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Karl Sanders is the guitarist from the excellent Ancient Egyptian-themed US metal band Nile, whose music is an enjoyable mix of epic, crushing death metal, ambient middle eastern folk passages and ominous martial drumming that is suggestive of lost cities and huge, half-forgotten desert battles.
Allegedly originating from an abundance of left-over material from the recording sessions with Nile, 'Saurian Meditation', the first release under Sanders' self-titled side project, is an atmospheric/ambient listen that consists of slow-paced and atmospheric Middle-Eastern/Egyptian, sitar-like acoustic music with ethnic drums, gongs, flutes, lethargic, bluesy guitars and drawn-out, soaring solos. Whilst largely instrumental, there are also soothing, chanted backing vocals and the occasional soft invocation which add extra atmosphere.
Whilst starting out quite light, the album gradually becomes slower and darker, eventually giving way to passages of cavernous, booming ambience, evoking in its various stages imagery of desert scenes, temples half buried by sand, and the claustrophobic, incense-heavy atmosphere of dark and ominous tombs. Its all very atmospheric and enjoyable stuff that's both well executed and imaginative, with numerous guest musicians contributing throughout. The album artwork is rather nice too, and the booklet contains extensive liner notes, in which Sanders discusses the historical and mythological significance of each of the ten compositions on offer.
The only feature that does not quite come off is a spoken word section during one of the album's darker, more onimous sections, in which an Ancient Egyptian deity proclaims his omnipotence. In theory its a great
idea, but Sanders employs a guest vocalist who both speaks in a thick American accent and also recites his lines far more quickly than would suit either their weighty nature or the slow and foreboding music that accompanies them, puncturing the atmosphere somewhat. This is a minor criticism though, and overall 'Saurian Meditation' does a great job of mixing blues, ethnic folk and ancient, menacing ambience to create an atmospheric and rewarding listening experience.
1. Awaiting the Vultures 03:52
2. Of the Sleep of Ishtar 09:35
3. Luring the Doom Serpent 04:00
4. Contemplations of the Endless Abyss 03:43
5. The Elder God Shrine 07:33
6. Temple of Lunar Ascension 03:51
7. Dreaming Through the Eyes of Serpents 06:16
8. Whence No Traveller Returns 05:36
9. The Forbidden Path Across the Chasm of Self-Realisation 05:53
10. Beckon the Sick Winds of Pestilence 06:04
Total playing time 56:30
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Awaiting The Vultures
2 Of The Sleep Of Ishtar
3 Luring The Doom Serpent
4 Contemplations Of The Endless Abyss
5 Elder God Shine
6 Temple Of Lunar Ascension
7 Dreaming Through The Eyes Of Serpents
8 Whence No Traveler Returns
9 Forbidden Path Across The Chasm Of Self Realization
10 Beckon The Sick Winds Of Pestilence