Review Summary: Let’s talk about seafood for a second here…
After the year that was 2020, it could be said that I feel like entering this year quite tentatively. That’s not to say I was afraid of anything this year might offer me, but considering how we all felt the brunt of the year (without directly comparing my personal experience to anyone else's), I’d be lying if I didn’t reserve some anxiety for what’s yet to come. That said, I quietly promised myself two things; to take things as they come without planning too far ahead and to take care of myself* regardless of what the year ahead may offer me. Selfish? Probably, but at some point I think a larger part of ourselves can relate citing a perseverance of mental, physical and personal health. Even with that said, I find it hard not to lean on my musical brethren, particularly those within the contributing reviewing ranks of sputnikmusic[dot]com. What most of you guys might not know is that we lean on each other almost daily, a group of support, sarcasm and advice whether we ask for it or not and largely, it’s a credit to these fine people that I’m still here, doing what I do while finding release in new and current albums as the year progresses.
Yeah okay, that’s enough smoke and reflection… it’s probably time to stop gas-bagging and get to the matter at hand. These brethren, the fine roster of sput-contributors basically told me Celestial Swarm’s Gateway To The Necroverse
is right up my alley...and you know what? Those ***ers were one-hundred percent right.
To the fishy business:
Have you ever peeled a prawn and forgot to take the poop-shoot out? That feeling in your mouth as you begin the initial stages of digesting that bastard isn’t too far from the sonic texture of Gateway To The Necroverse
, especially on a first spin. The title (and opening) track lands with a primal ferocity befitting a dank expedition into the world of a delectable bottom feeder. That is to say that as grim as Celestial Swarm’s aesthetic is, it’s a tasty forty minute morsel of pernicious blackened death metal. “Forlorn Oblivion” is especially vile, providing a ferocious deluge of hammering blast beats and guttural roars - often switching tempos between the a-typically rapid fire and stomp riffs that jig and jag through the mix. Sure, it’s a formula that’s tried and true (not much in death and black metal is truly innovative anymore) but inside this hard exterior is an acquired taste, a treasure and delicacy.
The belly of Gateway To The Necroverse
is comparatively salacious next to the record’s more initiating pieces. “Hammer Of The Demiurge” is downright salubrious within extreme metal circles; offering intense, no-holds barred brutality without resorting to unnecessary levels of flamboyant contrasts and yet, there’s melody, just lurking in the background cutting through the murk. A hard shell with a salty interior - downright palatable for those with a taste for it. “The Harvesters” switches things up once again, showcasing the fact that while familiar, Gateway To The Necroverse
is no one trick effort no matter how much it relies on the genre’s typicality.
For what it’s worth (and as much of a cop-out as it is to say) some morsels are a delicacy and not for everyone. As much as I enjoy oysters I know there are those who naturally detest the snotty, slimy texture as it runs around their mouth. What I’m trying to say is I can hear why this sort of streamlined brutality wouldn’t appeal to those who prefer higher levels of atmosphere or a greater sense of melody and yet I can’t help but find appeal in the simplicity, almost straight-forwardness that Celestial Swarm has offered so early in the year 2021. Overall however, this is an excellent start to the extreme metal offerings of the year, while highlighting the fact that even the gritty, indigestible shells can contain treasures of a tasty sort.