To play black metal in today’s environment with so many subgenres, not even the dark one himself can keep up with them all and still stand out and have an original sounding idea while at the same time, making a name for themselves is sure not an easy task which few manage to do. French Celeste, whom have been around for a while and declared that they’re not going anywhere, makes a record that will be on my list of top albums 2013, so yes they succeeded.
Being a black metal fan as a kid when the second wave of struck with bands I don’t even need to name, I’m very critical, but these French lads enlightens that black flame inside of me I remember from many years ago when discovering a great black metal outfit for the first time.
Celeste is described as black metal/hardcore which I don’t think is totally accurate. Sure I can sense some hardcore vibes, especially in the vocals which are like a mix of hardcore or sludge and speaking about sludge, there’s a lot of it in the music and not just the vocals. With the angry screaming and the eerie screeching black metal vocals the originality reaches even higher. Sludge/black metal with a hardcore touch is more accurate description.
The lyrics are all in French so I don’t understand a word. However, for me that’s one of the charms of Celeste. If I knew what the texts were saying, it wouldn’t be the same. Just the sound of Mr Johan’s voice is enough and for some reason, French works so good when shouted harshly. The lyrics are printed so if one wishes to know what the hell they’re on about, go ahead but don’t tell me, I prefer to keep things illusive.
After releasing four full length albums in four years, it took three years to get ‘Animale(s)’ released by Denovali Records which all of their previous releases are on. Why the long time between this record, one can wonder and I have a few ideas. First of all this is a double LP with a whopping twelve songs so writing all that would take some time and I also know Celeste plays live a lot and was a part of Roadburn in 2012.
There is so much going on with this album from slow sludge like instrumental songs, to total blasting chaos and some mid pace melodies thrown in the mix. The sound isn’t your typical black metal with the extremely screechy guitars but you can for certain hear that it’s black metal. For me personally it’s not easy nowadays to get me excited over this genre in general and I think I can count the bands (not 90’s era black metal included) that are worth listening to on my hands, or even one hand.
Some people may think Celeste haven’t evolved through the years and I have to admit, I wouldn’t be able to tell you what album a song is from if you put all their releases on shuffle, well maybe ‘Animale(s)’ because I’ve been listening to it every day since it came out, but it’s like all the records they’ve released are just one big long track, getting better and better with every song and I hope they keep doing that. The sound of each instrument and the vocals haven’t changed one bit since Nihiliste(s) was released back in 2007. The only difference heard, at least in my ears, is the production being a little bit different from album to album, but not in the sound itself. Its pitch black desperate sounding, crushing music yet heavy with the sludge touch. You have never heard anything like it.
Scribed by: Johannes van der Meer