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Underrated Death/Doom Metal - 60%

Petrus_Steele, April 12th, 2019
Written based on this version: 1995, CD, Fadeless Records

Ceremonium is yet another New York based death metal band that I've never heard of. To no surprise, this is another unsung excellence of a death metal band, with essence of doom metal; thus death/doom. The production is as should, to contemplate the atmosphere and design. The tracks are at the proper length to deliver the full experience, having balance and not tiring to listen (if you're listening to this record coming from listening to short songs). A total of six tracks, you have a short prelude, four tracks that range between five to six minutes, individually, and a last, long track, concluding the album. The instruments fit with their respective production quality, and the keyboard using the choir effect is on-point!

The album starts with the pretty, gloomy, and atmospheric prelude, Nightfall in Heaven, with acoustic guitar and choirs of despondency and sorrow. Then the opening track, Serenity kicks in with a slow shriek of madness, as the guitars contribute to the pain with slick melodies. The bass is very strong in delivering the atmosphere throughout the record, and good job with the drums! Great production for that instrument in particular. The rest of the songs and vocals speak for themselves. Properly executed death growls and shrieks of madness, as it's delivering the same as what the bass delivers. The re-recorded version of Incarnated Entity delivers yet again gloomy music with choirs (especially on the song's bridge), as well as thrash metal-like blast beats and black metal-like guitar riffs. All this contributes throughout the entire record, and the groovy guitar solo of Our Mourning Forever Shrouds, which also showcases the best part about the bass, and as the record ends with the haunting keyboards; closing of the long title track.

Into the Autumn Shade is an underrated atmospheric death/doom record that encapsulates emotions, agony, life and death through 30 minutes. It has a powerful delivery both instrumentally and vocally, that shows how doom metal and how death/doom should be, with that addition. Although having only five tracks to talk about here, there's not much to elaborate on anymore. The best tracks, clearly, are Incarnated Entity and the title track.

Interesting old slab of nasty death/doom - 70%

caspian, November 28th, 2013

Stumbled upon this record a fair while back; from what I can tell, near on everyone has a "looking for really slow & atmospheric death metal" phase, typically after they've found out that dISEMBOWELMENT exist- and that's what got me onto this somnolent little entity. All up, you'd say that Ceremonium do a pretty capable job at their take on the slow, particularly reverby side of death metal- this isn't a negative review by any means. But you could also say that there is a general reason why this is a band that few people namedrop or talk about all that much. Ceremonium can be safely put in that rather large category of almost-theres.

Yeah, occasionally a riff pops up (the much uglier My Dying Bride in "Unveiled Tears" a good enough example) that crushes like few things have done before or since. And that's cool- certainly Ceremonium's mix of english-three death doom, early Netherlands scene stuff and maybe a tiny bit of NYDM has some real killer moments- pieces where the darkness just pours forth, where everything just hammers down in this relentless, pitch-black steamrolling thing. The choir part of "Our Mourning Forever Shrouds" a good enough instance; few death/doom have ever gotten into such a uniquely dark, powerfully gothic place. There's a tendency to not fuck around, the production is rather raw but undeniably powerful, and the guy growls his ass off.

The flipside, though- and there is one, this real tendency for everything to blend into itself, throughout the entire album. The guitar parts certainly strike gold once in a while, but otherwise it's fair to say 80% of this album is rather forgettable. For every moment that picks you up and throws you in front of a riff-train, there's maybe 4 or 5 others where, well yeah it's a bit oppressive and rather dark, but it's not getting your head moving, where basically nothing much is really happening. There's a tendency towards repeating the same riffing patterns, going back into the same tempos, and this rather annoying trait where you think the band is about to let absolutely loose only for them to start playing a fairly non-descript mid paced riff. Yeah, some blasting sections here would go amazing. I guess what's missed here is the songwriting. Certainly there's peaks and troughs throughout, but a song is as much about the destination as the journey, and the sense of resolution, of a song picking up (or slowing way down, whatever's good) and ending on a really crunching note just isn't really here.

Having said that, there are some wonderful moments and I still finding myself playing this fairly often. I think the reason why I harp on about the weak points is because there's crazy potential within this album but it just never quite gets there! Certainly it isn't a bad record, it's just merely "fairly good". Worth a look if you're a big fan of stuff that's slow and nasty.

Bleak, Chunky & Atmospheric - 81%

TheKEZ, February 2nd, 2012

This is a very tasty slab of death / doom metal, with an atmosphere that could be described as a much darker, bleaker cousin of 'Lost Paradise' era Paradise Lost. There's an elegant sense of despair permeating this suprisingly short record.

Whilst many bands of this nature are content to wallow in this dark mood for as long they like, Ceremonium are fairly concise, yet still manage to evoke a convincingly gloomy soundscape within this short time. There's some nice mid-tempo chuggers in amongst all the delicious doom too, sometimes bringing to mind a more depressed Bolt Thrower. Occasionally there are hints of the more black metal direction they would subsequently take, but right now they mainly draw from the doomier side of things. The album flows nicely, culminating with the haunting title track bringing some new instrumentation to the table.

The vocals are deep and quite echoey, but compliment the music very well. Unfortunately the guitars sounds a bit distant and subdued, with not quite as much depth as they could have. This lends the album quite a distinct atmosphere however, making some of the riffs feel more melancholic than crushing.

If you're not really into the slower side of metal, this may not do much to change your mind, but if you take your doom with a dollop of death metal on the side this will definately satiate your tastebuds.

The atmosphere is there - 80%

Cronos12390, November 24th, 2007

Ceremonium are one of metal music's more overlooked bands (Unless, of course, you're talking to any number of people that laud them and talk about how overlooked they were). The music here is comprised of harmonized, churning chord progressions (A la Anathema), creeping chromatic riffs, faster death metal influenced sections and the occasional black-metal influenced tremolo picking, which is done at a moderate pace.

The main issue I had with this one was how some of it seemed to just meander on (Of course this is doom death, but still), and how often I found myself thinking, "Where is this going?". Another issue is the subdued guitar tone. Certainly I can make the instrument out, but the punch that should be there is missing. Other than that qualm about the string section's equalization, there's little wrong with the production, and it indeed succeeds at creating a good atmosphere. Gloomy, melancholic, and hopeless are words that should go through your brain constantly when you hear this.

The vocals (Somewhat deep growls that bring to mind Ross Dolan and Darren White) are very strongly reverbed, something I don't particularly like, but considering the nature of the music, it fits. The bass is audible, or at the very least noticeable throughout the entire album, and is played adequately, though it often simply follows the guitars. The drums are slow, laid back snare hits and cymbal crashes typical of doom/death metal.

Ceremonium are worth looking into if you're into doom metal, this release, I believe, being their most doom-influenced (They ventured into more blackened territory after this).