Archive for the Celestia Category

Celestia – “Archaenae Perfectii” Review

Posted in album review, Celestia with tags , , , , , , on June 12, 2010 by GRAMPS Pantheon

According to Mr. Varg Vikernes of Burzum, black metal was never meant to last beyond the Norwegian movement of the early 90s.  All of the bands strived to have a different sound, a different image, and a different purpose.  As with any burgeoning genre though, a string of copycats arose playing this Norwegian style to death.  Nearly twenty years later, we stand amongst a sea of black metal bands, knowing that the vast majority will be uninspired copies of some classic artist.

With their newest release, Archaenae Perfectii, Celestia toes the line separating “been there, done that” and something fresh and interesting.  Celestia borrows heavily from the typical black metal sound, featuring an abundance of tremolo-picked, dissonant guitars on every track.  At times, this sound can become grating on my ears for the very reason that I’ve heard it done many times before.  The bass is mostly inaudible (other than the final track), the drums merely do their job, and the vocals are standard-fare, high pitch screams.

With those gripes out of the way, Archaenae Perfectii actually has a lot going for it.  Each track contains moments of beauty, ranging from the addition of a subtle atmospheric keyboard in the background to the various acoustic guitar melodies.  Never sounding out of place or over-used despite their frequency throughout the album, the use of acoustic guitars prove to be welcome diversions from the otherwise entirely metallic sound. Though I find their dissonant black metal moments to be mediocre, Celestia crafts some damn fine melodies!  The acoustic melody played in the backdrop of “Dogmatii Duality / Au Crepuscule Sous Les Larmes” breathes life into a track that would have otherwise been entirely average.  The high point of the album is probably “Dominus Crux Spiritus” which contains a blissful acoustic interlude, coupled with ethereal keyboards that pave the way to a graceful conclusion.  However, the finale “Nuit Qui Brille Comme Soleil” provides some competition, being undoubtedly the heaviest track on the album.  It contains some surprisingly dynamic percussion that had me air-drumming and headbanging like some sort of freak.  In fact, it’s probably the only track on the album to which one can head bang.  Hey, that’s fine with me.  In general, I find black metal to be more of an experience that envelops the listener in the overall atmosphere rather than music to pump your fists to.  In small and tasteful doses though, as on this album, some high energy moments can prove to be exciting and unexpected!

I can foresee Archaenae Perfectii being an album that will sneak onto various top ten lists for 2010, and I wouldn’t have beef with that.  Celestia has crafted a fine album that transcends its various moments of mediocrity by wisely inserting a sublime melody here and there or switching to the acoustic guitar for a quick breather.  It does just enough to separate itself from the festering carrion that is the black metal genre.  Not quite the reinvention or evolution that needs to occur for black metal to stay alive, but eclectic enough to be applauded.

-Max