Celestial Sanctuary - Soul Diminished (2021)Release ID: 27467
I have already seen Celestial Sanctuary heralded as part of the "New Wave of British Death Metal" (whatever that is)? From listening to the pleasing familiarity of the early 90's death metal sounds present on their debut full-length, it isn't difficult to see where the comparisons to such champions of that style come from. Thick with the Bolt Thrower and influence, Soul Diminished plays mid-tempo death metal that is groovy and instantaneously memorable. A real plug in and play record.
Hailing from Cambridge, United Kingdom the band are a mere two years into their existence but sound like a group that has been together a lot longer and a collection of artists who have tread the circuit over a number of years. With two of the band being members of crossover/thrash metal band Road Mutant there's clear cohesion between the four piece and although I am not familiar with his work or his main band The Infernal Sea, drummer James Burke gives a strong performance. Likewise guitarist Matt Adnett has played live with Voices and The King is Blind so there's a solid foundation here.
This feels like a beefy record with real power behind the punches that they make no effort to pull. Built on a solid foundation of death metal influences that aren't hard to decipher there's almost an unapologetic arrogance to the record but at the same time the sheer accessibility of it - without sacrificing grit - makes such an ethos forgivable. I can't get away from the fact that it lacks some marked differences from track to track and even after a few listens this doesn't offer up any surprises that you might have missed on the first few spins.
Still, for a band so immature in their establishment they are exciting and brimming with promise. I am unsure if this is a permanent project or a side-project of underground artists but I hope either way we get more smoke out of the chimney soon.