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Constellatia – Magisterial Romance Award winner

Magisterial Romance
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 11 November 2022, 2:58 PM

From Bandcamp, “South African duo CONSTELLATIA takes an existential dive into human nature with their elegant and somber new album, “Magisterial Romance.” In addition to its deep and thought-provoking lyrics, the band’s Atmospheric and Progressive brand of Black Metal encapsulates the spectrum of human emotions with its larger-than-life romantic compositions and soulful ambience, creating an offering that is just as powerful and beautiful as it is vulnerable and devastating.” The album has four songs.

“Palace” is the first. The song drips with background ambiance, almost as if you were floating through space…imagine the sounds you might encounter. That it, until the vocals come in…they are both harsh and clean. The soundscapes are highly developed and melodic, and they but up against the aggressive vocals like a battering ram. The lead breaks are also very stylish. It’s beautifully depressive in many senses of that phrase. “In Vituperation” is another winner, that begins with charming notes and harsh vocals. The melodies are so subtle but so well developed that they make your heart ache the more you listen to them. What a gorgeous song! The vocals reach and early crescendo of absolute horror towards the mid-way point. It’s an ambient trip from there, in and out of consciousness, until the final harrowing moments.

“Adorn” begins with an open sea of tranquility. The back drop is very smooth without any edges, while the Black Metal vocals rage. Female cleans come in to wash away the filth. Cool waves flow around you, in various shades of blue that are every changing with each new note. The hash vocals are not black enough to pierce the titanium veil of light, though they try, and their vehemence is omnipresent. “Paean Emerging” is the closer. “Paean” means “a thing that expresses enthusiastic praise.” That is one of the many scents that fill your nose from this song. Breathe deeply, and take it all in…warm spices, tropical notes, and even some bitter flavors come to the surface. The two contrasts are a little more balanced in this song.

Every once in a while, and album will come across my desk that I am absolutely enthralled with. That is the case with this album. Elegant, somber, vulnerable, and devastating are fairly close definitions to their sound, but it is more than that. The progression and expansion of melody is one of the best advancements that I have heard this year. The fierce and torturous Black Metal vocals are the black spot in an otherwise regal sea of colors so vivid, you can’t find them anywhere on earth. The two elements are melded together into a lasting synergy throughout the album.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 10
Production: 9

5 Star Rating

1. Palace
2. In Vituperation
3. Adorn
4. Paean Emerging
Gideon Lamprecht – Bass, Guitars, Keys
Keenan Oakes – Vocals
Frank Schilperoort – Drums
Adam Hill – Guitars
Alison Rachel
Skye MacInnes
Record Label: Season of Mist Records


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