Shortly after the release of their hugely successful Let There Be Nothing (2020) guitarist Alicia Cordisco left Judicator, citing instead a focus on long shelved Project: Roenwolfe. Said focus comes to fruition on the outfit’s second full length Edge of Saturn. The album consists of eight tracks clocking in at 46 minutes. Therein is showcased a highly detailed and intricate venture through the weighty and the lofty, the fleshy and the flashy and taking to the skies with narratives both adventurous and critical. Cordisco deals double damage, handling both guitars and bass, while three piece is completed by vocalist Patrick Parris and drummer Ernie Topran (ex- Halcyon Way). The Cordisco riffing factory is on full force as the album is laid with thick riffing from start to finish. Opener Song of Kali smashes things open in fury, while slow cookers like the title track and epic closer Aeternum Vale see more progressive tinges, carrying the full scope of their respective narratives.
Melody and crushing weight go hand in hand as the songwriting focuses as much on accessibility as on deep, intricate weaves of Cordisco’s snarling leads spreading like electric waves across a thick rhythm section. Fist pumping weight in opener Song of Kali or Of Mice and Straw Men contrasted by weaves of folk elements that permeate the phenomenal instrumental closing section of Aeternum Vale. And the solos. We need to talk about the solos. Cordisco holds nothing back as she unleashes venomous solos, searing on top of the already fire riffage. Promethium’s solo flashes by, a swift affair while Of Mice and Straw Men delves deep with a lengthy, melodic piece. Patrick Parris on his end possesses a soaring charisma, letting it come to full swing in such epics as the title track or closer Aeternum Vale. His voice, reminiscent sometimes of Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens (ex- Judas Priest) rips along the riffage and soars atop the melodic leads in the choruses. Layered vocals add to the depth and add fuel to the raging fire.
To the point and devoid of bull crap, Edge of Saturn is an impressive, diverse exploration of the spectra ranging around heavy power metal. Mastermind Manipulator and Something More closing in on the thrash with their mean ass riffage, whilst much of the material lies closer to the American school of power metal, bridging the worlds of accessibility of power metal, with the creative fury of thrash metal riffage. While there are some weaker tracks among the bunch (Starbound Butcher of My Dreams just doesn’t match the rest of the material), the album never relents and never lets up the thick atmosphere; instead reveling in it through the fast paced numbers all through the moodier, slower stuff with those towering drum lines by Topran, like the masterful title track. By no means a perfect album, Edge of Saturn still crushes hard in its greatest moments and proves a rifflicious foray into the realms of American power thrash metal.
Standout tracks: Edge of Saturn, Of Mice and Straw Men, Aeternum Vale