It has often been said that grunge killed metal around 1991/92. From hair metal to Carcass, they all claimed it. That is, of course, a load of bollocks. Sure, hundreds of metal bands died a more or less quiet death, but if is my firm belief that their creativity was standing still anyway. Hell, by the end of 1991, I also got sucked into the grunge fever and everything smelt of teen spirit wherever we went. Then Cobain died. The scene that actually claimed it wasn’t really a scene slowly died away, just like metal had done for a while. Now I sense that there is more and more attraction to the grunge sound again. Like it or not.
Danish band Celestial Son have existed since 2003, but if I’m to trust the promo letter, the band changed style since they released their debut EP “Misanthropia” in 2007, to their debut full-length in 2011, “Doors of Perception” (by then still under the band name Drone). No idea what they sounded like before, but they certainly sound like a grunge band now – or at least a band who are very much inspired by what went on during the early and mid nineties.
The album starts out with a song, which is a downright hit in my ears. “Nothing in Excess” is structured around an infectious riff, electronic sounds and Rasmus Sjøgren’s characteristic voice. A slight Alice In Chains influence, perhaps. This is a wonderful opening song, and expectations all of a sudden run high to the rest of the album!
“All I Ever Wanted” is not a bad song at all either, although it reeks of Nirvana – mixed with The Offspring. It reminds me a lot of Heart-Shaped Box with a vocal style like that guy from The Offsping, I forget his name.
“Holy Cycle” is less interesting, moves into Nine Inch Nails territory, which isn’t my turf at all.
With “Open Wound”, Alice In Chains rear their ugly heads again. This is certainly my territory, and that doomy, heavy sound works excellently. A slow, grinding piece.
Although more upbeat, “Sea of Failure” isn’t happening for me, and the same can be said of the over-long “The Flow of Creation” (over seven minutes), which sounds more or less exactly like its predecessor.
By the seventh track “Caress the Soul”, it’s become obvious to me everytime I listen to this album, that Rasmus Sjøgren’s vocal is both a strength and a weakness for Celestial Son. As much as I think he does a great job, I also have a hard time listening to his voice for very long. I suppose his voice, like any other singer, is an acquired taste, but that also goes for his phrasing, which tends to become monotonous in a wavy, emotional, even wailing kind of fashion.
Therefore, the instrumental “The Fortress” is actually a relief – also because it leaves space for a more proggy side of the band.
“Headlong” is a decent track, too, with a nice flow, whereas the acoustic ballad “Not a Choice” takes the speed completely out the album right there. Emotional, sure, but doesn’t come across as being really heartfelt and therefore becomes a long affair.
After that, “Death Wish” is a relief with its bursts of energy. It has a fine balance of quieter bits and those burst. The song has a touch of the Danish rock band Dizzy Mizz Lizzy who were immensely popular during the nineties.
Jumping to a different ballgame altogether, “The Moon” is almost a wannabe Trans-Siberian Orchestra piece. Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” and “Für Elise” seem to be the inspiration for this beautiful piece of music, and it sounds great. You can discuss if it fits into the rest of the album at all, but beautiful it is.
“The Pits” concludes ‘Saturn’s Return’, and thereby it ends on a good note. The song sets a dark mood and has a fine drive, still rooted deeply in the nineties.
A fine album in many ways, this one, but also with a few hiccups and the challenge that the style of singing becomes simply too much (at least for me). Try it out if you like the sound of the nineties and grunge in particular!
01. Nothing in Excess
02. All I Ever Wanted
03. Holy Cycle
04. Open Wound
05. Sea of Failure
06. The Flow of Creation
07. Caress the Soul
08. The Fortress
10. Not a Choice
11. Death Wish
12. The Moon
13. The Pits
Release date: 11th of September, 2015
Label: Mighty Music