Album ReviewsReviews

Review: Celestiial - Where Life Springs Eternal (2010)

artist: Celestiial
release: Where Life Springs Eternal
format: CD
year of release: 2010
label: Bindrune
dur­a­tion: 56:24

detailed info: dis​cogs​.com

Some young artists have the strength of char­ac­ter to build on the influ­ence of their fore­bears, without los­ing them­selves in either dull imit­a­tion or empty rebel­lion. There is a fine bal­ance where ele­ments from the past are put to use in express­ing a new, and above all, per­sonal musical vis­ion. Tan­ner Ander­son’s brainchild Celestiial (here assisted by Timothy Glenn and Jason Walton) is such a vis­ion, using the raw mater­i­als of heavy metal to forge sound­scapes that express the ener­gies inher­ent in nature.

Where Life Springs Eternal is the second full length album of this pro­ject, and it elab­or­ates subtly on the style of 2006’s Des­ol­ate North. “Spell Over Still Water” starts the album with deep gui­tar drones, heavy weather field record­ings and the pen­et­rat­ing screech of bowed cym­bals. The second track is the main car­rier of this album, thrust­ing up wave after wave of obscure gui­tar chords and reverb-drenched vocals. This sound design gives the music just that tad of abstrac­tion that lends new express­ive power to famil­iar instru­ments. Treated like this, the majestic tones and pulses of the music resemble what to me sounds like the true heart­beat of the land­scape in which Celestiial is rooted: deep forests, massive lakes, rain storms…

The middle of the album show­cases another side of Ander­son’s music, where it is revealed again that he has more up his sleeve than the expans­ive melodic min­im­al­ism of the pre­vi­ous track. “From Elm Blos­soms A Rose” is noth­ing less than a romantic ode on Celtic harp with the sounds of a forest in the back­ground. A beau­ti­ful inter­lude before the com­ing onslaught of “Offer­ing In Cedar Smoke”, another track in the band’s heav­ier style. A short harp outro seals the album, again on a calmer note.

While there are clear traces of black metal and doom metal in Celestiial, as well as influ­ences of drone and Celtic tra­di­tional music, it would­n’t do the band justice to label it purely as any or all of these, for the reas­ons men­tioned at the start of the review. It is vital for music today to embrace the old in new ways, and not to let tra­di­tion stag­nate and ulti­mately die. Like I said, it takes vis­ion to take tra­di­tions into the future, and vis­ion is cer­tainly strong here. That does­n’t mean that Where Life Springs Eternal is flaw­less or approach­able for all. It does mean that it sends out its spirit at a unique and pure fre­quency. The only thing left is to find out if it res­on­ates with you as it does with me.

Reviewed by O.S.


I. Spell Over Still Water (4:15)
II. Great Storms Carry My Sad­ness (30:45)
III. From Elm Blos­soms A Rose (For LRN) (2:37)
IV. Offer­ing In Cedar Smoke (16:43)
V. Song­birds Depart Through The Passing Near The Garden (2:05)