Well, another band feverishly contributing to the bustling Polish scene and charged with much enthusiasm and riff powerage is Warsaw-based Satellite Beaver. Satellite Beaver started in 2008. In the two early, raw but promising demos in 2008 and 2009 the band expressed a lively rock style mostly indebted to classic grunge and stoner rock reference bands. But the quest for a personal sound as well as the pleasure in making heavy noise have been pushing these dudes to strain their strings to produce impressively powerful riffs and hit skins and brasses stronger for booming and crushing drumming assaults.
In spite of the somehow sinister fate suggested by the title, this EP is not going to be an “adieu” by the band but it is intended as a gate towards a new stream of fuzzy heaviness by these guys. Satellite Beaver are actually busy organising their touring activity for the heart of summer and are working on brand new material for a début album due out soon. But, as the release notes of the new EP say in a somehow mysterious way, before this happens, “some chapters have to be closed” … And a line-up to be renewed! The current line-up includes Szymon the Beaver on vocals and guitars, Tom the Beaver –on guitars and Mad the Beaver on drums. The band is currently searching someone to join on the bass. Hence the Last Bow EP is intended as an open gate across a boundary, as a way for the band to pay hommage to the original sources of inspiration (stoner, grunge, etc.) as well as to hint where these dudes are heading to, i.e. towards heavier and more gloomy territories. All of this is developed in a quite essential and smart way in less than 18 minutes via the four songs included in the EP and composed between 2010 and 2011. Increasing the heaviness and charge of riffs and percussions is a rather normal push in stoner/doom/sludge bands. Satellite Beaver have a peculiar feature added to their riff-drumming attacks: the vocal parts by guitarist Szymon. Ah, these are impressive and, well, a bit unusual for the scene, as Szimon’s voice sounds halfway between Marilyn Manson and Alice in Chains’ Layne Staley. With such particular distorted vocal style Szymon is able to evoke either a slightly morbid and evil feeling or else a subtle sense of melancholy, or both at the same time. Both atmospheres and feelings fit well with this EP because of the variety in styles explored in this short but highly boosted release.
With the last track, ballad Roadtrip, we definitely cross the ideal gate and enter into the presently favorite heavy domain the band’s guys are willing to devote efforts in a near future. So satellite Beaver seem to be bound towards an overly charming hybrid that builds up from the of spacey desert rock background and branch towards territories of noise, doom and lysergic psychedelia. Roadtrip’s style may recall what the band did in Urania for the leading Sabbathian hypnotic doom riffage. But the complexity and the variety of new components merged in Roadtrip make this ballad different from anything else and definitely stand out. Distorted downtuned guitars backed by the almost continuous vibration of the cymbals build up a numbingly rhythmic, epic, dark but catchy, leading doom ballad where periodical interruptions by either hideous screeching noise or somber psych/desert rock-like guitar notes help the band to prepare the listener to the evolution of the sound in the second part of the ballad, i.e., an impressive, rumbling crescendo of downtuned doom heaviness, drony noise and pure swamp sludgy groove that ends far too early. A fundamental contribution to the overall style in this impressive track is given by the multi-tracked, polyedric and braided vocal styles fluently ranging from a drony background solemn invocation (or is it simply noise?), to, again, languid and morbid grungy chants, and to raw bellowing choruses lead by Szymon’s amazing voice. Above I called Roadtrip “complex”, although actually this song, like the rest of Satellite Beaver’s tracks, is actually made up by quite simple and almost “primordial” riff and drumming patterns. But the key of the extreme charm in this track might be the combination of the “simple” ingredients, like in a blend of different raw foods where the different basic savours are mutually exalted instead of being concealed.
Mixtures and contaminations of styles often provide intriguing results. Satellite Beaver guys showed they are eager to explore different territories of heavy music and define their own, very personal style. What announced with this Ep is quite promising in terms of what can be expected by this band for a near future. The addition of a good bass player to the present-day line-up will potentially add even more thickness and shades to an already outstanding powerful and solid sound. Surely Szymon’s singing is rather unique for the scene, I guess, and is so different from the Weedeater-styled snake-like hissing employed by several sludge-doom bands for conveying evil feelings. On the contrary Szimon’s grungy dirty singing tone is quite melodic but is always deeply pessimistic and dark, and makes a cool contrast especially when paired with groovy and fast riffs. I would encourage a further employment of that warm Clutch-like roaring, which sounds so boiling hot. According to what announced by the band, especially the last track of The Last Blow EP is to be taken as the new, extremely charming dark trend adopted or to be massively expected by future Satellite Beaver. I must confess I also enjoy the other side of the Beavers, when the band’s guys are nasty and fast and raaaawking and make your neck bang hard …
So, folks, Satellite Beaver from Poland - another highly promising heavy band to carefully keep under your/our radar!
Words: Marilena Moroni
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Satellite Beaver - Roadtrip