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Celesty have come a long way, and here's the proof - 90%

TrooperOfSteel, May 17th, 2011

I’ve watched over Finnish symphonic power metal band Celesty since first hearing them on their debut album entitled ‘Reign Of Elements’. That CD was released back in 2002. After that, vocalist Kimmo Perämäki left the band and was replaced by current singer Antti Railio. 2004’s sophomore effort, ‘Legacy of Hate’ followed in the same footsteps of the debut, and with the addition of a better vocalist who brings more melody and passion; the release was just as good as ‘Reign of Elements’. The only downside so far was that the 2 albums were both quite repetitive and similar to each other, and the band were yet to seriously move forward in progression.

Fast forward 2 years and things were looking up for this power metal band. Leaving Arise Records for the newest major record label, Dockyard 1, Celesty released their 3rd CD, ‘Mortal Mind Creation’. Lead guitarist Juha-Pekka Alanen left the band and was replaced by the talented Teemu Koskela. ‘Mortal Mind Creation’ was far greater than the previous 2 albums (in my opinion), as the band undertook a noticeable change of direction and sound. Gone were the cheesy, generic and repetitive riffs and vocals; replaced by hard aggressive guitar chords, improved songwriting and structure, and lastly, refined heavy and melodic vocals. The band had stepped up and created one top-notch CD; which has paved the way 3 years on for their newest release entitled ‘Vendetta’. Once again Celesty have changed labels, this time moving from Dockyard 1 to Spinefarm, a local yet major Finnish record label.

Celesty have always put importance of their sound to the guitars and keyboards and this has not changed on ‘Vendetta’. The use of the keyboards may have been toned down since ‘Legacy of Hate’, but they are used in a more creative way, whilst backing up the twin guitar blasts instead of competing with them. There are times, however, when the keyboards are used for wicked solos. ‘Vendetta’ is slightly less aggressive than ‘Mortal Mind Creation’; but they have replaced that with dynamic choirs and epic orchestras, which has added a matured and polished element to their sound.

Vocalist Antti Railio is at the top of his game on this release. Receiving English vocal lessons between albums, Railio has improved a hell of a lot; his voice is now completely solid, confident, and very emotional and melodic. The addition of guitarist Teemu Koskela in the previous album has really given Celesty a much needed boost in ferocity, which now has even more appeal in ‘Vendetta’. The guitar solos on the release are swift, precise, brutal, but most importantly, entertaining.

It is the songs which make the CD, and the ones which I feel are quite exceptional include “Greed & Vanity”, “Feared By Dawn”, “Lord (Of This Kingdom)” and “Dark Emotions”. “Greed & Vanity” shows off Celesty’s ability to write catchy tunes, combining melody with aggression, while “Feared By Dawn” is a fabulous combination of their new sound mixed with the original sounding Celesty. “Lord (Of This Kingdom)” is a slower, brooding track; making full use of the epic orchestras at their disposal. Lastly, “Dark Emotions” is an infusion of speed metal with modern European power metal, with plenty of emotion and aggression.

The album as a whole is very consistent and basically every track is of a great standard, and I could also mention other tracks such as “Euphoric Dream”, “Like Warriors” and “Autumn Leaves” to the list. Special mention must be given to the album closer, “Legacy of Hate pt. 3”, which runs for over 14 minutes and is an incredible opus, and the centerpiece of this brilliant CD. Beginning slowly behind violins and acoustic guitar, Antti Railio is joined by female vocalist Suvi-Tuuli Dietrich in a passionate duet, before the track kicks off to a thunder of choirs, orchestras and double-bass pummeling. The track is broken up in 4 segments, all of which are arranged wonderfully.

Overall I am so pleased to see Celesty where they are right now. They have indeed come a long way since their debut album and now should be reaping the deserved rewards. It may have taken a few years and releases, but Celesty are now taking their destiny by the balls and turning it into something which is quite successful. They have matured greatly and you can hear that when you compare their songs from the first 2 albums to this superb effort here. If any fans of Celesty jumped off the ship a few years back, they should seriously get back on and enjoy the ride, as they will be sweetly surprised. All power metal fans, including symphonic and speed, should really like what ‘Vendetta’ has to offer. Great work, guys.

Originally reviewed for www.themetalforge.com & www.metalcdratings.com

Vengeance served up sweet and cold. - 89%

hells_unicorn, April 16th, 2011

Seasons may change, friendships may fluctuate, rivers may ebb and flow, yet for some reason Celesty never seems to find itself in any of these situations. Even with the growing trend towards some form of substantial stylistic shift or evolution in many power metal acts in their own native Finland, this band is firmly rooted in the earth of triumphant speed metal orthodoxy as a great oak. Whenever this band is heard, the same classic dichotomy of heroic exploits and an slight atmospheric coldness dominates the moment, but on the powerful opus that is “Vendetta”, there is an even greater punch from their gauntleted fists than any of their previous works with Antti Railio manning the microphone.

This is an album that sees the band venturing slightly closer to Rhapsody Of Fire, a band that they have generally differed from by employing a much humbler arrangement. The orchestral and vocal backdrop is much more in line with the bombastic pomp heard on “Power Of The Dragonflame”, and the riff work is about equally as ferocious, leaving little time to collect one’s thoughts as one speed section proceeds to the next. Even Railio’s vocals, which still retain that strong Tony Kakko tinge to them, are much more powerful and bordering on raging as each verse passes into an impressive collection of memorable choruses. It’s not quite as technically flashy as the works of Luca Turilli and company, but it definitely captures that awe inspiring, majestic sound that was commonplace on said fold’s releases with Limb Music.

Even when first starting off from the prototypical instrumental overture, these Finns hint at an oncoming storm of sound and pick things up quickly, before exploding into a veritable celebration of metallic warfare. The first four full length songs are unrelenting speeders that are among the best that one can hope for in 2009, often making references to early 2000s symphonic power metal greats, and particularly sounding familiar of Rhapsody and Dark Moor on “Euphoric Dream” and “Like Warriors”. When the album hits its midpoint with “Feared By Dawn”, things start off fairly slow and serene, but within a minute things are back on overdrive with an almost thrashing display of fury, tempered with plenty of film score oriented orchestrations and consonant melodies.

One thing becomes obvious as the second half of the album unfolds, and that is that while Celesty does make time for slower breaks, they tend to be short, or otherwise are equally matched with heavy guitars/faster sections. The only thing resembling a long break from the continuing flurry of double bass dominated madness is “Lord Of This Kingdom”, which tends a bit more towards a mid tempo song, but still finds time to gallop around and pummel the ears with some low end riff work. Antti’s vocal work on this song is particularly power, both polished and gritty as he tells yet another epic tale of warriors seeking vengeance. “New Sin” and “Dark Emotions” venture back to the blazing fury of the first half of the album, but things are leaning a bit more towards a more Sonata Arctica character, which become all but 100% blatant later on in the case of the formulaic and catchy “Gates Of Tomorrow”, a bonus track that reminds pretty heavily of “Wolf And Raven”.

Perhaps the only complaint that can be launched against this album is that there are a few cases where the band gets either a little too predictable, or a little too long-winded. The radio single “Fading Away” is probably among the better songs ever to be committed to a shorter, radio-friendly format by a band in this genre, but it stands out as being too safe amongst the colossal array of speed metal going on through 90% of the album. And the closing song, which also happens to be the 3rd installment of the “Legacy Of Hate” series, falls into the same general trap as its two predecessors. There’s a lot of good moments, not the least of it being where Railio is either crooning or shouting, but the sections are a bit overlong, particularly the quieter ones, and come off as forced. This massive 14 minute epic could probably stand to shed about 3 minutes of slow development in order to leave less time waiting for the good parts.

All in all, the second best studio offering that this crew of Finns has put out, and unfortunately the last one with Antti at the helm. While a new singer will probably prove to be a welcome change given the former’s heavily similar voice to a number of other power metal vocalists, it was a solid run by an outfit that weathered a recession of Helloween/Stratovarius oriented power metal over the past several years. But anyone who enjoys the power metal put out from the cold land separating Sweden from Russia, be it the softer sort out of Stratovarius or the heavier counterpart in Kiuas, “Vendetta” is definitely a keeper.

Finnish Power Metal!!! - 88%

Stein23, June 22nd, 2009

Since European Power Metal spread its wings in the beginning of the early 1990s, you started hearing stories about ancient tales and lore of lost battles swarmed by magic and fire armed with bombastic productions, speed, keyboards, and orchestra supported melodies and a much heavier music. Heavy Metal was into it, not too obsessively, during the 80s, but the European Power Metal scene took it high up the ladder. Well not all the European Power scene is like that, like Primal Fear for example, yet many of these bands swarmed like flies over Europe. Celesty were a part of the second wave of bands that came over near the mid to late 1990s, showing off Symphonic, Epic Power / Speed Metal influences by Manowar and Rhapsody Of Fire and similar to their fellow countrymen , Sonata Arctica.

Vendetta , the band’s new offering, is yet another Power Metal offering of tales and eposes. What is different here from albums like Reign Of The Elements and Legacy Of Hate is that behind all the operatics and orchestral keyboards, Celesty unleashed a much angrier version of themselves.

Many of the recent Power Metal acts, and even some of the older bands of these sub-genre, discovered that showing a bit of anger in their songs , not an extreme level of course , may spice up their musical approach a bit and turn them into a different creature than the Traditional European Power Metal.

You can see that Celesty’s music has toughened a bit with riffs from songs like “Dark Emotions” , “New Sin” , “Greed And Vanity” and parts of the long epos, “Legacy Of Hate Part 3”, which is the best of all three parts – the first ones were in the Legacy Of Hate album from 2004. In addition, the rough approach is also due to the band’s hardships and toils along their journey to make a meaningful mark in the Metal world. Therefore, you can say they are letting off some steam just as Nostradameus did in their last two albums. Alongside these darkened anthems, the same Power Metal with keys keeps on rolling with the finesse artistic effort that Celesty has been showing since their formation.

Like previous ones, the albums offer melodies, solos and amazing writing abilities with top-notch quality from the band members. The bottom line is that Celesty is still a Metal pumping machine that will satisfy you with their musicianship and their artistic view of the imagination. Don’t think about the banal motifs taken from other bands, these guys were influences, that is true, but the use of the music and its writing are the most important factors here. Vendetta like its name, judging by the music, is where Celesty saw their chance to unleash the beast within them.

Highlights from this chapter of crossed emotions: “Euphoric Dream”, really sounds like its name , starts all cheery and happy with speed and melodic assault of both guitars and keys until it becomes more serious with speed and an awesome vocal line – a true classic , check out the chorus filled with opera and Celesty’s amazing frontman.

“Like Warriors” is a good Power Metal song filled with glorious stories regarding a band of warriors – tonight they will unleash on you hell with speedy anthems backed by operatic and orchestral effects by the keys.

“Feared By Dawn” a more Neo-Classical tune a'la Rhapsody Of Fire, but not too bombastic, yet sounds a lot heavier than the Italian folks. Here you can feel the band’s singer and how elegant his style is, a true talent.

“Lord Of This Kingdom” is true Heavy Metal a'la Manowar or Hammerfall followed by a slow galloping riff of a marching cavalry battalion.

“New Sin” is when the melodic European Power Metal joins hands with Modern Heavy Metal riffs. There you have it, Speed vs. Heavy and a low tuned attack.

“Fading Away” is an awesome track covered by the enchanting keyboard melodies. Moreover, just take a good listen to a well-done chorus.

“Legacy Of Hate Part 3” is a great epos, which is divided into four parts – one of them is an instrumental, starts and ends with a beautiful duet of male / female collaboration. Within it you will find everything – check that out. Finally, If you have the bonus extra, you will enjoy the final track, “Gates Of Tomorrow” which is a typical Power Metal anthem, yet performed with greatness.

Celesty, with all their present and past troubles, continue fulfilling their solemn vision and burning ambitions to became a marker to others. Vendetta is their answer to their troubles and it is the right answer indeed.