Saurian Apocalypse

rating icon 8 / 10

Track listing:

01. The Sun Has Set on the Age of Man
02. The Disembodied Yet Slither Among Us
03. The Evil Inherent in us All
04. Skull Fuck Ritual (Skull Breach Edition)
05. Nada Zaag
06. An Altered Saurian Theta State
07. Nihil Amplexus
08. Divergence: The Long Awaited Third Primordial Ascension
09. Mask of Immutable Self Delusion
10. No Creature More Deserving of Cataclysmic Annihilation

It's been over a decade since Karl Sanders has released a solo album, and "Saurian Apocalypse" is the legendary guitarist's long-awaited follow-up to his last solo record, 2009's "Saurian Exorcisms". In short, the wait has most certainly been worth it. "Saurian Apocalypse" is an incredibly deep, textured release for open-minded death metal fans and far beyond.

The notorious guitarist began his solo project in 2004, releasing "Saurian Meditation" that year, expressing himself in a way that was a complete departure from death metal's bombastic nature. Each following solo effort has continued to forward his passion for Egyptian themed music and art. His solo workings are ambient, surreal and in many ways based in a folk music format. While "Saurian Apocalypse" is significantly quieter and calmer compared to the music for which he's most known, it is certainly not sedate.

The 10-track album contains music that's seductive and fit for introspection, but a song like "The Evil Inherent in us All" is fiery and vitriolic in its own way, in spite of the lack of crunchy guitars and amplification. This song is one of the most accessible, perhaps, for many metal fans, and it carries undertones that would surely appeal to most fans of groove metal. "Saurian Apocalypse" isn't just a collection of interlude-like tracks, as some have unfairly and inaccurately pigeon-holed his past solo efforts. There is much going on throughout.

"Divergence: The Long Awaited Third Primordial Ascension" is a mysterious song that fits the cinematic aspect of Karl's solo works. It's a track one would want to hear in an Egyptian-themed movie. It's also the only song that includes overt heavy metal-guitar soloing, but there are subdued traces of blues guitar influence that are nestled in here. The track builds upon a driving groove that would surely appeal to fans of KYUSS and "The Desert Sessions". Sure, that's a vastly different kind of desert themed heavy music, but the hypnotic and transcendental qualities are consistent in approach and in the immediate way that it sounds. This is also evident on opener "The Sun Has Set on the Age of Man", a track that features original NILE drummer Pete Hammoura on percussion.

There are no hit songs or radio-friendly cuts on "Saurian Apocalypse", but one should be looking elsewhere if that's the expectation. Karl Sanders's solo efforts are fit for a long drive, extended solitude, or perhaps a psychedelic trip of sorts. Good things shouldn't be rushed, and "Saurian Apocalypse" has been worth the wait, as it showcases the brilliant musician who has grown and improved since his last solo release.

Author: Jay H. Gorania
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