Washington-based symphonic black metal outfit Ceremonial Castings was formed in 1996 by Nick Superchi (keyboards, piano, bass), and Jake Superchi (vocals, guitars, and bass). They embarked on a journey to produce some of the most prolific works within the U.S. underground black metal scene. With eleven albums under their belt, the duo tackled various forms of symphonic/melodic black metal. Their early formation saw a great measure and presentation from this splendid outfit, Ceremonial Castings’ symphonic sound is perhaps what makes them so unique. In honor of the band’s twenty-fifth anniversary, Eisenwald offers an introspective release aptly titled “Our Journey through Forever”. The modern recordings of the band’s early works are presented by a reflective palette of twenty tracks, that defines the aesthetics and the symphonic cliché of the second wave of black metal. Ceremonial Castings renews its mysterious connection to New England’s dark history focusing on the curse that was cast upon John Hawthorne’s bloodline.
The album kicks off with “Come Forth…Damnation” which is brimming with powerful guitar lines and a thematic synthesizer. The band presents a concoction of symphonic black metal, the re-recorded songs are harsher and full of theatrical keyboards, where “Our Journey through Forever” serves as a vicious and memorable track. The guitar melodies are the highlight of this track. The Superchi brothers and drummer Matt Mattern elaborate on the musical structures. “My Kingdom of Cold Sorrows” and “I; a Thousand Fires” emphasize the musical expertness, the flowing composition of the catchy guitars varies from simple rhythm to upbeat tempo.
Though the drums are ruthlessly played, the melodies are slow-burning, each track span for seven minutes plus. Ceremonial Castings mainly follow the symphonic formula and the songwriting leans on the second wave of black metal. Both the guitars and synth create sinister musical themes, which give them an alluring sound. “Bewitching Black Metal” contains some beautiful airy synthesizer and raspy vocals bolstered by bouncy guitars and solid drumming. While a track like “Desecration of Grace” features some semi-operatic female vocals, the band really makes great use of these symphonic touches and they’re often rippled with catchy riffs. There are plenty of elements that will remind you of bands like Cradle of Filth, Dimmu Borgir, and Obtained Enslavement.
Another great example of the band’s composition is found in “Midnight Deathcult Phenomena”, which incorporates fast drumming sections. The symphonic passages are full of hooks with vicious vocals certainly showing the quality of the band. The track hits its climax in the mid-tempo sections where the vocals paint sorrowful moments and the keyboards are pivotal in adding a lot of depth to the music. Disc 2 opens with “Darkness & War”, drowning the listener in the barbaric outburst of the drums, the synth and the guitars are glued together creating superb momentum to the bouncy guitars. The only unfitting element maybe are the clean vocals that seem out of focus, though they are often used on tracks like “Into the Black Forest of Witchery”.
“Sweet Misery I Foresee” spans around nine minutes long and begins with a gothic synth intro when the drums shift to tremendous gear. The band conveys impressive synth passages, the raspy vocals and the guitars deliver unceasing aggression. There is a great deal of quality within the selected songs. Charging black metal riffs are awash with tremolos. There is plenty of quality among the remaining songs like “Barbaric is the Beast” which begins with hyper-fast drums, atmospheric keyboards, and demonic shrieking. “Frostseasongoddess” includes some fast-paced sections, low-spoken words, and folkish melodies. On other songs like “Human Slave Infantry”, Ceremonial Castings maintains solid aggression though the synth is always on the forefront and the guitars are somewhat buried in the mix. “A Serpent’s Kiss” sweeps with bombastic guitars and epic synth, catchy melodic hooks without sacrificing their theatrical gimmicks the track offers some wonderful moments.
“Universal Funeral March” contains some pleasing elements of gothic synth the riffs on this track are heavy adding a superb boost to the atmosphere. The final track “The Coming of Dawn We Fear” showcases powerful outbursts from the drums, while the keyboards are quite engaging and simultaneously catchy. “Our Journey through Forever” is a tour de force that highlights the band’s early works. The double album is a must-have for fans of Ceremonial Castings, and is highly recommended if you like early Dimmu Borgir, Obtained Enslavement, and Old Man’s Child.
Release Date: February 25th, 2022
- Come Forth…Damnation
- Immortal Black Art
- Our Journey Through Forever
- My Kingdom of Cold Sorrows
- I; a Thousand Fires
- Bewitching Black Metal
- The Purifier of Battle Pt. I
- Desecration of Grace
- The Fall of Man
- Midnight Death Cult Phenomena
- Darkness & War
- Into the Black Forest of Witchery
- Sweet Misery I Foresee
- Barbaric is the Beast
- Human Slave Infantry
- The Purifier of Battle Pt.II
- A Serpent’s Kiss
- Universal Funeral March
- The Coming of Dawn We Fear