Ceremonial Castings
Immortal Black Art


4.0
excellent

Review

by Andrew K. USER (12 Reviews)
February 8th, 2011 | 13 replies | 3,700 views


Release Date: 2005 | Tracklist

Review Summary: With so much going on throughout the album, Ceremonial Castings has something both good and bad to offer to everybody.

2 of 2 thought this review was well written

Almost every album you hear will have redeeming qualities as well as flaws to you. You can pick out what is going well for the CD as well as what doesn’t quite click. In Ceremonial Castings’ 2005 release Immortal Black Art, this is a task that will yield different results for many listeners. Amongst the excellent musicianship lies a wide array of vocals that can be hit or miss depending on one’s musical taste, along with keyboards and synthesizers aplenty throughout virtually every track. These factors can come across as a welcome addition to some, and a major detraction to the album’s overall quality to others.

So many things on Immortal Black Art are going on that one would imagine it would be difficult to keep track of what’s going on at times. Allow me to assure you, it can be. At times you may find yourself listening to an orchestral background melody whilst furiously paced tremolo riffs accompanied by an onslaught of blast beats and rasping shrieks hammer themselves against your eardrums all at once. It can be overwhelming, but not in a way that detracts from the album. Unlike other similar cases where many instrumental passages can overpower each other, Ceremonial Castings does a fine job at keeping each piece in place so that every instrument splits the spotlight evenly. The chaos of the instrumental overdrive is not the flaw in the musicianship but rather the consistent inclusion of keyboards, synthesized backbeats, or whatever else the band could think of. Operatic voices and fleeting keyboards only begin to describe the slew of strange sounds you will come across in Immortal Black Art, not always to a positive extent. Although they bring a symphonic sound to the album, they never feel necessary when they are present, nor are they missed when absent.

Not without certain specific praise however, the instrumental half of the album does have its highlights. The guitar in particular constructs some very interesting melodies ranging from standard black metal tremolo riffs but also riffs that have a heavy metal or thrash metal sound to them. Never faltering throughout the entire course of the album, the guitar riffs maintain a reliable quality that hardly ever strays from being fully captivating. The same cannot be said about other instruments however. Bass production seems to have been fairly low on the band’s “to do” list during the creation of the album. Drum beats sound flat without anything short of poor production quality, and as for the bassist, it’s debatable if there even is one. The aforementioned keyboards and synthesizers bring a largely unneeded “symphonic” sound to the album that, while appealing at some times, is nothing but a nuisance at others. Too often does a raw and savage portion of a song receive an unwelcome keyboard melody which ranges from being nothing but a small pest to an utter frustration. From a compositional standpoint, the band did a great job. But when delivered along with the rest of the passage they just aren’t enough to save the fact that it just doesn’t fit.

Of all the characteristics this album possesses, the vocals will be the biggest source of love or hate. Shrieks typical of the black metal genre are found plentifully, but also deep death growls and even completely clean, almost spoken vocals. When emitting his shrill scream, vocalist Jake “The Serpent” Superchi has a sound that is not particularly good or bad, simply average. The growls on the other hand, can pose to be a major turn off to some, appearing much more frequently than one would imagine on a black metal release. Not a particularly high quality growl by any means, but not so awful that you will hang your head in shame. The spoken vocals can prove to be the “neutral” vocal delivery of the album, being neither bad or good, nor even necessarily irritating. On rare occasions such as on the title track, the shrieking highs will be overlayed upon monotonously delivered spoken passages. Neat sounding for a moment, they eventually start to drone on and on and begin to become bothersome.

The final point of recognition on the album is the cover of Transilvanian Hunger. A very well-known Darkthrone song from the album of the same name, Ceremonial Castings amps up the speed to the point of shortening the song by almost a minute and a half. Although the tempo is cranked upwards, the cover remains fairly good and is not a weak point or strong point on the album, simply a nifty cover of a quality black metal tune.

Even though Immortal Black Art is certainly full of shortcomings, what keeps it on a good track is that these shortcomings are seldom enough to do any significant damage to the album’s final outcome. These shortcomings will be different for everybody and of varying degrees, but no matter what angle you look place it at, you are left with a solid release in the black metal genre.



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user ratings (7)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Ending
February 8th 2011



1893 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Fifth review. Really a cool album, but so much variety that the "pros and cons" of everybody will probably be pretty mixed. Definitely worth a listen in my opinion though, if not only so you can hear all of the things going on at once during the album.

As always, feedback is appreciated, be it constructive criticism or well-spoken praise.

Also, I'm looking for new stuff to listen to so I can try to give a negative review of something so I don't come across as an "only reviews what they like" person and because I simply would like to give a shot at writing a negative review without sounding condemning or condoning. Recommendations always welcome.

Hawks
February 8th 2011



35553 Comments


Nice review man. This sounds pretty damn awesome.

Digging: Sun Worship - Elder Giants

Ending
February 8th 2011



1893 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Nice review man. This sounds pretty damn awesome.


Thank you, appreciation always... appreciated. :P
Yeah, it's definitely really cool. But unfortunately, "cool" does not always equal "good." I'd give a shot for sure though, just because it's a real hit or miss album.



Hawks
February 8th 2011



35553 Comments


Well I should really like it, just based on the description and the recommended albums.

AngelofDeath
Staff Reviewer
February 8th 2011



16134 Comments


I wouldn't really give a hit-or-miss album a 4, but this sure does have some kick-ass album art.

Ending
February 8th 2011



1893 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I wouldn't really give a hit-or-miss album a 4, but this sure does have some kick-ass album
art.


The album cover is what initially led me to buy this album to be completely honest. The quality itself
is not necessarily hit or miss, but rather the qualities of it. In other words, the "hit or miss"
comes more from the traits of the album than the album itself.

Jips
February 9th 2011



1129 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Just might have to check this out...

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
February 9th 2011



15783 Comments


Nice review

Digging: Maybeshewill - Fair Youth

sifFlammable
February 9th 2011



2741 Comments


is this album corny

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
February 9th 2011



16309 Comments


Really, really dislike symphonic black metal but the review was good nonetheless.

Digging: Ulver - Bergtatt

Ending
February 9th 2011



1893 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Just might have to check this out...

I definitely would recommend it. No harm in trying.

is this album corny

Musically, no, it's pretty quality musicianship. Lyrically, it can be pretty unoriginal at times but not to the point of "corny" in my opinion.

Really, really dislike symphonic black metal but the review was good nonetheless.

That's fine, preferences will be preferences. But thank you, nonetheless. : )

Jips
February 11th 2011



1129 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Tried it... Was ok...

TheSpirit
February 11th 2011



17699 Comments


One of the better sympho black metal bands around

Digging: Venus Star - Nigredo Expulsion



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