Praeter Caelestis – “Ghost of Gods”

Published by The Metal Observer:


Now, before some of you Latin scholars out there cry bad grammar, be assured that the moniker of Praeter Caelestis is correct, for it is a medieval derivation. Too many Black Metal bands pervert this ancient language to look cool, but to those like me who give a darn, it comes off as silly posing. For those unenlightened, the band’s name means “Beyond the Heavenly,” or as I interpret it, “Beyond the Gods.”

The music presented here is a doggie biscuit to any symphonic Black Metal connoisseur. Specifically, we have ourselves another Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk emulator on our hands. Synthesized symphonics don’t carry the melody; rather they accentuate the deftly crafted riffs. Praeter Caelestis studies the same “sophisticated Black Metal art” that inspired albums like Nokturnal Mortum’s To the Gates Of Blasphemous Fire and CrionicsArmageddon’s Evolution.

What sets this album on its own are the female vocals, which reminisce of Covenant‘s Nexus Polaris opus. As for the lead vocals, these mid-pitched growls are competent, but fail to match the intensity of the other instruments, as compared to competing albums of this style. This is no blemish, but a place where improvement is suggested. 

Depending on how you view it, this album is a epic journey, or perhaps too long for its own good. It’s great that a band wants to showcase all of its hard work, but any recipe tastes better when you boil it down to concentrate the flavors. In other words, quality over quantity! My favorite album this year is barely over a half hour. 

The production is heavy, aggressive, modern and unorthodox in regards to Black Metal. It’s a tough game to play, given that Anthems… is the gold standard, and this music comes within sight of the mark. Mindful of the rift in Emperor fandom, this album favors the Anthems… camp over those who prefer the more ethereal In The Nightside Eclipse. So if you like your symphonic Black Metal hard, heavy, and intelligent, a la later Limbonic Art and Dimmu Borgir, Ghost Of Gods will sate your craving.

( Online August 15, 2008 )


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