Caelestia – “Thanatopsis” (EMP Label Group / SPV)
Originally a gothic doom band called Me And Myself formed by vocalists Dimitra Talamantes Vintsou and Nikos Palivos in 2012, things started to change a year later with the arrival of guitarist Vassilis Thomas who inspired more death / progressive / black / symphonic / extreme metal ideas into the songwriting process. Cue a name change to Caelestia and the release of their debut “Beneath Abyss” that received critical acclaim, not in the least for working with sound engineer Tony Lindgren (Paradise Lost, Katatonia, Enslaved) and featuring guest appearances by vocalist Bjorn ‘Speed’ Strid of Soilwork and Sodom’s drummer Markus ‘Makka’ Freiwald. With live shows supporting Arch Enemy, Katatonia, Draconian and The Vision Bleak, the band, who are already well known in the Greek Metal community, garnered TV appearances with Metal Hammer Greece as well as Vassilis Thomas securing an endorsement with Schecter Guitars! “Thanatopsis” sees the band continue their stride especially in the black / symphonic / extreme metal spheres with many of the 10 tracks highly reminiscent of Fleshgod Apocalypse and Cradle Of Filth with haunting theatrical atmospherics and neo classical aspects fueled by frictionless, nuclear propelled double bass drumming. The biggest differential is naturally in the vocals, here employing a beauty and beast style embodying bestial growls and femme soprano on tracks like ‘Dancing With The Demons’, or the symphonic blast beat of ‘Martyrs’ where the frantic but intricate dual guitars of Thomas and Vangelis Evangelou really add to the magnificence of the track that incidentally features a guest appearance from drummer Jason Bittner (Flotsam & Jetsam, Shadows Fall etc). Interestingly , on the more slower pieces like ‘Underlife’ there are melancholic aspects indicating that Vintsou and Palivos haven’t wholly abandoned their gothic doom roots. Equally, there is also a fair amount of harpsichord style keyboards throughout the album although strangely the band don’t credit a keyboardist so whoever made the contributions did a good job. Clearly Caelestia is a band who know where they want to go and aren’t afraid to adapt to get there, both working with industry names and happening musicians to support great releases like “Thanatopsis”!