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Zoroaster seeks cosmic groove on Voice of Saturn 

Raw power, groove and dirge guide Zoroaster into the farthest reaches of the cosmos with its third offering, Voice of Saturn. The album traverses a vast terrain of noise, rhythms and distortion that peers into the dark matter of the universe for inspiration rather than the depths of hell.

After a long, rising drone collapses into a maelstrom of drums, riffage and ghoulish yowls, Zoroaster hits its stride early on with "Seeing the Dark." The song embodies the slow-motion head bang of the group's live shows. Before reaching the three-minute mark, an angelic piano leads the song toward its end, elevating the music beyond the confines of sludge, doom or any other bleak buzz words.

Experimentation echoes deep within Voice of Saturn, churning up an ominously pleasing plod. "Undying" gives a slow growl before "White Dwarf" takes over. Mastodon guitarist/vocalist Brent Hinds makes a guest appearance on the song, leaving his fingerprints all over its rhythms and frenetic changes.

The title track features a bleeding breakdown of noise that balances bottom-end reverb with high-end squalls before "Lamen of the Master Therion" resumes the slow, undulating pace. The uplifting piano plunks return with a recurring musical phrase. Technically, it constitutes the hook of a concept album; but what, if anything, is being conveyed remains murky.

A convenient four minutes and 20 seconds of silence separate a hidden, unnamed track of tribal drumming. Perhaps it's a primitive homage to the astral, free jazz of Sun Ra and his nebulous antenna pointed toward Saturn. Likewise, Voice of Saturn oozes with the tumult, heat and crushing weight of the ringed, celestial giant and it is an awesome exhibition to behold.

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09/11/2014

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