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Music Review: Dante – Saturnine

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Dante’s second album Saturnine arrives superbly packaged with excellent artwork and some high quality, darkly menacing photography. The cover also informs us that the word Saturnine is from the 15th century meaning anyone born under or influenced astrologically by the planet Saturn.

It goes on to say that this would apply to anyone who is cold and steady in mood, slow to act or change, or who is of a gloomy nature or surly disposition. This impressive album reflects that in part with a set that does indeed have a gloomy undercurrent and yet is anything but slow to change.

Dante was formed in Germany in 2006 by guitarist Markus Berger and keyboard player Markus Maichel who had met at a Dream Theatre concert. Their debut, The Inner Circle, followed attracting excellent reviews as the five piece band forged a solid fan base that began to spread across Europe.

If The Inner Circle successfully drew you into its darkly weaved labyrinth of ideas then Saturnine takes a fascinating and rewarding step into even more complex and shifting territory. As it moves through its cleverly complicated changes of direction it succeeds in delivering melodic moments that are guaranteed to haunt your musical mind.

This is one of the finest, and most imaginative albums I have heard from the progressive metal field in a while. With it, Dante prove themselves to be brave and convincing enough to take the album out into their own confident direction.

Huge orchestrations, haunting melodic sequences, and sudden massive riffs help leave the listener unable to second guess the next direction. As such it intrigues, compels, and ultimately fascinates.

Saturnine announces its arrival with the expertly crafted 12 minute opener “All My Life”. “Drifting” is rich with luscious keys. “Last” boldly tells us that whilst paying respectful homage to all their inspirations this band will be doing it their own way.

A highly impressive “Never Return”, the dark edged ballad “Maybe One Day” and the delicate “Model Acousma” deliver everything expected after such a strong opening.

The album ends with a quite magnificent 19 minute tour de force “Vanessa”. With this Dante underline just why they are now at the forefront of Europe’s ever fascinating prog-metal scene.

Saturnine is an extraordinary journey through slowly opening doors leading down dimly lit corridors to the very essence of Dante. Definately a band to look out for.

Have a look and a listen at the bands official website or MySpace page.
Available through Prog Rock Records.

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