Where Life Springs Eternal

Written by: EW on 06/03/2010 21:13:02

Ahhh, miserable rain-sodden tortuous funeral doom played at tectonic speeds...who doesn't love it? Minnesotans Celestiial, another Bindrune Recordings artist, are here with their second full length "Where Life Springs Eternal", an interesting choice of title either with some deep meaning I am unaware of or a healthy dose of humour given the prosaic and lifeless nature of it's recording. The funeral doom world isn't renowned for it's humourous side so I'd imagine it's the former of those two options.

I always find the rating of such funereal albums difficult given the stylistic limitations inherent in the fostering of a sound so reliant on atmosphere against the more common speed of the composition, which for the majority of "Where..." finds itself barely pushing double digit beats per minute. The rainy bleak introduction "Spell Over Still Water" slowly leads you the listener in without really doing much in it's 4 minutes before it is time to approach the gargantuan "Great Storms Carry My Sadness"; at 30 minutes long and a mixture of classic funereal procession and pained screamed lyrics interspersed with spacey synth, the lush sound of running water and even bird noise, it is one hell of a mindfuck. The sound is typical of a Thergothon-inspired funeral doom album, that being as black and desolate as is possible on planet Earth, with snare hits echoing off into the sounds of the netherworld and guitars high on reverb and delay, and in the construction of the songs too Celestiial are pretty formulaic. With two long songs on the record being surrounded by three shorter ones it is these that lead the descent into nothingness, changing little and travelling even less in the vast expanses of time that they eat up.

The theme of water is carried throughout the album, utilised in the pretty piano and acoustic guitar instrumental "From Elm Blossoms A Rose" until it swiftly clears to be replaced by the distant guitar tones of 16-minute "Offering In Cedar Smoke". Given the static nature of "Where Life Springs Eternal"'s main pieces it is left to the atmosphere being generated to lift the album above the pack, and thankfully for Celestiial this is their trump card. The vastness of their sounds, achieved primarily through the drum production and clever usage of guitar tones and feedback, rather than the easy get-out clause of heavy synth, is compelling as it sucks you into it's void generating feelings of total lifelessness and desolation in a post-apocalyptic human-free environment. While very much funeral doom in nature, this sound is reminiscent of black metallers Blut Aus Nord in it's colossally abstract and impenetrable feel and is the key ingredient to making "Where Life Springs Eternal" the good album that it is.

Though unlikely to achieve much adoration in the closeted and sparse world of funeral doom metal, Celestiial have at least provided an album certifiably better than the norm and a template which could be improved upon by them in the future with the mastery of atmosphere that has been displayed here.


Download: Offering In Cedar Smoke, From Elm Blossoms A Rose
For The Fans Of: Thergothon, Skepticism, Blut Aus Nord
Listen: Myspace (No band Myspace)

Release date 01.03.2010
Bindrune Recordings

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