Mortifera - _Vastiia Tenebrd Mortifera_
(Goatowar, 2004)
by: Quentin Kalis (8 out of 10)
Given that Celestia now occupies the curious status of being "on hold", shortly after the long awaited release of their debut album, the solo effort from frontman Noctu Geiistmort (assisted by Neige on drums) is certainly welcomed.

Given that Noctu was the brains behind Celestia, it comes as no surprise that there are strong similarities in sound between the two bands -- for example, the melodies are instantly recognisable as emanating from the same creative well, as is the overall sound. The link between the two bands is further emphasised by a new version of "Fruits of a Tragic End", which appeared on Celestia's _Evoking Grace and Splendour_ EP. Like Celestia, there is a predominant mood of melancholia, but with an additional note of despair. Musically, it possesses a rawer, more abrasive sound, with a nod to the more traditional facet of black metal, and unlike Celestia's more varied tempos, _VTM_ remains strictly at midtempo throughout its duration. Noctu's trademark indiscernible (not to mention psychotic) screams have been replaced by a chilling banshee wail.

If Mortifera is, as it seems at the moment, set to be a side project while Celestia is on hold, then the similarities between the two bands are of little consequence. However, if Mortifera is, as I suspect, intended to be Celestia's eventual successor, Noctu will have to work harder at creating a separate identity to ensure that Mortifera is not simply seen as Celestia by another name.

(article published 13/12/2004)

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