Celestial Sanctuary // Soul Diminished // Album Review
In the past 30 or so years, the UK has been home to some of the leading death metal bands.
Carcass, Napalm Death, Cancer & the almighty Bolt thrower. A new way of bands have been able to carry the torch into the last few years and now Celestial Sanctuary is burning that honour bright.
Formed by Tomás Cronin & originally a solo project between bands (check out his death thrash band Road Mutant, awesome act) and wanting to touch on the heavier side of music, more of a death metal influence Tomás wrote & recorded the bands “Mass Extinction” 2019 demo over a weekend & put it online for the world to grab a hold.
Creating a pretty big buzz in the underground scene, I heard many pers talk about Celestial Sanctuary. Sam from my new favourite band Frozen Soul couldn’t recommend them highly enough. And this is where I feel Celestial Sanctuary do what they do best, write music for the underground.
Knowing that Tom & the rest of the Celestial Sanctuary have been big parts of the hardcore, metal & death metal UK scenes for a long time you heard that within their music. Yes, it is predominantly brutal old school influenced death metal, but they add so many elements to “Soul Diminished” which makes it a very underground but very diverse album.
Mixing parts of doom, black metal & hardcore into death metal makes “Soul Diminished” a debut full-length something that will genre hop & see fans from all walks of the underground really enjoy the album.
“Rid The Gormless” opening the album with a banger, complex riffing and fast drums with heavy Morbid Angel vibes smashes straight into a break down that switches the song into the first part of the album that pricked my ears, mixing low death growls & high screams that really remind me of Dani Filth (which funnily Tom lives in the same county as ha!) already shows that the songwriting on this album is varied. Ending the track with a huge breakdown section straight into the blasting passage again is a great flourish.
The second track “Soul Diminished” is now my new favourite opening riff. Now I know “bolt thrower clone” is a sore subject to some but here it’s perfect. Part 4th Crusade & Scream Bloody Gore this title track is straight-up no-nonsense death metal at its basic form. Featuring breakdowns that would be normally heard at a Hatebreed or Cannibal Corpse show, The band’s songwriting keeps the tracks fresh & somewhat unpredictable.
“Wretched Habits” & “Mass Extinction” are two tracks that were written for the demo & have been re-recorded for the album & its great to hear them up to the standard of the album ready & nicely polished. Both tracks are big highlights of the album. “Wretched Habits” being my favourite of the older tracks it’s a great new lease of life for the song.
“Yearn For The Rot” is where the album takes a sudden turn & keeps you on your toes.
With a surprising acoustic guitar intro and straight into a drum tom pound the track bursts into a full-on Disma & Obituary worship. The longest track on the album creates a soundscape of terror & puts you within the front cover of the album, a hellscape of fear & anxiety.
Ending the album with “Formless Entity” is a perfect way to close the album. Opening with tribal drums & perfectly interweaved samples of screams, soundscapes & things no human should hear this track is a great surprise to end the album leaving you on a high & wanting more.
Celestial Sanctuary will be going far in 2021, and I know for one I can’t wait to see them live & unleash “Soul Diminished” onto the world.
Soul Diminished is out via Church Road Records on 26th March 2021