To say funeral doom is a metal genre with an acquired taste is a bold understatement. Don't get me wrong, I love funeral doom and the last funeral doom CD that I got that left a favorable impression was Ahab's "The Call Of The Wretched Sea". That album was so good from start to finish I was unable to listen to other doom albums for a while because they seemed, well, boring! Let's face it; sitting through an hour of snail-paced music is tough. With that being said, it is possible to accomplish that feat but it takes a strong album to do that. Celestiial's "Desolate North" CD does just that. With 8 songs clocking in at around 45 minutes, Celestiial have succeeded where so many other funeral doom bands have failed - by creating interesting music accompanied by a strong, natural theme.
The first song, Into This Earth Of Shallow Intent, is a short acoustic passage with the earthly sounds of nature in the background. Setting the tone for the rest of the album, it leads into the 9 minute long, Haunting Cries Beneath The Lake Where Our Queen Once Walked. Accompanied by harrowing natural sounds, it is a very minimalistic song and the pace is extremely slow. However, the grim undertones of the vocals and background noises make for an easy listen. Next comes Lamentations In The Citadel Of God. With the pace even slower and the vocals at their peak grimness, this song is both torturous and soothing. The fourth song, Desolate North, is a grim acoustic piano passage that will leave you depressed and unfulfilled. The next song, Thule, continues the slow pace but is accompanied by rain and thunderstorms in the background to create a very chilling mood for listening to this kind of music. The 6th song is Vinterland, another acoustic piano piece that could easily fit into an early 80's horror flick. Although soft and calm, it is equally intense and eerie. Waldlander In Verbst is a frightening song that will leave you cold and empty inside. It also contains some elements of black metal to add to the desolation. The final track, Ashen, is made up of strange guitar tones with chirping birds in the background and is the perfect round out to this disheartening CD.
I can't say that I would recommend Celestiial's Desolate North for everyone, but if you're a fan of funeral doom, then you cannot go without getting or listening to this CD. I would easily rate this among my top 3 all-time favorite funeral doom albums. A must buy for doom metal fans!
About this Writer: David Loveless // Dave's early introduction to Metal was listening to records by Black Sabbath and Kiss. Discovering Metallica's Master of Puppets on record at the local public library turned his world upside down. After spending nearly 24 years in Japan and expanding his love for the International underground metal scene, Dave (and family) now resides in the US. The savage brutality of Extreme Metal brings out the "Grim Gaijin" in him.
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