Gutter Twins

Saturnalia

[4.5/5]

For the record, this album had an unfair advantage before the first listen-both Mark Lanegan (Screaming Trees) and Greg Dulli (the Afghan Whigs) have established a permanent imprint on alt-rock history. Luckily, the lofty expectations are met in full with Saturnalia. There are confusing combinations of influences at work, no doubt; but on tracks like “God’s Children,” the cosmos align and Dulli’s and Lanegan’s grizzled harmonies combine with stunning clarity. Odes like “Idle Hands” resemble Round And Round–era Ratt upon first spin, but somehow the genius of these two warriors bursts through with velvet-kissed melodies to save the day, making you want to both brood and binge in its wake. “The Body” is vintage Dulli, perhaps even a Twilight Singers throwaway, and “The Stations” only could have been penned by Lanegan-some relative inconsistency at work, but ultimately, the end result is plain amazing. (SUB POP) Ryan Prado