There’s much to enjoy on Saurian Apocalypse, even without a wider understanding of the trilogy of albums it belongs to. The story revolves around Dr. Eduardo Lucciani, a survivor of humanity’s downfall. His witness to the violent horrors of the Saurian Masters leads him to madness. Achieved through a myriad of middle eastern instruments and tonal influences, the record looks to enthral your imagination and close off the final chapter of the story.
As with previous work, KARL SANDERS has brought on board a host of talented individuals to amass the scope of his vision. The Evil Inherent In Us All feels especially collaborative. The vocals are beautiful and as captivating as the overall composition, all of which takes you on an especially cinematic journey. Likewise, the tension of Skull Fuck Ritual is genuinely enigmatic; hushed vocals chill your spine, drums carry the whole track forward and the riff spikes out, melodically penetrating the hypnotic vibe – it’s all really well done. The intricate and compelling, cinematic feel of The Disembodied Yet Slither Among Us filters between more western style acoustic guitar, blending a southern rock/blues feel and fluttering jazz lines with the melancholy of Middle Eastern minor scales and drones.
There’s a through-note within Saurian Apocalypse, but each track carries a specific purpose that makes the greater whole a more powerful thing. Nada Zaag has been described as a desolating trek, and that’s definitely a succinct way to put it. Dramatic, passionate and grandiose, it takes its time to swagger into full force, slowly lavishing in the instrumentation of strings and percussion.
As the record steers stoically towards its end, there are moments that might not captivate as much as others. Nihil Emplexus is perhaps the most melodramatic of the tracks, really tapping into a sense of dread and existential fear. It rises and falls into deep pits of sombre instrumentation and shifts to decadent movements that span from dark guitar lines to profound chants. It might be a little too long for some listeners as there’s never a real crescendo that pulls it all somewhere bigger. That’s obviously a wider part of enjoying the album as a whole, and if you journey onwards as Sanders has intended, your reward lies ahead.
Divergence: The Long Awaited Third Primordial opens with strings that lean somewhere between the sounds of sitar and some sort of reed instrument. It’s very unusual, with embellishments that feel like a harp, guitar or piano all dipping in and out. This is the monster the album is finally realising itself to be here, experimenting with screaming electric guitars over the overwise natural feeling instrumentation. It’s an odd mix, and the electric guitar may feel jarring, as if its introduction comes out of nowhere. However, the drama it adds and the juxtaposition is exactly what the album is looking to create.
The short solace of Mask Of Immutable Self Delusion has a beautiful tranquillity to it. As the name implies, the ignorance and self-delusion of an individual can feel blissful, and the theme transmits that in every sense. In contrast, the final outing of the record No Creature More Deserving Of Cataclysmic Annihilation begins its eerie finale with rich reed playing and the lush-as-ever percussion. Swathing melodies trickle in and out, humming vocal drones recede and re-emerge. The guitars of Matthew Kay are an impressive high point of this record, no question. Tension is layered throughout the track, and in its nearly 11-minute run time you are utterly immersed in the narrative and the cinematic energy of the track.
It’s best to think of this record less as a traditional set of songs and more as a score to a cinematic tale that you must imagine yourself through the vast expanse of Saurian Apocalypse. Brilliantly composed, crafted with care and attention to every detail, this is KARL SANDERS‘ most accomplished solo work to date.
Saurian Apocalypse is set for release on July 22nd via Napalm Records.
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