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I learned about the existence of Celestial Bloodshed by the unfortunate death of their vocalist, Steingrim Torson, in 2009. The release of their second full-length album, “Ω”, was the reason I decided to get to know the band better. So, their debut work is relatively small in length, a bit less than 35 minutes. It consists of 7 tracks with great variation in duration, a fact that can be intriguing already from the start.
After a repetitive and mesmerizing intro, the eponymous track breaks in with a slow, melancholic riff, giving the impression that this album will follow more dark and introverted paths. This is a big mistake because as vocals join the music, we face something very dynamic. The two significant elements of this release are the riffs and the vocals. Guitar plays slow, atmospheric parts during the long tracks, but between them there are black metal hymns which seem like a gale sweeping everything. A striking example is “Gospel of Hate” with its very characteristic title. Regarding the vocals, they are not the usual black metal vocals one would expect to find. They have a deeper, hellish tone while during “All Praise to Thee” at some point they bring to mind the voice of Attila Csihar, adding some diversity.
Drums play exactly as they should while, with a little attention, the bass can be heard as well. Production is very good without any negative elements, while lyrics (available only in two tracks) are offensive with an anti-christian touch and drip hatred for humanity. All the elements mentioned above combined take the listener to an underground cell, chained and suffering from his existence, pleading for an end to his martyrdom.
Many people say that traditional black metal is dead. Partially this makes sense since a lot of garbage lacking originality have been released. But also there is the other side, of those who really feel what they are performing, offer a piece of their own existence and present a breathtaking result. Celestial Bloodshed surely belong to the second category. If you have any doubts, just give this album a listen. If you say that you did not feel your pulse stronger and your environment distorting, you would be lying.
Originally written for: The Lair of Storfeth
Norway went through a slump for a bit on quality black metal, but recently we've been seeing some new bands come into creation there. Although Celestial Bloodshed aren't as primitive as Koldbrann they still rely on some of the atmospheric elements of the classic Norwegian sound. This is why I like them a lot; I feel the Norwegian bm scene has for the most part lost that old atmospheric sound with the rise of high level studios and Norsecore type bands. Celestial Bloodshed joins bands like Taake in continuing the old vibe and not only giving their production a suitably raw (though not bad) production, their musical creations also actually give me some feelings similar to the old bands, which is something to be said for sure. This is why I like this cd so much, the atmosphere itself breathes a malignancy and a quality of walking through a dark fog with a church steeple above and the woods around, and similar mental images.
Celestial Bloodshed do this through simple methods, the riffs and song structures are not complex, instead they display that the way you arrange your music can make or break your band, thus many songs, though they only feature a few riffs have enough variations in the drumming, and little elements like touches of melodic leads to give it a lift. I would say that probably their biggest influence appears to be Mayhem, but since Mayhem was the biggest influence on the old Norwegian scene in the first place maybe thats not so bad. They never outright sound like Mayhem however, just touches, particularly in certain riffs and the use of the bass.
The vocals are one of the best parts, the vocalist sounds inhuman, reminds me a bit of Funeral Mist, but not as insane, just in that general tone. He has a mid range to lower (with very rare higher tones) vocal, thats not quite death metal, though in he might have worked great in an old school death metal band, so it's fitting with the more old school vibrations of this release.
A note should be made about the intro, I really like the usage of chains and weird sound effects, it feels like an old horror movie, and right away gives the atmosphere of the rest of the release. Some might complain it's too long, but when an intro really has a cool feeling I don't mind.
The guitars have a good sound on them, not too trebly, and with a touch of clean, reminds me a lot of the first few Burzum albums, but perhaps more full sounding. It is nice though to be able to hear the riffing fairly well, as they do some interesting stuff at times. Like I said the bass gives off an ominous tone like on Mayhem's De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, and I like that a lot, I loved the bass there and not enough bands use the bass properly, Celestial Bloodshead does though (and yes I started off as a bass player before becoming a guitar player so I actually pay attention to the bass in music).
Like I said all these elements come together and we have a dark fucking atmosphere, like wandering through some forgotten ghostly set of a 30's horror movie, catacombs and cemeteries and a fog rolling over it all. It's very menacing and primal, at times even a bit creepy (this is usually due to the way the minimalist music mixes with the brain and the way the insane vocals roll over you). Personally I like this release a lot, I've been listening to it since it came out, and have heard it many times and still like it as much as I do, if that says something it says this release stands up to the true test, the time test. It's not a flash in the pan success it's a something you should really check out if it sounded interesting to you at all.
Too bad the vocalist killed himself, he had a lot of potential to do some great work asides from this. Also some of the bands that the members of this one are involved in are interesting, very underground Norwegian black metal.
This album is the first ‘full length’ by these Celestial Bloodshed hailing from Norway. I put full length in quotes because the album lasts only 35 minutes or so. And in my opinion this is one of the problems with the release and not because it sucks and it’s too long (like many other releases). But because it left me wanting more!!
The band plays a traditional old school black metal that sounds very raw and brutal. No fancy things here, just the basic vocals, guitars, bass and drums combination. And the band does not need anymore, their sound has been refined to perfection. While it does sound like older releases of Gorgoroth and many others, they have their own distinctive elements that make the album stand out.
The seven songs of this release leave the listener hungry for more raw nihilistic black metal, that only a few bands can execute to perfection. And Celestial Bloodshed have achieved such a feat, mixing all the traditional elements of Norwegian black metal and adding their own brutality to the mix. The only thing that I would say this release is missing is some shrieking vocals. The release only features mid-tone black metal vocals and while they are not bad they are still missing power.
In general I was quite surprised with this release. And I’ll add the band to my band’s to watch list. I would easily recommend this album to every black metal fan out there.
Alarmingly named Norwegian band Celestial Bloodshed serves an equally disturbingly titled album of old school classic Norwegian BM mixed with ambient and slightly experimental trimmings. After a spooky atmospheric intro track called, well, "Intro", it's down to the business proper with the title track which is at once slow(ish) and funereal yet with a swanky side on the one hand, and desperate, clobbering and furious on the other when the musicians switch into super-fast playing mode. CB's sound can be very raw and clear with a bit of echo as well as loud blasting riffs, and the vocals can be harsh and bellowing. Quite a few melodies and riffs are packed into the title track so even though it's over 7 minutes long, it seems to end all too quickly. More straightforward is "Sign of the Zodiac", fast all the way through with a distinct no-nonsense down-to-earth flavour; the same can be said of "Truth is Truth, Beyond the God" with two sets of vocals (a lower vocal and a higher vocal often going head-to-head in sheer aggression), frenzied drumming and harsh tremolo guitars.
Having established their style of brutal blasting BM in the first half of the album, CB can afford to mix up the pace on the second half of the album in two long tracks. On "All Praise to Thee" there is slower doomier music that occasionally falls into droning guitar noise territory in among the more conventionally fast BM passages, there is more reverb added to the music (especially the drums) and the guitars are now very harsh and ragged. The coda is stretched out almost into a mini-track of moody ambience and is left very untidy. A return to frantic BM in "Gospel of Hate", as if to remind us of what CB are really all about, and then it's on into "Demon of Old" where the fast and furious BM keeps going at until the halfway mark where the musicians go unhinged with inhuman cries and wails against a repeating raw guitar solo. As with "All Praise ...", the track finishes up in a not-very conclusive way: structurally vague and untidy with a thick fog over it. If you were expecting something very definite, all-out aggressive and triumphant, you'll likely be unsatisfied with the way the album concludes but it looks as if having embraced and reclaimed the spirit and vitality of old school Norwegian BM, the band may be keen to push the fringe of what's acceptable in that genre and see how far it can go.
This is a very solid debut for CB and while it's not original, there are hints that CB could go into slightly more ambient experimental soundscape territory on future recordings while staying true to their inspiration and influences.
Cursed, Scarred and Forever Possessed is among the handful of releases brought to American shores by Moribund's distribution deal with the excellent French boutique label Debemur Mortii, who've been responsible for some truly scathing black metal releases, including Haemoth and Hell Militia. Debemur Mortii is a label that pays such attention to detail that I'm predisposed in favor of this release by Norwegian anti-Christian warriors Celestial Bloodshed. Referencing Burzum, Gorgoroth, and other classic black metal bands from the frozen climes of Northern Europe, the press sheet sets a high standard for this 34-minute attack on all things holy. While CS&FP doesn't blast quite as furiously or blaspheme with as much venom as the best of Gorgoroth, the comparison is fair and favorable. Unlike much of the jetsam in the current tidal wave of black metal releases, Celestial Bloodshed set themselves apart by composing songs that present a diverse range of foul expressions. Songs such as "Sign of the Zodiac" ramp up the level of intensity from fast to furious, while the vocals unhinge from deep bellows to crone-like croaking, maintaining one's interest for the full duration of the album. This is a release that I'll certainly revisit in the future, and one that, while unlikely to generate a great deal of hype, is solid enough to deserve a place in a collection. It is worth noting that Celestial Bloodshed's vocalist, Steingrim, is also the drummer and vocalist for the project Unbeing, whose 16-minute 2006 cassette demo Unbeing Black Draped in Unlife is an excellent specimen of warped, lo-fidelity, minimal grimness.
(originally written for Salt Lake Under Ground, slugmag.com)
Celestial Bloodshed is a fairly new black metal band from Norway. Cursed, Scarred and Forever Possessed opens with a standard, but still effective, black metal introductory track. Basically, chains jingle, there’s some odd mutterings, some subdued cackling and a minimalistic guitar line that surfaces near the end. Once the intro ends, the first track begins the assault. The guitars start out by playing a melody that is similar to the one in the introduction, while the bass and drums support it. The track is actually quite somber, at least for a while. In addition, it’s also one of the best parts of the CD, as the melody is simple yet effective and the backing instruments truly supply an intriguing atmosphere.
Celestial Bloodshed isn’t exactly an original band, but they’re far from derivative. They primarily play fairly melodic black metal. What makes them interesting, however, is their inclusion of several aspects of a more depressive strand of the genre. While at they’re core they’re quite aggressive, they have several more atmospheric and almost peaceful moments (like the already mentioned start of the album). The production is also somewhat similar to that of a suicidal black metal band, like Xasthur, and that is both an asset and a downside. On one hand, the sorrowful and engrossing melodies command a large portion of the sonic landscape. The overall sound is fairly closed in, and although the music is far from dense it still feels somewhat claustrophobic. This greatly enhances the atmosphere. In the process of giving the guitars more room, however, the drums were slightly shafted. While they’re still audible they lack subtlety, they seem to be either doing a very supportive, slow beat and letting the guitars do their thing, or they’re blasting at full speed.
The guitars primarily play either tremolo picked or single note melodies and are very effective in weaving a mourning, yet aggressive atmosphere around the listener. The rhythm work is effective, although it doesn’t really stand out in any way. The bass is inaudible, but the album thankfully retains some low end. The vocals are effective, but nothing too special. They’re high shrieks and offer little variety, yet they still manage to feel passionate and are also somewhat understandable. The greatest vocal section comes at the beginning of Gospel of Hate, where the vocals are almost pained yelps. While this sounds as if it would be distracting and stupid it actually comes off rather well. From the snatches of understandable words I heard, the lyrics seem competent, but it’s hard to tell without a lyrics sheet, or at the least, truly focusing on them (something I’ll admit that I haven’t done).
The drumming is very well done, and as such it is a pity that it is somewhat weak in tone. The drummer is a very competent blaster, but at times it seems as if he should lay off a bit more. While there are several times with more cautious drumming, once he gets going with aggressive blast beats he usually doesn’t stop until the song does. Tom rolls are frequently utilized, which are great during the blasting sections, although they don't always seem to fit. The drums production really is odd, and lacks almost any sort of subtlety. The drums are either ON or OFF. During standard beats they seem to almost fade into the background, but when the blasting starts they take over a very large portion of the soundscape, which can be good or bad, depending on whether you wanted to hear the atmospheric guitars…or the aggressive drums.
The interplay between the two styles is one of Celestial Bloodsheds strong points, but it doesn’t always come off well. The production limits the aggression of some of the more offensive riffs and the blasting can detract a bit from some of the more somber passages. This is far from a crippling flaw, but it does make the music seem somewhat clashing and disjointed.
Overall Cursed, Scarred and Forever Possessed is a solid album, if not a great one. The music, while fresh, is still far from new to anyone who’s into black metal. If you’re looking for an enjoyable album, than this is a solid bet as there isn’t really much to offend anyone. On the other side of the coin, due to a lack of risks, there really isn’t much to truly love either. Still, music isn’t rated on originality, but rather on entertainment – and this is an entertaining album.
Like the title says, this album will leave you cursed, scarred and forever possessed.
The opening track sparks vivid scenes in my mind. When I hear this, I think of cold, dark dungeons and winding corridors. You can hear the feeble cries of a tortured soul as it is being dragged though the depths of hell in chains of freezing ice. Seriously, this album will do that to you.
Throughout the rest of the album, it's nothing but brutality. Yet the music is also filled with sorrow and darkness, and it leaves you feeling a sense of approaching doom. You may actually take a glance over your shoulder from time to time as you listen to this, just to be sure that there's nothing there.
On the production level, the album lacks in areas, but it's nothing like the traditional black metal standard (and you know what I'm talking about). My only complaint was that the drums could have been much better. They just seem rather weak in the mix, but that is just my opinion. The vocals are typical screams and wails, but nothing over the top like the vocalist from Sargeist. And, you can actually make out what he is saying, which is a good thing, as no lyrics come with this purchase.
Overall, I found this to be a very well-crafted album. As I have stated before, the drums could have been more powerful, but I don't think it's that big of a deal. I would recommend this to any black metal enthusiast, and it would make a nice addition to their collection.