Satariel - Hydra
Regain Records
Melodic Blackened Death
12 songs (48'21")
Release year: 2005
www.satariel.com, Regain Records
Reviewed by Alex

Not many can boast about the fact that they own Sweden’s Satariel old recordings going all the way back to Lady Lust Lilith on Singapore’s (!) Pulverized Records. I can, as the tag of “one of the best of the unsigned” always provided the intrigue. Yet, every time the promise remained unfulfilled, those albums still in my collection, but receiving very little play time. Both Lady Lust Lilith and Deimos and Phobos have sparkling moments and good songs, but overall both albums never jelled in my mind.

Keeping with the passion, the band did not give up after a series of labels mishaps and have signed with Regain Records, the label that has given many in Sweden a new lease on life, for the release of their 2005 album Hydra.

I honestly wanted to herald this album, hoping that many years of hard work have finally paid off. In spite of that, and numerous Hydra spins in various track order, the feeling remained unchanged, Satariel still did not upgrade to my personal list of must-own bands.

For every captivating instant on Hydra there was another one which made me cringe. Wonderful torturous multi-lead melody of the opener The Freedom Fall (which reminded me so much of my beloved defunct Lothlorien, sans clean vocals, female backed choruses and other atmospherics) is followed by a flat Be You Angel, Be You Beast tiring the listener with its repetitious clean parts. Claw the Clouds is a very enjoyable melodic track in overtly Gothenburg style with the cool main riff and almost power metal chorus. Vengeance is Hers and The Springrise are also quite decent melodic death/black songs, where catchy riffs are supported with keyboard atmospherics. Vengeance is Hers, a song about the due punishment for rapists, with very strong lyrics, has a potent drama in the chorus with fast drumming and clean vocals.

Scattering the Timeweb is an album culmination with its dark airy riffs and very noticeable electronics. Things, unfortunately, go downhill from there. 300 Years Old is a chugga-chugga song with clean vocals sounding half Depeche Mode – half latest Tiamat, without the gothic delight of Johan Edlund. Nihil Juggernaut and No God Loves balance somewhere between the nothing-spectacular brand of melodic blackened death and modern radio metal, the clean crooning by Par Johansson ruining the songs entirely. If this was trying to be Projector, the effort fell way short. For Galaxies to Clash and the aforementioned pair of songs are capable of competing with Soundtrack to Your Escape and latest Soilwork escapades (minus the screams), but that is not saying much.

Par Johansson has an excellent command of his extreme vocals. They come in wide variety, from deeper growls to skin peeling rasps (Vengeance is Hers). His clean vocals better be left out, even the somber spoken words in Scattering the Timeweb sounding a lot less corny.

Satariel bandmembers are quality musicians and that is why they should ask for their money back from the Dug-Out producer Daniel Bergstrand. The production is definitely not powerful, bass drum is not to be heard at all, and far away from being lavish. And what is that hissing sound? If it is supposed to be hi-hat and cymbals it only detracts from the better tracks like Claw the Clouds.

At this point, I feel that I have flamed the album more than it deserves. After all, I can’t rip the band for trying to be different. If the album was full of Claw the Clouds and The Springrise we would all be dismissing Satariel as being another one of Gothenburg copycats. Avoiding that trap Satariel is still being pulled in way too many different directions, some of them leaving me completely not convinced. The obvious talent is yet to take shape but count on me getting the next Satariel album looking to see if the gold was finally struck.

Lastly, people at Global Domination will have you believe that if you don’t get Hydra you have shortchanged yourself on metal. I sense a huge conflict of interest coming from the zine reviewing the albums for the label whose many bands it is also hosting. The judgment, of course, should be all yours.

EDIT: Upon further clarification, it has been brought to my attention that Satariel and Global Domination, as well as Regain and Global Domination zine are completely unrelated. The Satariel review on Global Domination is merely an opinion of one particular writer. And as we all know, we are all entitled to have an opinion. It just happens to be the case that mine is different.
Killing Songs :
Scattering the Timeweb, Claw the Clouds, Vengeance is Hers
Alex quoted 57 / 100
Other albums by Satariel that we have reviewed:
Satariel - Phobos And Deimos reviewed by Danny and quoted 85 / 100
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