Frigidiis Apotheosia: Abstinencia Genesiis

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Celestia is the brainchild of Noktu, proprietor of long-running French black metal bastion Drakkar Productions. The project is more lyrical than his more rough-and-tumble bands like Gestapo 666 and Genocide Kommando. Florid song titles like "A Regrettable Misinterpretation of Mournfulness" and "She's Dead (Valse Funeste de Decomposition)" are merely doors to rather gothic sensibilities. Noktu's two obsessions are pain of self ("I'm crying far away/Tears are rolling along my corpse/Obscurity is chanting/Voices are crying") and dead women ("My goddess is here, dormant, for eternity/I will now sleep with her now, also for eternity"). Thankfully, the music does not likewise come from a high school diary. Black metal of this ilk tends to be malnourished and wrist-cutting (e.g., Silencer, Xasthur), but Celestia is surprisingly robust. The production, in fact, is almost too good. Keyboards keen with sterile clarity, and the drums belong on a Top 40 record. Noktu's aggrieved shriek sounds out of place in such an impersonal setting. However, highlights crop up fairly often. In particular, "Admirable Eros Abstraction" and the aforementioned regrettably titled song deftly mix acoustic and electric guitars. The same old minor key bleeds together after a while, as do the purple-hearted sentiments. More friction would have helped -- for all the pain that Noktu talks about, he doesn't really show it.

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