Death Metal, Metal

Celestial Sanctuary – Soul Diminished (Review)

Band: Celestial Sanctuary
Album: Soul Diminished
Genre: Death Metal
Country: United Kingdom
Release Date: 26th of March, 2021
Released via Redefining Darkness/Church Road Records/Sewer Rot Records 
Cover Artwork © Wyrmwalk

Celestial Sanctuary – Death Metal from Great Britain, named after a song of the glorious Bolt Thrower and also with personnel overlaps with the crossover band Road Mutant, which has made a name for itself since their split with Inhuman Nature and immediately aroused my interest on this record. A few days ago the LP version of the debut album Soul Diminished arrived at my place, which logically led to the fact that I dealt more intensively with the Brits and their 9-track strong long player. I was curious to know whether the self-chosen and promising genre designation New Wave Of British Death Metal also delivers what it seems to promise and can thus tie in with the current pack of up-and-coming Death Metal artists. With the awesome looking artwork done by Wyrmwalk and such a good band name they can easily score in at least a few categories even before listening!

The album kicks off really heavy and thrills right away with a great sound production that immediately presses you deeper into your seat. Celestial Sanctuary do not want to take any prisoners here, that’s for sure. From vicious, heavy hitting guitar parts to the brutal bass drum and the evil vocals, Soul Diminished hits you straight in your face. Even the cymbal playing here knows how to give the listener a real treat, with its clanging tones reminiscent of swinging a forge hammer on an anvil. The Brits smash around properly with some tasty midtempo parts and show what New Wave Of British Death Metal is all about. In between they are adding a few striking squeaking effects of the guitar, which provide a nice contrast to the otherwise throughout bitterly malevolent chainsaw riffing, but in no way lighten up the sound. The songwriting, besides the consistently strong instrumentals, shows a bit of weaknesses the more you run through the record, which is why, apart from the alternation of some good Bolt Thrower-moderate stomping passages and occasional thrusts, you only get a small bunch of elements that stick in your mind because of its catchiness. The album as a whole, however, still impresses with its intense bludgeoning sound and leaves a certain effect on you especially with its nasty sawing guitar sound and the absolutely bestial attacking growls.

Soul Diminished was officially released on March 26, 2021 with the vinyl and CD version being a co-release between Redefining Darkness and Church Road Records. The first pressing was completely sold out after a short time but a second one has already been announced for August. If you prefer to get a cassette, you can find it at Sewer Rot Records, but you should be quick to get a copy, because this format will surely be sold out that fast as well.

Celestial Sanctuary present a strong debut with Soul Diminished, which can score points mainly thanks to its great massive production and a number of instrumental refinements. However, the Brits can still work a bit on the songwriting so that even more parts will stick in the future, as it is the case here. The album can be listened to easily in one piece and bludgeons free its way mercilessly, while the songs, individually considered, definitely still have some room for improvement in the area of recognition value, in order to be able to stand out from the broad mass of strong current Death Metal tracks. Nevertheless, Soul Diminished satisfies nearly all cravings of die-hard genre fans and shows that the so called New Wave Of British Death Metal is still in the starting blocks but also ready to cause for furore in time. If you just want to have your brain melt soft by some heavy and nasty sounds, you’ll find the right vein in this record.

Favourite Tracks:
“Wretched Habits”
“Endless Chasm”

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