Celebratum
Mirroed Relvelation

SOD (USA)

Just when you thought old-styled Black Metal could only be improved by enhancing its elements with symphonic qualities, along comes Norway's Celebratum, which with Mirrored Revelation demonstrates that solid musicianship and crisp production can breathe new life into an seemingly saturated genre. All the classic elements are on display on this CD, from machinegun-nest barrages and blastbeats to screeching guitar work to howling vocals. However, Celebratum has modified these elements, improving every facet so that the end result remains brutal but also brings with it melody and a certain amount of accessibility. For example, battery-master Vargon supplements his blastbeats and juggernaut rhythms with some refined kit work. Vocalist Romul uses traditional demon screeches, yet he inflects thesewith a certain amount of harshness and intonation that augments his voice quite nicely. And then there are the guitars, which one moment hiss and spew and the next create intricately arranged harmonies and crunchy hooks. In total, Celebratum sounds clean and yet the brutality remains intact. Lyrically, theband sticks with traditional themes, including the end of humanity, the Dark One's rise to power, releasing evil from inside, and so on. Although there is not much new here, the compositions are rendered well and the images are interesting. I will go as far as to say that Celebratum has the potential to rejuvenate old-styled Black Metal. Without resorting to keyboards, samples, symphonic structures, or other elements to augment mood, Celebratum has succeeded in using solid musicianship and technical prowess to create epic vistas of Black Metal that are both intense and harmonic. (OR) - 666 Fucking Skulls