Two years after their debut full length, Italian sludge/doom band Sator has returned with their sophomore effort ‘Ordeal’. Sludge/doom is one of those genre tags that can mean a lot of different things, ranging from Black Sabbath worship to ugly, bleak riffing a la Grief. What caught my attention about Sator was that the five songs on ‘Ordeal’ seemed to bridge the gap between everything sludge and doom encompasses, as the group is able to seamlessly weave together room shaking heavy grooves with bleak tonality and a psychedelic flair. With the album’s September 1st release date fast approaching, today we’re excited to present you with a full stream so you can hear for yourself all of the different elements Sator is capable of channeling.
‘Ordeal’ starts off in a sludge oriented direction, with the six and a half minute Heartache delivering pounding drums that hit you right in the chest and bottom heavy grooves that remind me of bands like Eyehategod and Sourvein. But even this song transforms a little ways in, letting its heavier instrumentation give way to spacey melodies that have a psychedelic flair. Sator utilizes these types of transitions throughout ‘Ordeal’, moving seamlessly between ugly, abrasive riffs that retain that bluesy groove sludge is known for and soaring melodies that have a psychedelic and post metal feel to them. Sometimes the instrumentals even head into Black Sabbath and Electric Wizard style riffs as well, and the slow tempo of closing track Funeral Pyres even pulls in a slight hint of funeral doom. What’s impressive about this material is that it never feels like Sator is simply skimming the surface of all these different styles and pulling them together in a haphazard manner. Each song flows effortlessly from one idea to the next, and the shifts from grittier, bleak tonality over to hazier ones work extremely well. There’s a genuine feeling of unpredictability to this album, which is something that can be hard to come by when it comes to doom and sludge.
The instrumentals may move between extremes when it comes to the high and low ends, but the vocals keep things grounded at their most abrasive level. Bassist Valy handles all of the vocal work on ‘Ordeal’ and his pitch comes through as a raspy scream that reminds me quite a bit of Sourvein and some of the grittier sludge acts out there. It’s the type of screaming that pierces through your speakers like a rusty knife, and while this type of range can sometimes be repetitive in large doses that doesn’t happen here. One of the major reasons for this is that there’s a decent amount of instrumental sections, particularly when the band heads towards psychedelic and mellower territory. This allows Valy to refocus and deliver concentrated attacks on each song, which definitely works to Sator’s advantage.
‘Ordeal’ has a considerable amount of variation and substance to go with it. Whether you’re a fan of sludge’s gritty grooves or post metal’s atmospheric approach, you’ll find something to latch onto. Compared to their debut, Sator has branched out even more than before and it’s paid off quite a bit. ‘Ordeal’ releases September 1st via Argonauta Records.