Celestial Season - The Secret Teachings review


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Band: Celestial Season
Album: The Secret Teachings
Release date: October 2020

01. The Secret Teachings Of All Ages
02. For Twisted Loveless
03. The Ourobouros
04. Dolores
05. Long Forlorn Tears
06. Amor Fati
07. White Lotus Day
08. Salt Of The Earth
09. They Saw It Come From The Sky
10. Lunar Child
11. Beneath The Temple Mount
12. A Veil Of Silence
13. Red Water [Type O Negative cover]

Celestial Season may not be exactly a household name, but they were among the first to embrace the death doom sound with a gothic twist that the Peaceville Three patented in the early '90s. Nearly twenty years after their last studio album, The Secret Teachings marks a very welcome and respectable return.

The band's history is divided into two eras: the doom era, with the debut album Forever Scarlet Passion and their magnum opus Solar Lovers, and the stoner era with the three albums that followed. Unfortunately the shift in sound did not sit well with people and Celestial Season broke up in 2001. Today the band clearly want to distance themselves from that stoner phase by promoting their doom era, also releasing a box set featuring their first two albums along with their newest effort, The Secret Teachings. And for this latest one, the line-up is a mix of the musicians that were part of those first couple of albums.

The Secret Teachings is a characteristic 'comeback album'. It tries to revive the magic of the old days and its intention is clear from the opening track. The piano and the violin create the appropriate atmosphere for the guitars to kick in and there are three whole minutes of beautiful instrumental music before we hear the first growls. "The Ourobouros" is also very appealing with its dramatic tone and its oriental touch. The best part of the album comes with the next two tracks though; "Dolores" is a short but heartbreaking introduction to "Long Forlorn Tears", which is itself a very emotional song, with sad melodies from the guitar and the violin weeping together as one, and it also has a faster doom chug somewhere in the middle to spice things up.

As good as the music is, as the album progresses I can't help but feel that there is a need for a change to the sensitive, sadboi grief and thankfully - albeit late - "They Saw It Come From The Sky" provides exactly that with its stoner-y and dissonant doom/death approach. "Lunar Child" has a spacey feel to it and an atmoblack-sounding, shimmering tremolo towards the end. Probably the most awe-provoking segment of the album is heard on "A Veil Of Silence", which begins with some whispered vocals and is nothing to write home about for approximately the first minute and a half but the remaining five minutes of the song are just otherwordly; the violin and guitar arpeggios are simply stunning and during the last two minutes of the track a soulful solo takes centre stage and absolutely crushes. It would have been the perfect ending for the album instead of "Red Water", not because their take on the Type O Negative classic is unworthy but because I would have preferred it either as a bonus track or placed elsewhere in the album sequence to add some variety since it is the only song that has female vocals.

It is evident that Celestial Season have tried to mirror and recapture the splendour of Solar Lovers. The atmosphere is there, the vintage sound is there, the musicianship is there, even the short interludes - characteristic of Solar Lovers - are there. However, the album didn't need to be one-hour long and there is one important piece missing that made the Solar Lovers puzzle so great and so original amidst all the Paradise Lost / My Dying Bride / Anathema clones of the '90s. I am not a stoner fan at all - quite the opposite - but the stoner elements in that album made it stand out, next to the excellent songwriting of course. The only song here that attempts something similar and out-of-the-box is "They Saw It Come From The Sky" and it is really good but not enough on its own.

2020 marks Solar Lovers' 25th anniversary, and if you don't know this album do yourself a favour and correct that immediately. The stoner era of Celestial Season is also worth checking out if you are into that style. However, since the band view The Secret Teachings as part of a doom trilogy, I will say that this part they just released is better than their debut but inferior to Solar Lovers. Which is quite commendable, all things considered.

"Your blackened smile
Betrays me while
I wish you near"


Written on 12.11.2020 by Only way to feel the noise is when it's good and loud!


Comments: 3   Visited by: 56 users
12.11.2020 - 10:50
It would have taken much longer for me to find out about Celestial Season if it wasn't for this album. Decent comeback, not much new.
Father: How can a picture of a field be sad without a sad person looking sad in the field?
Young Woman: That's an interesting problem. Yeah, I struggle with that.
12.11.2020 - 18:35
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
Written by RaduP on 12.11.2020 at 10:50

It would have taken much longer for me to find out about Celestial Season if it wasn't for this album. Decent comeback, not much new.

I knew them, know death doom. I know their change to stoner, i was sceptic when news came, but songs was ok, and I did listen it, its good
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
14.11.2020 - 07:47
Nice words for a nice comeback.
We Stand Tall ...
For No More Shall Our Souls ...
Rattle The Chains Of Saklas ...
And The Moon Over Sabaoth ...

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