Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2022
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

Cities of Mars > Celestial Mistress > Reviews
Cities of Mars - Celestial Mistress

A Thriving Metropolis On The Red Planet - 89%

Larry6990, January 31st, 2017
Written based on this version: 2016, Digital, Independent (Bandcamp)

Despite big names in the doom scene like Grand Magus and Candlemass, Sweden is not where this brand of psychedelic stoner metal is expected to spring from. Gothenburg trio Cities of Mars are relative newcomers. But despite a lack of media/online presence, they make their mark musically with Celestial Mistress: their first EP. Three sludge-laden tracks of psychedelia with both quality and quantity.

Goofy artwork aside, it’s unclear whether Celestial Mistress is based on a story. Concept EPs are rare, but short albums such as Slabdragger’s Rise Of The Dawncrusher have proved that a blast of stoner sci-fi is greatly effective when it has a world to belong to. The band’s imagery is at least appropriate to their sound. Crooning vocals, raw production and enormous bluesy riffs are the order of the day. The alien-esque opening strums of “Gaze Of Leviathan” atmospherically prepare your face to be crushed by a suitably savage riff. Great way to commence proceedings! This riffwork carries on as intended, driving the EP along with its murky bulk. The primal simplicity is reminiscent of “Celestial Crown” by fellow doomsters The Sword. No insult intended, I promise!

The liner notes make it unclear who the lead vocalist is, as all members contribute to vocal duties at some point. But the voices glide nobly over the top of the earthy guitar tone, sublimely mixed and perfectly decipherable. The songwriting compliments the sparse texture of the band. Only three members means that each instrument is allowed to breathe in the EP’s quieter sections. Especially the bass, which confidently drives the verses of “Beneath A Burning Sun” in between its clamorous choruses. Special mention must go to the title-track: a sprawling mammoth of a song with enough dynamic variation to keep even casual doom fans glued.

The guitar tone could benefit from being beefed up a little, and sometimes the cymbals drown out the colossal riffs. But these are just side-effects of the raw production that is characteristic of the genre. Cities of Mars show amazing potential as relative newcomers, and Celestial Mistress is an excellent example of what an EP should do: makes me almost salivate to hear more monstrous doom metal, Sweden style!