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Album Review: Parius - 'Saturnine'

1 December 2015 | 3:37 pm | Owen Morawitz
Originally Appeared In

A very solid début from a young and promising band.

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Strictly by definition, the word ‘saturnine’ means something ‘slow and gloomy’. The debut record from Philadelphia melodic death dealers Parius takes this word for its namesake, and after several listens, this reviewer thinks that perhaps these young men are being a tad bit cheeky and taking the piss. Because on ‘Saturnine’, there is nary a ‘slow’ moment or ‘gloomy’ shadow to be heard. Instead, you’ll find twelve tracks of enjoyable and easily digestible melodic death metal, that resounds with a curious mix of American & European flavours and carries itself without the slightest hint or need for pause.

In a somewhat strange act of sequencing, ‘Saturnine’ kicks off with two of the weakest tracks, ‘Doctor Device’ and ‘Galactic Termination’. These tracks certainly aren’t bad by any respect and they serve merely as adequate appetisers for the meal to come, providing introductory tastes of the melodic guitar leads, crisp bass tones, ripping double kicks and a vocal range that’s more than comfortable with dynamics and fast paces. But it’s around the six minute mark and the start of ‘Grave of the Fire God’ that shit gets very real, and the need for a (head)bang switches from a beleaguered interest to a basic instinct. Roaring across a blistering three and a half minutes like an unholy union between Lamb of God and The Black Dahlia Murder, this track completely fucking shreds, with demonic vocals and some of the group’s catchiest and harmonic riffs firmly on display.

From here ‘Saturnine’ is very adept at showing you the full breadth of influences and ideas that Parius have at their disposal, and like any true diamond in the rough: the imperfections only add to the shine. The weaker moments of this record, like the Garageband mid-section of ‘Fresh Graves, Old Tombs’ or the criminally short ‘Progression Through Violence’, never quite steal the gleam from the stronger ones. This record has more high-octane solos than you can throw a fretboard at, and moments like the rolling heaviness of ‘Mannequin Soldier’ or the tiny licks of thrash in ‘Lake Laogai’ manage to keep the attentive listener focused and eager to see where the band goes next. ‘Dark Horizons’ finishes off the record with a five minute progressive jam that recalls the glory days of Between The Buried And Me’s ‘Alaska’, easily making for one the standout tracks and hopefully hinting at a more exploratory future for this Philly metal outfit.

Staking your claim on the metal mantelpiece is no easy task, but Parius have managed to do so and announced themselves to the masses as worthy contenders for American metal fandom. Given that ‘Saturnine’ is the group’s début release, and made up from songs spanning their brief four year career, then these minor growing pains become nothing more than hurdles to be overcome. Their musicianship is very strong, with plenty of fresh ideas and hooks, and if a little more care is given to song structure and record sequencing, then this reviewer is convinced that their follow-up record is likely to be an absolute monster.

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1. Doctor Device

2. Galactic Termination

3. Grave Of The Firegod

4. Mannequin Soldier

5. Archaic Diabolical

6. Saturnine

7. Confined

8. Lake Laogai

9. Progression Through Violence

10. The Silence Of The Sirens

11. Fresh Graves, Old Tombs

12. Dark Horizons