Drone metal is a sub-genre that has never really taken off but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth exploring. I remember being exposed to Monoliths & Dimensions by Sunn O))) which led me to find bands like Nadja and Black Boned Angels. I wouldn’t be surprised if Stephen Szep and Nicholas Del who are the members of Satin were influenced by the aforementioned bands when making their self-titled debut Satin. Although Satin isn’t strictly drone metal which is comprised of long sheets of pulsating white noise there are certain songs that explore the more avant-garde side of metal.
The band opens up with “Death March.” You are greeted with a sample which I’m not sure where it was from, marching band style snare drum and some sort of feedback. As the song progresses you will know why they called the song “Death March.” Ominous overtones and an impending sense of doom is created between the electric guitar and drum beat. It repeats like a mantra until it abruptly and unexpectedly breaks and fades away.
“Reflection” slowly burns with organ and drones from the guitar. The song has a significant change about halfway through where it gains more energy and veers towards sludge metal. They rock out till the song is over.
The centerpiece of the album is “Ancient Ashes” which is twelve-plus minutes long. The first section is exceptionally drone heavy and drips with melancholy and darkness. Not too far ahead the distortion dissipates and you are presented with clean guitar but not for long. The band starts climbing the ladder of the crescendo sending the listener into oblivion. Around the seven-minute mark the band is arguably at their best feeding a raw, pure metal vibe. The last installment of the song is a lingering aftermath of the crescendo, which comes in the way of feedback loops and a smoldering blanket of distortion. “Death in Transition” is as heavy as it sounds. The drone is strong in this one. They close strong with “Black Sheep.”
For those of you out there who appreciate metal I highly advise checking out this sub-genre that Satin is exploring. It boils down to some core components of the genre and is a heck of a lot better then the metal that's being touted on mainstream radio. Whether you are new to the genre or have been familiar with it for a long time Satin is a welcome addition to a genre that is going by largely unnoticed.
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