Satyrian – Eternitas
20/04/2006 § Leave a comment
Satyrian, until a couple of months ago, had to be one of the biggest kept secrets in Gothic Metal. The band was actually founded back in 2002 but due to the fact that the other members had multiple projects on, we haven’t got to see a full album till 2006. In order for Satryrian to exist, Jan Yrland from Lacrimosa scraped together a few artists from a cereal of well-known bands and sculpted a Gothic-metal supergroup out of them. I was rather excited when I came across these people, it seemed like they’d been hiding in a bunker for the last few years and were only just ready to shower the music world with the fruits of their labour, so when the promo finally arrived I was ready to burst – unceremoniously messily – with the prospect of what goodness this album would hold.
And when you look at the members list it’s not difficult to see why – Kemi from the Dreamside; Judith from Danse Macabre; Roman Schönsee who has produced God knows how many albums for bands like The Cruxshdows, Funker Vogt and Asrai; and Jan Yrlund himself. With all that talent stewing together in the same pot the result should be an explosive surge of musical greatness, should it not? Well, in theory yes, but the overall result seems to be a bit of a Beto Vasquez Infinity effect – so much talent in one space that it almost seems to cancel itself out. The band members are all clearly very competent and experienced and the songs are well put together, but for some reason the result isn’t a lot more interesting than a celery and Ryvita sandwich.
The album starts off with the title track and the pianos and synths are immediately followed by the fast-timed drums and the guitars. It’s the kind of stuff that we’ve all heard a hundred times before, however, when Kemi’s vocals come in it’s clear that her voice is just not tailored to this kind of music: it’s too rich and soft and she seems a little out of place among the heavy guitars and the fast drumming. Her voice has colour and feeling, but it doesn’t have that much strength and in places it seems as if the music is running away and she’s struggling to keep up. Invictus, the next track, is better sounding with the Gregorian-esque chants in the background and there are some nice industrial synths in places but there is something desperately lacking – some style, some flair, some inventiveness – which I expected from this lot but which for some reason isn’t quite delivered and I was hoping the rest of the album wasn’t going to go the same way.
There are some better moments further on though – the best track on the album is probably The Dark Gift with its catchy simple synth intro and runaway chorus. However, I couldn’t help thinking that songs like this are the albums’ strength only because the rest of the stuff on offer is actually quite bland. I was also surprised to hear a number like The Bridge Of Death, which goes for the whole jolly jester feel with a male/female dialogue and lyrics like “standing on the bridge of death, who will dance with me,”/”there’s never a man of living breath who will dare to dance with thee” which are painfully cheesy, and when the bouncy ‘lalallaa’ chorus came in I’m surprised I didn’t grind my teeth into powder through wincing.
At the end of the album there are a couple of stronger numbers like Fall From Grace and the softer This Dream but overall there’s little to raise Eternitas above the level of mediocrity which weighs it down quite noticeably. All the songs bumble along at the same pace and there are no real climbs in the vocals or instrumental passages, it’s almost as if the music is afraid to do anything but hover around a central point and though I have listened to this time and time again, I’m hard-pressed to find much that stands out. What Satyrian really need to do is create some more diverse sounds since the talent is quite definitely here, but the songwriting seems to do little else but check all the Gothic Metal requirement boxes: chants, guitars and synths abound, but there’s nothing particularly interesting being done with them. As a debut from any other band this wouldn’t be bad at all, but we all know this lot are capable of pulling off better material than this and by their next album I certainly hope they can.