Tuesday 5 December 2023

SATURNA ~ THE RESET .... review


Many argue that "classic rock" has to come from a certain era of time or how can it be described as being "classic", others argue that "classic rock" has become a genre in its own right defined by possessing a certain dynamic and sound. Desert Psychlist has to admit to sitting somewhat on the fence in these discussions since we can see valid points to both arguments. however we do understand why these arguments rage on especially when there are bands like Spain's Saturna in existence. Saturna Rod Tirado (bass); James Vieco (vocals, guitars); Alexandre S├ínchez (guitars, backing vocals) and Enric Verdaguer (drums), would most certainly have fallen into the category of "classic rock" had they been survivors from the late 70's or early 80's, the fact that they are not survivors from those periods but could easily be mistaken as such is because whereas a lot of the present day underground orientated bands live and die on the strength of their riffs Saturna are all about the strength of their songs and the bands latest release "The Reset" (Spinda Records/ Discos Macarras) is chock-a block full of  'em.

Opening track "Your Whimsical Selfishness" comes straight out of the traps melodic and classy sounding like something plucked from an unreleased album by Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow or Uriah Heep, crunching guitar work over a driving rhythmic groove and boasting a vocal melody perfect for those who remember when harsh was a not a description for a vocal style, the song unexpectedly signing off with a gently picked acoustic guitar section. Next we get "The Never Ending Star" a song that mixes prog-like textures with vocal melodies reminiscent of those employed by  80's American rockers Ashbury on their cult album "Endless Skies" and is followed by "Smile" a song that finds Saturna baring their teeth and getting gnarly. "December's Dust" follows and twins acoustic guitars with sweet vocal harmonies to create a sound not too dissimilar to that which was coming out of California in the early to mid 70's while "Into The Sun" finds the band blending 70;s hard rock with elements of 80's melodic rock and jamming on a groove that is an an amalgamation of the two. "A Few Words To Say" is up next and is a strident rocker that has somewhat of a Deep Purple Mk III vibe going on especially in its vocal attack which sits somewhere between Glenn Hughes' soulful wail and David Coverdale's rock god howl. No classic/hard rock album would feel complete without the addition of a heavy torch song or a bluesy ballad and and Saturna deliver both with "The Sign", and "Made of Stone" the former edgy and intense, the latter gentle and flowing. Penultimate number "On Fire" would have, in another age, been a shoe-in for repeated plays on British or American rock radio while final song "A Way To Reset" is a nicely balanced mix of bluesy gentleness and hard rock crunchiness that is just sublime in every department. Those opting to for the digital version of this album get treated with four cover songs, we won't spoil the surprise by revealing what they are here but each are well executed and highly enjoyable versions of "classic" songs.

If it were not for its modern production values it would be easy to believe that Saturna's "The Reset" was collection of tunes recorded by some 70's hard/classic rock band that had only recently been discovered buried away on a dusty shelf in the basement of an old recording studio, and that is because "The Reset" is an album drenched in authenticity, its songs boast old school values of melody, swing and structure and have grooves that takes you back to a time when "classic rock" was known as just "rock". 
Check it out ....

© 2023 Frazer Jones

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