Chuck Schuldiner Project

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Caelestia - Beneath Abyss

Been craving dramatic songwriting and operatic vocals in your heavy metal but tired of the myriad paint-by-numbers corset metal bands that seem to dominate this oeuvre?  Well do yourself a favor and check out Caelestia and their new album "Beneath Abyss"!

Hailing from Athens, Greece, Caelestia have developed their sound around a unique combination of melodic death metal, symphonic/gothic metal, and elements of prog metal. The band wastes no time in making their style known, and track one, "Malleus Maleficarum " serves as a perfect introduction, ranging from lush orchestral keys and Epica-style latin choirs to catchy melo-death riffs and one section that verges on black metal. The track shows the diversity of sound one is going to be experiencing over the course of the album as a whole. The songwriting never relies too heavily on one trick, so none of the styles outstay their welcome and the listener is constantly left curious of what's going to come next. The band also has the signature hallmarks of a mediterranean metal band, with native melodies certainly playing a role in the music's influence and singer Dimitra Vintsou's accented voice helping her to stand out from her peers. It's incredibly refreshing to hear an operatic female vocalist who doesn't sound like she's doing a Tarja Turunen or Simone Simons impression, and Dimitra certainly has a vocal style unique to her which makes the music that much more enthralling.

As the album progresses from one grand, epic track to another the journey continues to be an interesting one. "Blessing of Tragedy" is for all intents and purposes power metal track (at least until the head-bang inducing melodeath bridges), "Secret Rite" features Sodom drummer Markus Freiwald for a Teutonic-Thrash infused track with strange eerie vocal melodies, and my personal favourite "The Rise of Hidden Nature" sounds something like if Dark Tranquility and Epica did a collaboration so of course it's fucking awesome.

In a period where female fronted European metal bands which feature operatic vocals are dime-a-dozen it's easy to overlook smaller bands like Caelestia who are at face value of the same ilk, but if you check out one band that fits this profile in 2015 make it this one. The tight songwriting, interesting melodies, great production, and non-derivativeness of the project make it an absolute pleasure to listen to and if there's any justice in the world ought to place Caelestia among the pantheon of great Greek metal bands.

Find them on Facebook!

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