Celestial Sword – Nocturnal Divinity

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Celestial Sword know how to create black metal with an enthralling atmosphere, a skill showcased fully on their third full-length release Nocturnal Divinity. Here the band demonstrate their mastery of the marriage of raw vampiric black metal and dungeon synth. But what makes the album so special is the production and mastering. Everything sits on top of everything else in a way that feels suffocating as the instrumentals and vocals present as washed out, distorted and emerging from a sort of supernatural haze and yet, each element manages to shine through clearly.

Artist: Celestial Sword
Album: Nocturnal Divinity
Label: Death Prayer Records
Release Date: March 1st 2024
Location: United States

Written by James Sweetlove

Listen to and follow Celestial Sword

Celestial Sword know how to create black metal with an enthralling atmosphere, a skill showcased fully on their third full-length release Nocturnal Divinity. Here the band demonstrate their mastery of the marriage of raw vampiric black metal and dungeon synth, a unison that proves its effectiveness time and time again if executed correctly.

Both the instrumental elements and vocals on the album are washed out, distorted and emerging from a sort of supernatural haze. This gives the release a haunting effect and leaves the listener with a sense of mystery, as if anything could emerge from the dark corners of the world in which we live. The band further fosters this imagery with their dark, fantasy inspired cover art, art that depicts what can be assumed to be a vampire drinking blood from a chalice as bats take flight from a haunted looking stone tower. Not only is this imagery perfectly on point for this release, but it happens to remind me a little of something from either Elden Ring or Dark Souls in its appearance.

What makes the album so special is the production and mastering. Everything kind of sits on top of everything else in a way that makes it feel suffocating and yet each element somehow manages to shine through on its own. This is no easy feat, but the way it was pulled off elevates the music substantially and allows it to stand out from other black metal.

Second to this its the vocals that do it for me. They present as raw faded shrieked, howled and gurgled vocals, paired with wild screeches that get higher in pitch as they fade into the sonic abyss. Joining this less frequently are deeply guttural, almost inhuman vocals that are almost buried in the mix, adding a monstrous effect to them. Vocal layering is done perfectly on this release, rather than putting one directly on top o the other as many artists do, vocal layers are run with delays, adding a haunting echoed effect and giving the illusion that they are occurring within a sort of cavern.

Instrumentally the album sits firmly in the vein of traditional raw black metal with atmospheric elements provided both instrumentally and by dungeon synth elements. The guitar on the album repeats a lot of the same riffs and hooks in an almost hypnotic way that adds to the album’s subtle hypnotic and at times maddening effects. The tone used really adds to the whole vampiric theme of the album, it has a sort of horror tinged haunting beauty to it. Drum wise, the album’s only other musician Drugoth really delivers, giving us a solid traditional raw black metal performance, with some genuinely mesmerizing rhythms on display at times. Lastly I need to praise the elevation in immersive atmosphere achieved with the masterful use of dungeon synth elements throughout the album, particularly on the instrumental tracks.

Overall I love this album and thought that it was a real standout in the black metal space so far in 2024. For anyone who wants something refreshing and immersive in the realm of raw black metal, I suggest you give this a listen. I look forward to what comes next from the project, I’m sure that they won’t dissapoint.




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