Saturnus - Martyre
Euphonious Records
Gothic Doom Death
12 songs (63'32")
Release year: 2000
Reviewed by Alex
Archive review

A quick story about myself and Saturnus. A few years back I came across a contest on some webzine or magazine. For answering a number of questions about metal right they were entering you into a sweepstakes with the top prize being Martyre CD. I knew nothing about Saturnus then, and I knew the answers to only half the questions. The others I would have to go and dig for. I felt lukewarm about whether it was worth it, and let the whole thing drop. The questions weren’t about Saturnus at all, but what stuck in my mind was the fact that this CD was offered as a top prize in a contest. Via a circuitous past I now have the album. So, should I be kicking myself for not going after it hard a few years ago?

When you think Gregorian male-female a capello intro 7 lasts a split second too long the band hits you over the head with the highlight song Inflame Thy Heart. This track is the epitome of best music found on Martyre. With Inflame Thy Heart Saturnus straddles a fine line between sorrowful doom death and gothic metal. The riffs are slow and heavy. The rest of the guitar sound has a watery edge to it, not too dissimilar from one made famous by Lake of Tears of Headstones-era. Keyboard atmospherics create a feeling of sweet melancholy. Long instrumental passages accentuate the gothic and dreamy nature of the song even more. As if taking a cue from this fine line of doom vs. goth vocals range from deathy grunts to passionate off-key throaty shouts. Vocalist Thomas AG Jensen invokes both Nick Holmes (Paradise Lost) and Yuhani Palomaki (Yearning). Later on in the album, a third vocal facet, cold withdrawn almost spoken gothic vocals, surface (Noir, Thou Art Free).

Some songs are heavier (Softly on the Path You Fade) with fitting fabric piercing guitar leads. Thou Art Free is an excellent mid-album break up, half acoustic and stunningly gothic. It is regretful though that not all songs are a caliber of Inflame Thy Heart. Another masterpiece appears towards the end in the form of Thus My Heart Weepeth for Thee, but for the most part slow chugging songs appear a bit repetitive.

From the song titles you can guess that the band tries to pull off the “old English” feel with their Shakespeare styled poetry. From a non-native English speaker to a non-native English speaker: good try and good job!

The band obviously is trying to be sorrowful and pensive. I, on the other hand, found Martyre melancholy to be seductive and sweet. This is a perfect soundtrack for a bright and shiny fall day with foliage in full colors. Yes, the chill is already in the air, but it is not gravely cold and totally hopeless winter yet. Heavy, but very clear production (courtesy of famous Dane Fleming Rasmussen, milestone Metallica albums and earlier Blind Guardian) reinforce the feeling. Instead of crushing you with heaviness Martyre seduces you into being reflective and sad.

Saturnus is not going to wow you with originality. This is heavily influenced by good Anathema albums, and some songs have Paradise Lost imprint written all over it (just check out chords and Nick Holmes style singing on Lost My Way). Still, being a huge fan of dark and melancholic metal I enjoyed Martyre quite a bit. I am sure it will appeal to like-minded individuals.

In the end, I am glad I didn’t break a lot of sweat for that CD contest, but I am certainly satisfied I have gotten a chance to listen to Martyre after all.

Killing Songs :
Inflame Thy Heart, Thou Art Free, Thus My Heart Weepeth for Thee
Alex quoted 81 / 100
Other albums by Saturnus that we have reviewed:
Saturnus - Saturn in Ascension reviewed by Milan and quoted 93 / 100
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