Review: Churning doom with an inner lining of melody that accompanies its context of shuddering, thunderous power chords through a parallel harmony which builds intensity before it collapses in a rumbling bulk of decomposing structure accentuated by percussion distinguished for its subtle grasp of rhythmic essence without dedication to boundaries, the first Ceremonium album builds atmosphere and develops it with a subtle grace reminiscent of Varathron or early Paradise Lost.
Morbid yet romantic moods attach to a leading melody line which fragments across doubled breakdowns and then begins through a devolution of the layers it had produced to create a final statement which is expressed in the cavernous resonance of low-end sound as the product of a tiered matrix of doom metal dirge riffs which resemble a mechanical adding machine in function. In this mechanism emotion is carried by emphasis of vocals, which enunciate in a slow growl reminsicent of Lee Dorrian in early Cathedral, and around these a resonance of impact points within melodies building a mood sustain one another through reintroducing components of their mutually chiastic direction. Throughout this intensity of low-end vocal/strings interchange internal motions escape to the conscious surface and are expressed, shudderingly, as redirections down a new path of divergent melody mirroring the structure and conclusions of its ancestor.
For what doom delivers it renders well the emotion created by a rumbling wasteland of sound in which innocent and naturally simple melodies repeat in changing tonal positions and consequently intensity the degree of background anticipation in sound carried in the vibrations of related structure in the continuing strand of phrase, slowly piling morbid collapse on top of itself to reflect the mindset in which this music makes sense. At that point of listener intersecting the information space that "Into the Autumn Shade" projects the remaining constructions are an exercise in metal songbuilding and tactical development of musical expression, highlighting both the writing and playing process. Smooth transitions and rumbling tempo changes hovering just inside of indecision, and the evolution of chorus giving way to sensual descents into lower tonal harmonies, support with a technicalist version of populist songwriting ideal the isolated and schizophrenic emotional self-identification of grinding death metal under a layer of precise melody.
Lead guitar slices through a series of dynamic tonal leaps and interlocking response patterns, proving understated for greater power as is most instrumentation. Of note are dry-throat guttural vocalizations. Underestimated in its time, the first album by Ceremonium exposes the listener to waves of a proficient doomy resonance and immerses those who in turn vibrate to the unlocking codex of information therein in an atmosphere of lingering, immanent, energetic abyssic void and hopelessness in human beings.
Review: Using the multiplicative weight of expectation in tone centric music Ceremonium utilize ladders of spanning harmonic motion in a matrix of change expanding to include both riff variant phrasing and internal induction of melodies constructed in a parallel modality at harmonic intervals, producing the sense of continuous assimilation into growth as melodies rise and inevitably, descend, to the low-end root note. This thunder-and-beauty aspect of doom metal construction, seen on the last Ceremonium album, is enhanced by a "dark metal" sensibility and built on the foundations of melodic metal, namely early Finnish and Swedish death metal in the vein of Sentenced, Unanimated, Amorphis and Unleashed.
As technique this foundation provides a credible basis for longer melodic attention spans in the black metal style to smoothly integrate reification of conceptual abstract within a wall of aggressive but here precise and artfully used instrumental knowledge, making "No Longer Silent" one of the more lucid fusions of these ideas presented since the demise of black metal in 1996. Direct attacks in progressions of riff iterating rhythm through the points of a melody assembled in conclusive denouement in the epic metal style of Black Sabbath or Judas Priest, placing song structure into a recombinant but complex series of layers switching a matrix of bits stored in coordinates of relative distance to a resonant core, build song intensity as harmonic layering in the style that Scandinavian melodic bands adapted from Iron Maiden. A faithful cover of "Cromlech" from the first and underrated Darkthrone album, with the savagely morbid directness and degenerately rigid rhythmic synchronization of American death metal, also hearkens to the ancients.
Thick guttural vocals etch a counter-rhythm and underline melody with a context of tone resonance within the lower registers, accompanying drumming which varies between basic but reflectively precise and minimal patterns schooled in the hardcore/jazz fusion style of snare-dominated percussion. Space built from this and resonant aspects of guitar and bass fused within the most primal range of lower octaves drives an atmospheric sense of regression and primitive redirection of reality to serve the growing awareness - with it coming a shadowy fear. Most instrumentalism acquires the proficient and understated flavor of black metal instrumentalism while maintaining smoothly integrated "technical" death metal styles of information pattern-forming distribution, and the abstractly accurate tempo changes leap across beats as melodic continuity does, with a pattern suggesting its own next emphasis as will be reflected in an entirely redesigned direction.
As primal and regressive as many riffs here are for the expression of mood, an overall emphasis throughout the music is in the spirit of death metal the building of complexity in an abstract informational view of reality, giving a metaphorical ambience to the conceptualizations unfolded with the lyrical elegance and romanticism of black metal. Faster work complements the majority of these songs with the ability to distribute a harmonic space for radical change, such as the well-integrated and powerful doom metal elements which use the mellifluous interaction of notes vibrating at related frequencies to suggest spatial change and eventually through that mechanism, deconstruction of the paradoxical dissonance encoded in the harmonic spacing of each melodic line. A landmark for this genre, and a progression forward for future fusions, the second album from Ceremonium projects its dark flavor of emotion with mental presence and adept accuracy.