Celestial Season - Mysterium I

28 Apr 2022 - Knut

Doom Metal | Burning World Records | Release date: 25 Apr 2022

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Celestial Season was founded in 1991, released their first album in 1993 and their sophomore album in 1995, they became one of the forerunners of Doom Metal in the 90s. Then they changed their style to Stoner Metal for some years, took a hiatus and came back with a Doom Metal release in 2020 and now releases a captivating new Doom Metal album that will be the first of a trilogy. It is as if the Stoner period of the band never existed, it is as if the core players never left or took a break.

Their sound is quite distinct, tight yet loose as the arrangement of each song is masterfully executed. There are elements in this music that tie it together and let the instruments unfold the ever-present melodic themes. The two guitars, handled by Olly Smit and Pim van Zanen, collaborate and interact, gliding forward with heavy riffs and slow melancholic melodies. On the track «This Glorious Summer» the interaction between the guitars is wonderful in the way it plays out with glissando effects throughout without using tremolo or glissando guitar. This interaction makes for a griping effect on ”Endgame” where the sonics glide towards exchanges with the violin and the cello that are both important parts of the album. The violin is handled by Jiska Ter Bals and the cello by Elianne Anemaat, both impressive musicians.

The melancholy seeps through this album. Every instrument lays the foundation for these sonics immersed in contemplative reflection. The beauty of the violin and the cello lifts the doomy soundscape as they interact with the guitars. Beyond that the rhythm section pushes the songs forward and ties the sonics together. The rhythm section is steadily steered by founding members Lucas van Slegtenhorst on bass and Jason Köhnen on drums.

The two first songs are examples of perfectly executed Doom Metal. The first song, ”Black Water Mirrors”, opens with a sampled female voice, Can you hear me before the guitars come riffing in joined by the strings and rhythm section. On this song, and all the other songs, the growling vocal is an instrument of its own, whether it sings mournful like here or it turns into spoken words like on the last song ”Mysterium” where it is only escorted by the violin and the cello. The vocals are impressive, soulful and emotional. It is not often one can say that about growling vocals. It is quite impressive of Stefan Ruiters managing to come back after 25 years doing the same growling vocals as before.

On the second song, ”The Golden Light Of Late Day” the vocals continue to lead and take us into an emotional segment as the distorted guitars fade away and the strings and acoustic guitars support the slow spoken words. The song is heavy and slow on both sides of this part with melodic glissando effects created by the guitars and strings in perfect harmony. The acoustic guitars take over the sonics and it all fades away.

The sixth song ”All That Is Known” opens with some heavy distorted guitar and slow riffs with echo effects. The song crawls forward with the dark growling voice in tune with the guitars. It is bleak and melancholic until rays from the strings pierce through, but the darkness comes back and is again lifted when the strings are joined by high pitched guitars.

This new release, 30 years after the band’s inception, revisits the splendor of their formative years and shows us a band that has come back and still can be counted as a forerunner in the global Doom Metal scene. We can lean back and enjoy this album while waiting for the next two in the trilogy.