Released: 2016, Svart Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
This album is best experienced either when completely stoned and/or playing a serious round of D&D.
SON OF EARTH AND SKY is the sophomore release from Norway’s High Priest of Saturn, and is the musical equivalent to the wizard airbrushed on the side of my uncle’s van. The band’s self-titled debut was a pretty standard exercise in stoner doom – droned out jams, fuzzy low tuned guitars, and ethereal female voices. But for this outing, the band has taken a Floydian-left turn and added a healthy dose of prog-rock psychedelics into the mix.
Organist Ole Kristian Malmedal is working overtime shifts across the album’s 40 minutes, as the Hammond keys drive much of the (albeit slow) momentum. Its interplay with the other instruments creates a nice dynamic, acting more as a second guitar than an tool of accentuation. And though the five songs on SON OF EARTH AND SKY are all pretty interchangeable, they’re all still pretty impressive. High Priest of Saturn run a tight musical ship, but the end result sounds remarkably loose and organic. Invoking images of celestial bodies and far off lands, the dreamlike tone of the songs come across almost like a heavier version of DARK SIDE OF THE MOON.
Definitely not a ‘kick out the jams’ type of doom album, SON OF EARTH AND SKY is better suited for an evening with good headphones, a good buzz, and quiet reflection. But for what it is, it’s a totally enjoyable listen.