Celesty - Vendetta 4.5/5

Reviewed: 8-7-09





Tracklist:

1. Prelude for vendetta
2. Euphoric dream
3. Greed & vanity
4. Like warriors
5. Autumn leaves
6. Feared by dawn
7. Lord (Of this kingdom)
8. New sin
9. Dark emotions
10. Fading away
11. Legacy of hate pt. 3


I’ve watched over Finnish symphonic power metal band Celesty since first hearing them on their debut CD entitled ‘Reign of elements’. That CD was released back in 2002. After that, vocalist Kimmo Perämäki left the band and was replaced by current singer Antti Railio. 2004’s sophomore effort, ‘Legacy of hate’ followed in the same footsteps of the debut, and with the addition of a better vocalist who brings more melody and passion; the release was just as good as ‘Reign of elements’. The only downside so far was that the 2 CDs were both quite repetitive and similar to each other, and the band were yet to seriously move forward in progression.

Fast forward 2 years and things were looking up for this power metal band. Leaving Arise Records for the newest major record label, Dockyard 1, Celesty released their 3rd CD, ‘Mortal mind creation’. Lead guitarist Juha-Pekka Alanen left the band and was replaced by the talented Teemu Koskela. ‘Mortal mind creation’ was far greater than the previous 2 CDs (in my opinion), as the band undertook a noticeable change of direction and sound. Gone were the cheesy, generic and repetitive riffs and vocals; replaced by hard aggressive guitar chords, improved songwriting and structure, and lastly, refined heavy and melodic vocals. The band had stepped up and created one top-notch CD; which has paved the way 3 years on for their newest release entitled ‘Vendetta’. Once again Celesty have changed labels, this time moving from Dockyard 1 to Spinefarm, a local yet major Finnish record label.

Celesty have always put importance of their sound to the guitars and keyboards and this has not changed on ‘Vendetta’. The use of the keyboards may have been toned down since ‘Legacy of hate’, but they are used in a more creative way, whilst backing up the twin guitar blasts instead of competing with them. There are times, however, when the keyboards are used for wicked solos. ‘Vendetta’ is slightly less aggressive than ‘Mortal mind creation’; but they have replaced that with dynamic choirs and epic orchestras, which has added a matured and polished element to their sound.

Vocalist Antti Railio is at the top of his game on this release. Receiving English vocal lessons between CDs, Railio has improved a hell of a lot; his voice is now completely solid, confident, and very emotional and melodic. The addition of guitarist Teemu Koskela in the previous CD has really given Celesty a much needed boost in ferocity, which now has even more appeal in ‘Vendetta’. The guitar solos on the release are swift, precise, brutal, but most importantly, entertaining.

It is the songs which make the CD, and the ones which I feel are quite exceptional include “Greed & vanity”, “Feared by dawn”, “Lord (Of this kingdom)” and “Dark emotions”. “Greed & vanity” shows off Celesty’s ability to write catchy tunes, combining melody with aggression, while “Feared by dawn” is a fabulous combination of their new sound mixed with the original sounding Celesty. “Lord (Of this kingdom)” is a slower, brooding track; making full use of the epic orchestras at their disposal. Lastly, “Dark emotions” is an infusion of speed metal with modern European power metal, with plenty of emotion and aggression.

The CD as a whole is very consistent and basically every track is of a great standard, and I could also mention other tracks such as “Euphoric dream”, “Like warriors” and “Autumn leaves” to the list. Special mention must be given to the CD closer, “Legacy of hate pt. 3”, which runs for over 14 minutes and is an incredible opus, and the centerpiece of this brilliant CD. Beginning slowly behind violins and acoustic guitar, Antti Railio is joined by female vocalist Suvi-Tuuli Dietrich in a passionate duet, before the track kicks off to a thunder of choirs, orchestras and double-bass pummeling. The track is broken up in 4 segments, all of which are arranged wonderfully.

Overall I am so pleased to see Celesty where they are right now. They have indeed come a long way since their debut CD and now should be reaping the deserved rewards. It may have taken a few years and releases, but Celesty are now taking their destiny by the balls and turning it into something which is quite successful. They have matured greatly and you can hear that when you compare their songs from the first 2 CDs to this superb effort here. If any fans of Celesty jumped off the ship a few years back, they should seriously get back on and enjoy the ride, as they will be sweetly surprised. All power metal fans, including symphonic and speed, should really like what ‘Vendetta’ has to offer. Great work, guys.



SEAN




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