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Celestia
Frigidiis Apotheosia : Abstinencia Genesiis

Company: Paragon Records
Release: 2008
Genre: Black
Reviewer: Etiam

  • An absorbing album that somewhat lets down



  • Since Celestia's formation in the mid-90s, the band has been a respected presence in the modern French black metal scene, mainly from the strength of their demos and one live album. Their 2002 LP debut, 'Apparitia - Sumptuous Spectre', is a genre classic, and through re-releases in 2006 and '07 it garnered the band some mainstream attention. As such, it hardly seems six years since we've heard an LP of new material, but here it lies--'Frigidiis Apotheosia : Abstinencia Genesiis'.

    At first blush, it seems that little has changed for Noktu and company, as this album features many of Celestia's most distinctive qualities--the gurgling vocals placed uncomfortably high in the mix, the strong basslines, and the arcane melodies that were the highlight of 'Apparatia...'. With a second spin, however, we begin to see the impact the past years have had on Noktu's writing.

    To wit, the mood. Although minor key tremolo is still the order of the day for 'Frigidiis', which features identical production to 'Apparatia...', the new LP is ultimately gloomy rather than grandiose, more murky than melancholy. This new tone is set during the first interlude of the opening track, where the minor triads creep chromatically downwards, dispensing with the traditionally diatonic and nearly classical sense of melody Noktu has used in the past. (Some of that touch still shows, thankfully, during the refined acoustic interludes featured in some songs.) Though interesting in theory, this approach causes many tracks to feel plodding, and the positive momentum Noktu so easily invokes is cut short with frustrating regularity. One of the most successful stylistic integrations occurs during 'The Seed of Negation', where that same, deliberate kind of chord articulation is underpinned by shifting keyboards that support the song's tempo transition, if not necessarily its heavy-handed final lead.

    Not helping the atmosphere are the programmed drums. For many bands, canned percussion is an unfortunate necessity, but it hardly seemed that the Celestia would lack for applicants; despite Noktu's best efforts and the presence of some cure-all ambiance, the tone of 'Frigidiis...' is certainly less regal than it could have been. Also, though Noktu's song titles have always a little perplexing ('A Cave Full of Bats'?), they now seem to be becoming remarkably more obtuse: 'A Regrettable Misinterpretation of Mournfulness' (in fact a regrettabley forgettable near-instrumental), 'Death of the Lizard Queen (Necro Phaanthasma)', etc. A song title faux-pas can be overlooked for quality music--'There Is 666 Trees in My Forest?--but since 'Frigidiis...' finds Noktu a little musically at odds, one feels more entitled to crack down on bizarre, potentially distracting lyrics.

    Nonetheless, 'Frigidiis Apotheosia' is an absorbing album that does not besmirch the Celestia name. Given the band's towering reputation, it's only proper that their musical identity begin to expand along with their discography. It's just unlikely that traditionalist fans were quite prepared 'Frigidiis...', and despite its qualities one cannot help but feel somewhat let down.


    Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
    5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
    4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
    3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
    3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
    2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
    1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
    0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

    Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

    Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

    The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



    ALL FULL REVIEWS FOR: CELESTIA
    CD
    TITLE BAND
    DOR
    REVIEWER DATE
    Frigidiis Apotheosia : Abstinencia GenesiisCelestia
    2008
    Etiam1/23/2009


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