Dutch death/doom legends Celestial Season returned to their miserable, gothic roots on Mysterium I, released earlier this year, and they are now releasing the second part of a promised trilogy that sees this journey continue back from a stoner doom style detour in the late 90s. A legendary band in tape trading circles back in the day, Mysterium I definitely gave me that early, Solar Lovers-era feel again, so let’s delve into its follow-up, Mysterium II. It is out in December through Burning World Records.
The Divine Duty Of Servants continues where Mysterium I left off, a morose churn of slow riffs drenched in sobbing guitar with a miserable, and even darker in tone. This is slithering into more melancholic death/doom territory, where growls meet sadness in an abyss of hopelessness. Was that a sax calling up from the deep there? Tomorrow Mourning is a truly sorrowful dirge, bringing to mind early My Dying Bride in windswept moors majesty as a haunting violin drifts like mizzling rain, while Our Nocturnal Love is a lighter, more uplifting interlude piece that gives us all a breather to absorb the more delicate side of what Celestial Season can do.
That dichotomy of light and dark is given form in the excellent In April Darkness, where heavy guitar and whispered growls gradually evolves into a more open and epic piece where the violin gives us hope rather than the mournful eulogy it has provided thus far. The Sun, the Moon And The Truth has a much gloomier atmosphere; delicate piano cuts through a hazy ambient fuzz before some nice Paradise Lost riffs appear to coil their way around your dying hearts.
When you get true, formative masters of a craft firing on all cylinders it is a pleasure to behold…
Pictures Of Endless Beauty – Copper Sunsets is where Celestial Season wrap everything together though; on the longest piece on the record, you get the weeping violin intro, equally melancholic guitar work that builds into gloomy gothic splendour. A central cliff face of undulating gothic melody strides beyond
Celestial Season were a band that I had only tangentially known until Mysterium I came around and I acquainted myself deeply into their back catalogue after that. Mysterium II may not be as earth shakingly revelatory as Forever Scarlet Passion but it stands proudly as a monolith of where Celestial Season have come from and also back to. When you get true, formative masters of a craft firing on all cylinders it is a pleasure to behold, and Mysterium II is definitely that. I cannot wait to see how they close out this trilogy because it is going to HAVE to be great.
Scribed by: Sandy Williamson