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Celestial Season – Mysterium I Award winner

Celestial Season
Mysterium I
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 12 April 2022, 2:47 AM

CELESTIAL SEASON is a doom metal band from the Netherlands, in 1991.  These legends returned after twenty years with 2020’s excellent “The Secret Teachings.”  They continued their rise from the depths with the compilation album “The Merciful,” which is a remastered reissues of two rare demos from the 90’s; I reviewed that one as well and found it equally as engaging. Enter 2022 and the band is dropping their seventh full length album, “Mysterium I,” and it continues the upward trajectory they have been on since their return.  The album contains their signature Gothic death/doom sound and falls right in line with where they left off with “The Secret Teachings.”

The overall vibe, as I mentioned in my other reviews, is definitely and old school, vintage doom sound that mixed Gothic and death vibes together with classical flare.  As with their previous releases, their sound isn’t overly aggressive but is as morose and melancholic as can be expected.  What “Mysterium I,” gives up on on more biting avenues, it more than makes up with interesting song writing; despite its slow pace, there isn’t one dull moment across the seven track’s 40 minute run time. Actually, it is good the album is so much shorter than the previous full length because the result is a tight, more focused and full sound.  It really does do a great job in enveloping the listener in a certain mood.

The album opens with “Black Water Mirrors,” and it is laced with mournful violin over heavy guitar and bass.  Stefan’s growls are as deep and effortless as ever—his growls just seem to roll off the music, brutal but very comfortable in their surroundings. The stanzas consisting of those hard hitting riffs that capture the more intense side of the band but they split their time with a beautiful mid section that captures the magic of their more introspective side as well. They are melodic as well, such as the opening minute of “The Colden Light Of Late Day.”  Clean, spoken word glosses over the clean guitars and violins before the sun eventually gives way to night and the growls come out, slithering across the somber landscape.  The harmonies between the guitars are more present in this song, weaving a beautiful tapestry of doom.  The ending is very dirge like, a never ending funeral of dying light.

Sundown Transcends Us,” is a bit faster paced and begins with a surprisingly moody guitar solo that feels right at home with the more upbeat riffs.  But the down tuned misery returns as the band drops the hammer before returning once more to the surface.  This is a very well written song that mixes in several moods and the beautiful cello/violin after the three minute mark only boosts the feels. The band reaches into their deep well and pulls out musty, rotten soundscapes for “This Glorious Summer,” which sounds like the exact opposite of what the title might suggest. This is a dark track but one of my favorites—the drumming is tight as hell and I love the guitars that work their magic with melodies wrapping around the riffs.

Endgame,” is an interesting song, what with the way there isn’t much actual riff, just the guitars doing melodies and counter harmonies together—reminds me of DARK TRANQUILLITY’sThe Gallery,” album in places.  The bass peaks behind all the intertwining, providing a melodic low end that still compliments the song. Near the end, the music becomes baroque, a brief respite before the guitars shine once more.  Ever wanted to know what losing all hope sounds like like?  “All That Is Known,” can show you, down to every tear stained last second.  The guitars are simple but all consuming in their treacherous atmosphere. Although vocals are present, much of the song is music…and it will just reach into you and not let go of the heart strings. The final track, “Mysterium,” balances atmosphere and metal for the smoothest flowing song on the album.  The first half of the album is the build up of lush layers of music with the last half being more guitar oriented and containing plenty of death growls.

A fine ending to a might album, I say. CELESTIAL SEASON have a well deserved status and I’m glad their return has bared such fruitful endeavors.  “Mysterium I,” is another well met album of doom metal that will satisfy any of the band’s long time fans and will certainly garner them new ones.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Black Water Mirrors
2. The Golden Light of Late Day
3. Sundown Transcends Us
4. The Glorious Summer
5. Endgame
6. All That Is Known
7. Mysterium
Lucas van Slegtenhorst - Bass
Jason Köhnen - Drums, Various
Stefan Ruiters - Vocals
Olly Smit - Guitars
Pim van Zanen - Guitars
Jiska ter Bals  - Violin
Elianne Anemaat - Cello
Record Label: Burning World Records


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Edited 07 July 2022

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