Ceremonial Castings - _Salem 1692_
(Dark Forest Productions, 2008)
by: Quentin Kalis (8.5 out of 10)
Despite the rubbish spouted by Oprah, life coaches, motivational speakers and others whose income is derived from spouting inanities, hard work and dedication does not always pay off. But without it, the chances of attaining your goal are roughly the same as winning the lottery, and without slogging it out, releasing one album every year for the last five, it is highly unlikely Ceremonial Castings would be in a position to unleash an album of this calibre.

The guitar tone is raw but not so raw as to be incapable of successfully carrying a melody, and the use of rather cheap sounding synths could be interpreted as an extended middle finger to the lush overproduced symphonics of Cradle and Dimmu. Despite sounding almost like a second-hand Casio, they are mysteriously effective, and together with the abrasive guitar tone, create an erroneous sense of amateurism, a sense which cannot be sustained against the strength of their arrangements and melodies. The interludes are decent, but the "real" songs are more than capable of conveying the requisite atmosphere. Some occasional but beautiful and effective female voices emerge, but do not dominate and are used in a fresh manner, whilst the male vox spans the domain from growls through to post-Attila groans and the standard shrieks. The lyrics are based around the album's concept of the Salem witch trials, which is dedicated to those who lived through and died during that time. Together with impressive cover art, Ceremonial Castings have delivered one of the strongest missives from the American underground in 2008.

Contact: http://www.ceremonialcastings.net

(article published 3/12/2008)

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