Celestiial - Desolate North
Bindrune Recordings
Ambient Doom
8 songs (46'08")
Release year: 2006
Reviewed by Alex

Here is one record that is decidedly wrong for this time of the year. It is the middle of the summer, but I am listening to ambient doom. I can’t call Celestiial funeral, but it is bound to freeze your bodily fluids. It is simply meant to do so.

The work of one TR Anderson from Minnesota, USA reflects both harshness and beauty of that land’s nature at the same time. I also would not be surprised if some Native American blood is flowing through Mr. Anderson’s veins (although this is purely a guess).

Eight tracks of this non-traditional opus are evenly split between four lengthy slow heavier tracks and four shorter interludes. The latter, Into this Earth of Shallow Intent, title track, Hinterland and Ashen are crystal clear icy cold droplets of purity from a water creek somewhere around International Falls, MN (the coldest point in the US in the winter), which make excellent use of harp. This instrument always embodied the crystalline cold sound in my opinion, so I could not imagine it being more appropriate on Desolate North.

The album’s heavier tracks are also very nature driven, the imaginary jungle of Celestiial, with all of its bird chirping and wind howling, lifted and moved somewhere up North, closer to the Polar Circle. There is storm brewing in that forest (Thule), and the feeling of dread is enormous with the sounds of rushing water freezing around your feet (Lamentations in the Citadel of God). The few vocal tracks are either suffocating grunts of the wild beast trapped in that bitter glacial forest (Haunting Cries Beneath the Lake Where Our Queen Once Walked), or monk chanting as if the poor fellows were left all alone amidst White Sea (Waldlander im Herbst).

Most of the time, however, the main line is taken up by the organ, which is very horn-like sounding, reminding me a little of Summoning. The use of the flute is what made me compare this with Native American music, its sorrow so desolate and delectable at the same time. If you ever heard Yeha-Noha Native American chanting you would know what I mean. That flute, and creepy depressive background – I really do not recommend sampling Waldlander im Herbst in the dark.

My recommendation is to try it, and if by track four you can’t wait for Desolate North to end, this music is not for you. Multiple listens will not help. I truly embraced the atmospheres brought to life by Celestiial, but found the album to be a little staticky, there is no buildup or subsequent fade in these compositions, it always starts the way it ends (except maybe Waldlander im Herbst), and incessant cymbal beat (which sounds like neverending flow of falling glass shards) does not help matters.

Having given it more thought, I would like to reverse my earlier statement. If this was listened to in December the freeze would have been complete, so maybe it is a blessing after all that it is mid-June today.

Killing Songs :
Lamentations in the Citadel of God, Waldlander im Herbst
Alex quoted 75 / 100
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