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Celestiial - Desolate North review


4 users:
Band: Celestiial
Album: Desolate North
Release date: 2006

01. Into This Earth Of Shallow Intent
02. Haunting Cries Beneath The Lake Where Our Queen Once Walked
03. Lamentations In The Citadel Of God
04. Desolate North
05. Thule
06. Hinterland
07. Waldlander Im Herbst
08. Ashen

Celestiial is the one-man project of Tanner Anderson hailing from the US, moving in ambient funeral doom soundscapes. After his first attempt, "Ashen", Tanner managed to return with "Desolate North" and both the title and the sullen and depressive black-white cover of the album prepare the listener about what he's about to cherish.

Judging from the cover and the title you get the impression that "Desolate North" deals lyrically with themes like nature, especially the frozen and lonely beauty of the north, and this guess turns to reality from the moment you start getting into the soundscapes of Celestiial. Sounds of nature are present through the whole duration of the album and suddenly you find yourself lost in a northern forest by nightfall, in silence under the eternal stars, and that's when all these beautiful sounds you get to notice during the daylight become dreadful and weary; the sound of the flowing waters, the dissonant tunes of the weeping birds, the flowing of the wind, everything's there, accompanying your very agony and solitude. The overall atmosphere is unfriendly, unearthly and horrifying. Ultra slow ambient funeral doom soundscapes unfold their threatening face in front of your very eyes and there's nothing you can do to avoid this journey in these frozen forests of everlasting oblivion, filled with memories of the past that still haunt your very existence. The guitar riffing is ultra slow and the powerful heavy distortion of the guitars, along with the floating bass lines, evokes a noisy feeling in the air whereas the percussion paces in the same tempo as the riffing and sounds imposing, creating a distressing martching feeling towards the end. The percussion though shouldn't have been so monotonous, it could offer a slightly more varied way of expression, but in the end it becomes part of the soundscape and it won't bother you. Some acoustic guitar chords play an important role since they add a sense of melancholic melody in the overall overburdened atmosphere, the keyboard melodies are simplistic yet they never fail to evoke a tranquil and safe feeling in the surrounding darkness and along with the deep grunting vocals or tormenting screams lurking amidst the woods they complete the portrait of sadness that Tanner Anderson managed to create in such a natural and esoteric way.

"Desolate North" consists of 8 compositions, 4 of which move in ambient funeral doom soundscapes and the other half being small ambient and atmospheric pieces inbetween that ease the burden presented through the nightmarish visions of nature seen through Tanner Anderson's eyes. I enjoyed a lot this duality of emotions/atmosphere that is vivid in the overall feeling of the album, the calmness and beauty in one hand, the terror and dismay on the other. "Desolate North" flows definitely as one and there's no way you can seperate the album to pieces and say "i'll listen to this song for now", if you really want to lose yourself in the magic of Celestiial then you have to listen to it as a whole while all alone and cherish nature's two-fold power, the beauty and/or the horror.

I think all the friends of ambient funeral doom should purchase this release, it tends to present funeral doom through another point of view and that's something always admirable when it's done in an interesting way; and Celestiial achieved this.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Production: 8


Written on 07.10.2006 by "It is myself I have never met, whose face is pasted on the underside of my mind."


Comments: 3   Visited by: 18 users
07.10.2006 - 20:40
Account deleted
Lots of funeral doom on metalstorm lately, nice.
07.10.2006 - 20:44
Haha! Hell yeah! Doom what thou wilt, slow shall be the whole of the law!
Dec. 30, 1334.

...And the whiskey and wine entered our veins when blood was too weak to carry on.
27.10.2007 - 04:30
Southern Wind
Account deleted
I don't actually like the abuse in the sampling of nature sounds, the music loses its intrinsic quality... this album could be very good but all those frog croaks and owl howlings annoy me a bit...

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