Crawling on a tightrope,
Brave Saint Saturn is a rock band and side project of Five Iron Frenzy. Frontman Reese Roper started the band, very shortly after the creation of FIF, as an outlet for thematically dark songs that would not have fit well with FIF's usual output.
The members were:
- Reese Roper: vocals, guitar, keys
- Dennis Culp: vocals, guitar, keys
- Keith Hoerig: bass
- Andy Verdecchio: drums
Roper referred to the band's genre as "astro-rock", a meaningless label by his own admission. The first album was mostly acoustic rock with some electronic flourishes. The third album was synth-rock. The intervening album was an interesting transition between the two styles.
All three of their albums are also rock operas, comprising the Saturn 5 Trilogy: the story of a manned mission to Saturn that goes awry.
So Far From Home (2000) tells of the crew of the USS Gloria, on a mission to survey Saturn from orbit, and their struggle against loneliness in the vastness of space. The album ends with mission control losing contact with the ship.
The Light of Things Hoped For (2003) elaborates on the ending: Mission control had just given the go-ahead for the Gloria to begin the return trip, then the crew reported a loud noise, loss of control over the ship, and venting gas. The ship is pushed into a geosynchronous orbit over the moon Titan, leaving the crew in darkness and radio silence. After no contact for three years, the world concludes that the ship is lost... Everyone is surprised when the Gloria finally emerges from the dark, and the crew is still alive.
Anti-Meridian (2008) skips forward to the Gloria crew re-adjusting to civilian life following their return. The details of their return are related by flashback: They abandoned the Gloria, detonating its engine in order to propel the Escape Pod, the Starling, towards Earth. One man, Lt. Hoerig, remained behind, sacrificing his life to insure the detonation occurred properly. The remaining crew on the Starling were rescued by a Russian ship, the Invictus. On Earth, the examination of the mission data revealed that Antimatter had been created in the explosion of the Gloria--Lt. Hoerig had unknowingly stumbled upon a new method of creating the stuff. Within a few years, this "Starling Method" was perfected, ushering in a new era of space travel and cheap energy.
Add-Infinitum (????) An upcoming B-sides and rarities album finally confirmed in a January 2011 interview.
- All There in the Manual: The plots of the first and last album are only spelled out in the liner notes. Most of the music just uses the plot as a launching-off point for reflection and philosophizing.
- The Band Minus the Face: Not really, but as an April Fools' Day joke in 2008, they announced that Reese Roper was quitting the band, and that Keith Hoerig would be taking his place for the final album.
- Break Up Song: Over the first two albums, you can follow Reese's state of mind about the breakup with his fiancee: from sardonic ("Independence Day") to sad ("Binary") to very bitter ("Enamel"). Then he gets over it and finds someone new ("Anastasia").
- Book Ends: On The Light of Things Hoped For, the backing music from "Prologue" is reused as the intro to the final song "Daylight".
- Christian Rock
- Continuous Decompression: Done realistically (slowly).
- The Danza: The crew of the Gloria are all fictionalized versions of the band members.
- Crowning Moment of Heartwarming: The climax of "Daylight."
- Mr. Exposition: The news anchor in the second album and the astronauts being interviewed in the third.
- Piss-Take Rap: "The Shadow of Def" would be embarrassing if it were serious.
- Retcon: Andy Verdecchio only joined the band after the first album. Since the crew of the Gloria were based on the band members, the second album added Verdecchio to the crew and pretended he'd been there all along. Then in the third album, Verdecchio was just as suddenly written out of the crew; instead he's the cosmonaut piloting the Invictus.
- Rock Opera
- Sequel Hook: While the band originally conceived of the story as a trilogy, they were willing to make a part 4 if there was sufficient demand. Hence the hidden track on Anti-Meridian, with one of the astronauts saying that he would go back to space in a heartbeat if given the chance.
- Sound Effect Bleep: Rather infamously, someone in the studio used record scratches and static to censor the words "hell" and "pissed" out of two songs on The Light of Things Hoped For. Without telling the band. (Them being a Christian band, one can only imagine how much hilarity would have ensued if the songs had not been censored.)
- Title Drop: In "Atropos": "You are brave in this darkness, Saint Saturn."
- Truth in Television: In the third album, the astronauts discover antimatter as a means of spaceship propulsion. Now look what's happening.
- We Will Use Wiki Words in the Future: "braveSaintSaturn" on all three album covers.
- Wild Mass Guessing: Theories on what the "leaked" cover to Add-Infinitum means range from a new full-length album to a joke about Reese Roper's ADD.
- It's ironic that FIF themselves got quite a bit darker in their final years--BS2's lyrics wouldn't sound out of place next to "Eulogy", "The Day We Killed", or "American Kryptonite".