Nearly twenty years after their last studio album, Dutch cult doom-metal group Celestial Season announce their return with a new album titled “The Secret Teachings”, due out on October 23rd 2020 via Burning World Records.
Formed in the early nineties, the Dutch group attained international acclaim with their first two full-length albums, “Forever Scarlet Passion” from 1993 and “Solar Lovers” from 1995, both still regarded as seminal doom-metal releases right next to Anathema’s “Serenades”, Paradise Lost’s “Gothic” and My Dying Bride’s “Turn Loose the Swans”.
A mix of the “Forever Scarlet Passion” line-up and “Solar Lovers” line-up re-grouped to create what they labelled as the ‘Doom Era’ line up; with Stefan Ruiters back on vocals, Lucas van Slegtenhorst on bass, Olly Smit and Pim van Zanen on guitars, Jason Köhnen on drums and Jiska Ter Bals back on violin and Elianne Anemaat on cello.
Burning World Records will proudly release the new album along with the re-release of the previous two ‘Doom Era’ LPs : “Forever Scarlet Passion” and “Solar Lovers”, both albums remastered from the original tapes by James Plotkin.
Over a hour of melancholic doom. Doom with heart and soul from a band mostly forgotten to time. That it would be 2020 when they chose to make their triumphant return is kind of bitter-sweet. Regardless of the chaos that has gripped the world though, it’s music that bounds everyone. Music can make you feel even if you believe your heart is made of stone.
Celestial Season’s The Secret Teachings is one such album that will make you feel even if it is an utterly crushing doom release.
The emotive melodies and they way in which they calmly move from darker and filthier times to gorgeous tear-jerking moments is top-shelf stuff. The first handful of tracks on this exhausting journey setting the stage perfectly. The Secret Teachings of All Ages and For Twisted Loveless, the arduous steps that lead downwards into the gloom.
A gloom that suddenly envelopes with the much rougher and much more intense The Ourobouros. The sadness of the violin and more becoming almost unbearable against the harsh reality of doom.
A short and peaceful effort with Dolores momentarily clears the sight only for the depressing weight of Long Forlorn Tears to come crashing down. It’s incredibly emotional and a highlight of this journey.
A journey that is still really only getting started. Celestial Season building on the strength of what they’ve produced so far with the delectable Amor Fati, the mysterious White Lotus Day and the troubling gloom of Salt of the Earth. The draining power of the latter in particular is something to admire, if you can muster up the energy.
Amazingly though, Celestial Season have something to help with that and it’s called They Saw It Come From the Sky. A alien-like track that tumbles into madness with something wilder and more progressive then seen elsewhere so far. The arrival of vocals in the latter part help transform it into something slightly recognisable but it’s still an ‘out there’ effort.
Re-energised, Lunar Child is impressively weighty and a firm favourite. Followed by ambience provided by Beneath the Temple Mount and onwards to a final pairing that have no right being as powerful as they are considering the length of the record.
A Veil of Silence is dogmatic in its approach to melancholy but well and truly reaches the pinnacle of tear-jerking melodic doom. Whereas Red Water is something more epic sounding to wrap up this special journey. A journey with memories that will last a lifetime.
Celestial Season – The Secret Teachings Full Track Listing:
1. The Secret Teachings of All Ages
2. For Twisted Loveless
3. The Ourobouros
5. Long Forlorn Tears
6. Amor Fati
7. White Lotus Day
8. Salt of the Earth
9. They Saw It Come From the Sky
10. Lunar Child
11. Beneath the Temple Mount
12. A Veil of Silence
13. Red Water
Celestial Season - The Secret Teachings (Burning World Records)
The Final Score - 9.5/10