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Ceremonium : Into the Autumn Shade

Ceremonium have released some overlooked classics. This is one of them.

You consider yourself a Death Doom fan and have not heard this album yet? Well, you are forgiven, since it is fairly hard to come by these days. But should you ever get the chance to obtain a copy, do not hesitate, for Into the Autumn Shade will delight everyone who enjoys the genre. Released in 1995, it is still part of the first wave of early Death Doom and can even be seen as one of its classics which is often overlooked.

Stylistically, Ceremonium play Death Doom the old way, creating music akin to that of Disembowelment, Winter, Dusk, early Evoken or the very first My Dying Bride album. It is all there: Powerful, low growls, slow riffs as well as faster doublebass and blastbeat passages, effectively placed synth layers which intensify the atmosphere. Still, the music on Into the Autumn Shade differs a bit from that of the above- mentioned bands. Slow and fast passages do not contrast just as sharply, for there is also a good deal of midtempo-riffing to be found. The atmosphere created is dark, but never as abysmal and suffocating as that of Disembowelment, for instance. Due to these two aspects, the US-band’s sound shows a certain similarity to the gloomy, semi-melodic Death Metal of bands like Incantation or Demigod, an influence which is absent in most other Death Doom bands. This may be a plus to some and a minus to others – you will have to decide for yourself. Even the production comes close to what said bands sounded like in the early nineties: It is more powerful than that of the earliest pioneers but still retains the rough underground-feel which is so typical of the time.

The guitar melodies are probably the greatest strength of this release. Albeit less intense and emotional than those of other classic bands, many of them are extremely memorable. If you have listened to “Incarnated Entity” or “Unveiled Tears” only once, some of the guitar parts are likely to stick to your mind for a long time. Every track features such fantastic passages to keep the listener’s interest. “Our Mourning Forever Shrouds”, for instance, starts off with an attack of fast Death Metal just to turn to a really desolate Doom Riff which is one of the album’s highlights. Then, another doublebass part kicks in, overdubbed with atmospheric synths. The title track delivers another such highlight in the form of the album’s most melodic and beautiful twin guitar passage which makes clear that Ceremonium are true doomsters despite the Death Metal influence. They also strongly affiliate themselves with the scene in terms of lyrics: Sadness, despair and longing for death are the central themes, leaving the words bare of any gleam of hope.

Special credit must be given to the cover artwork: The interesting play of colours between the branches of a dark tree is highly original and certainly unconventional, if not unique among artworks of underground music. It also creates a healthy distance to the stereotypes of the Doom scene and suggests a higher artistic aspiration. Thus, the short playing time remains as the only real disadvantage – but this is something for which far worse bands have been forgiven. Among the old-school Death Doom albums in your collection, this one is definitely a gap to be filled.

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. Nightfall in Haven
2. Serenity
3. Incarnated Entity
4. Unveiled Tears
5. Our Mourning Forever Shrouds
6. Into the Autumn Shade

Duration : Approx. 34 minutes

Visit the Ceremonium bandpage.

Reviewed on 2011-08-26 by Dominik Sonders
Aesthetic Death
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