Coming soon to a record store near you (do they still exist?) is the sophomore album by Swedish rockers Saturn. Entitled Beyond Spectra the release is available via Rise Above Records from March 31, 2017.
Saturn are billed as heavy metal space rockers but to my ear there’s not much metal to be had.
That is no bad thing as the album is as solid as rock and generally harks back to the early 1970’s, invoking memories of MC5 but without the edge and better produced.
What we can hang our hats on, though, is the phrase ‘space rock’, that hits the nail squarely on the head. Whilst the music is influenced by times gone by, the lyrical content is very much modern.
Vocalist Oscar Pehrson explains, “The lyrical content on the album tries to explore and compare events in the world today from a historical point of view.
“Both from our personal perspective but also on a more global scale. The album title is a wordplay on trying to see the world in as many ways as possible and to be able to understand what is going on and where we are going.It is a serious topic but we’re trying to add some humor and fiction to it as well. Music and comedy have the ability to be fun and still deliver a serious message.”
The line-up is completed by Robin Tidebrink and Linkan Lindgren on guitars and Ted Carlsen on drums.
Beyond Spectra kicks off in such a fashion as to leave you in no doubt as to what they’re all about. “Orbital Command” possesses a kicking riff which gets straight into your head and Pehrson’s vocals hit you like a sledgehammer. The extended solo is the first of many top-notch interludes throughout the album.
The 70’s vibe continues with “Wolfsson”, which verges on doom-rock but doesn’t quite go all the way, fortunately. These boys know a riff when they see one and this song is laced with them.
“Nighttime Badger” opens with a tip of the hat towards early Sabbath which we all know is no bad thing but doesn’t really catch fire and trudges along a bit.
Saturn then go for a 30-second interlude in the form of “Linkan’s Delight”, which I take is a bit of an indulgence for guitarist Linkan Lindgren.
Back to familiar territory now and “Electrosaurus Sex” which has atmosphere and feeling in bucket loads, a foot tapping winner.
The pace is picked up with the homage to youth, “Still Young”. The fastest paced song on the album comes complete with more catchy riffs and enthusiastic vocals.
Beyond Spectra continues with the longest cut on the album, “Force of the North” which felt to me, especially in the vocals department, as being influenced by Jethro Tull. On this occasion, however, a flute would be distinctly out of place. It starts off powerfully before toning down midway with atmospheric guitar work then building up to a dramatic climax. I’m in the palm of their hands.
“Helmet Man” has a chugging riff maintaining the pace for this one and a great lengthy solo is the highlight of the song.
I haven’t a clue what “Silfvertape” means but the track is excellent. Intricate riffing is constantly present behind the vocals and then build to a cracking solo. It’s my second favorite song on the album, after “Orbital Command”.
Saturn finish Beyond Spectra on a high note with the powerful “Sensor Data”. If they want to be considered metal then this is the nearest they get. Multiple solos abound, great pace drives it and committed vocals give me a full house.
I highly recommend this album for those who like a bit of nostalgia but for all of us who appreciate well executed classic rock.
If you want to escape the worries of the world I suggest you lie down, headphones on and let yourself get lost in this album, it has all the qualities required to help you attain peace within. Mesmeric riffs, silky yet strong vocals, cool beats and well-crafted solos abound on this record.