Vera : Twenty (!) years ago the first album of the German band Saxorior was released and still we only have one previous review on our site and the regular headbanger will probably stare like a duck in a thunderstorm when mentioning the band name. This may be a hint that this is really über German, just like bands such as Odroerir, Menhir, Gernotshagen and so on who only have a proper circuit in the Heimat. That’s a pity, since we might miss some sure-fire albums that way. The only remaining original members after two decennia are Kai-Uwe Schneider and Matthias Eschrich (both vocals and guitars), but keyboardist Frank Nitzsche joined them already one year later. He plays an important role, since soaring keyboards are nearly constantly present in the background. It gives the music of our Saxony warriors a very epic touch.
It has been seven years since the previous album ‘Völkerschlacht’ came out, but the theme has always been clear: rave about Saxony. In the Netherlands people might possibly think about Heidevolk then, but this is just a bit different. I would even say that the music has a semblance of relax atmosphere. Just take ‘Hinreise’: twittering birds, slow plucking guitars, synth and a momentous spoken prelude. You could fly away on a silvery cloud. But in ‘Saksen’, right away a pagan stunner of nine minutes, tight and sturdy riffs prevail. The gruff black metal vocals are storytelling and sometimes there are choirs in the back. Only after seven minutes there is an acceleration. Yet Saxorior has a kind of catchiness that pleases us. That’s because the music is neither complex nor chock-full and that is a pro. In addition we hear in ‘Litus Saxonicum’ (with the inciting shouting of ‘Saksen’) and ‘Irminsul’ some fervent soloing. Highlight of this album is the nearly eleven minutes long ‘Blutbad Von Verden’. After few spins that really stays in the back of your head and the mid-paced epic flavour is relished with synths, spoken fragments (all German lyrics of course) and a wild guitar solo. This is surely not a pure black metal album, but their signature sound has its charms. The production is not compressed (in contrast with e.g. current Equilibrium) and that is positive. Although lyrics always deal with battle and glory, there is a kind of melodious and empyrean feel in the music. That might be a reason why fans of really extreme stuff can find this too ‘laidback’, but on the other side it means that the band puts more than just brutality in their compositions. In any case, these are brave warriors, being active during twenty long years. By the way… they hail from Saxony (Pirna, close to Dresden) and ‘Saksen’ is their seventh studio album.