Celestia - _Frigidiis Apotheosia: Abstinencia Genesiis_
(Apparitia Recordings / Drakkar Productions, 2008)
by: Quentin Kalis (9.5 out of 10)
The "pre-release demo" _Delhÿs-Cätess_ was merely an appetizer for this, the main course: Celestia's eagerly awaited second full-length. This may only be the sophomore effort, but Celestia have been around since 1997, releasing a huge number of demos, promo albums, live cassettes, EPs and the like, only releasing their debut full-length _Apparitia Sumptuous Splendour_ a few years back.

Celestia conceivably had the opportunity to release a full-length on many an occasion, as Celestia mainman Noktu is also the owner of cult black metal label Drakkar Productions. Perhaps Celestia wanted to develop and hone their sound before releasing a full-length, which would make for a welcome change in a scene littered with bands recording their debut album long before they are ready to take this step. The debut full-length also contained a number of reworked songs from their demo days, thus, this is the first Celestia record to contain all-new material, and the journey undertaken to reach this stage has been well-worth the effort, resulting in one of the most mature black metal albums ever. "Mature" is not a meaningless euphemism for watered down or soft, but merely a statement that their sound has grown in potency.

I imagine this may be misunderstood as being "gothic black metal", which is not only erroneous but an insult. The mere presence of a keyboard shrouded atmosphere and a liking for darkened depressiveness are not the sole preserve of the lace and PVC clad crowd. Speaking of keyboards, this is the first time that they have been brought into the Celestia mix and are highly effective in supplementing the omnipresent sense of contemplative melancholy.

Noktu's screechy and abrasive, yet also idiosyncratic and brilliant vocals are in place as before, and although several moments where clean vocals could have been used, they never surface. Just as well -- how many half-decent clean singing is there in black metal?

Honesty demands that I list the downsides, but there are simply none of note -- though I suppose the album is a bit shorter than I would have liked, and that when Celestia is active, Noctu's solo project Mortifera is on hold, and vice versa.

Buy this, and if you find a better black metal album released this year, contact me, as I haven't heard it.

(Released in the USA by Paragon Records)

Contact: http://www.apparitia.net

(article published 8/6/2008)

6/8/2008 Q Kalis Celestia: Music Is Magic Not Maths
9/23/2004 Q Kalis Celestia: Necromelancholic Reveries
6/23/2007 Q Kalis 4.5 Celestia - Delhyss - catess
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