturni" CD cover image

"Regnum Saturni" track listing:

1. Flesh From Bone (17:48)
2. Emergence (21:57)
3. Dawn (22:07)

Reviewed by on June 18, 2013

"Fell Voices has their own method to black metal, and one’s enjoyment of 'Regnum Saturni' will depend on how much punishment a listener can take in a sitting."

Better get high-quality headphones if you want to get the most out of “Regnum Saturni,” the third album from black metal/drone/noise artist Fell Voices. Speakers alone can’t do the job for the album’s hypnotic ambience and pumped-up volumes of static mashing. Recorded live, the three tracks on “Regnum Saturni” take up at least 15 minutes each. That means those with short attention spans may have trouble concentrating on the album. Even those with a fondness for adventurous songwriting will have to focus greatly (and maybe take an aspirin).

Fell Voices could be put in the same category as bands like Ash Borer and Skagos, though they obtain a rawer style than those bands. This music is not polished to a tee, letting the tsunami-level waves of static and noise devour the listener. At first, the music is overwhelming, with all the instruments clashing and fueling the dissonant atmosphere. Having headphones on allows for the distinction of certain pieces of the music that otherwise may be lost on the first listen.

Speaking of first listen, no opinion should be given on “Regnum Saturni” based on that alone. It should be that way for any album, but this one in particular has to be appreciated over time. Still, that might not be enough to sway some listeners. This is an exhausting album, though the band does throw in the occasional tempo change. Experimentation is kept to drone effects and intro/outro noise that takes up minutes on their own.

Both “Flesh From Bone” and “Emergence” have these ambient moments, looping the songs back around each other. It’s also a break from the black metal, though their repetitious nature could grate on some people’s nerves. This is the first album from Fell Voices with actual song titles, though what their lyrical themes are could be anybody’s guess. The skin-crawling screams are so buried that it’s impossible to understand a word of it, though that might have been the band’s purpose all along.

Though the band is definitely black metal through and through, there are some droning passages in the way the riffs progress. This is not a technical masterpiece, as the members know how to play fast and do it without turning their instruments into dust. There is some breathing space (at least by Fell Voices’ standards) given to each song. A demanding build-up on “Dawn” benefits the almost 22 minute track, though its tiring pace is felt two-thirds of the way in.

“Regnum Saturni” is a difficult album to fall completely for, like that cute guy or girl with a screeching laugh. Patience is a requirement, as well as a strong pair of headphones. Breaks between tracks may be a good way to fully ingest the hour-plus running length. Fell Voices has their own method to black metal, and one’s enjoyment of “Regnum Saturni” will depend on how much punishment a listener can take in a sitting.

Highs: A whirlwind of black metal noise, ambient moments are a welcomed addition, never falters on the atmosphere side

Lows: Vocals buried in the mix, tough album to break into, needs a good pair of headphones to really get into

Bottom line: A challenging black metal record that rewards patience that very few will have.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)