Review: “Carrion Angel” by Cerulean

Black Metal is usually found in the heart of San Diego California or Phoenix Arizona but there reside a four piece in Cerulean who have a list of prior convictions longer than they care to admit to but which includes Shadows of Algol, Voidlegacy, Chaos Ascending, Infernal Awakening, Lord Demise, Unidad Trauma, Gannondorf, Gravespell, Ashen Earth, Gravespell and Mythraeum. Yet their bloodlust remains unsatisfied and so they have created a collection of dissonant and unconventional songs which are cold and vicious enough to keep you on the edge of the seat. Raw and wild, it will take you to the edge of the blackened abyss as the frayed edges of sanity begin to unravel in dramatic fashion…

A project with a long gestational period, some of the songs that formulate “Carrion Angel” have been in circulation in various forms since the birth of Cerulean in 2017. “Shrouds of Locust” first appeared on the bands July 2017 split EP with Voidlegacy, a demo version of “Sky Burial” appeared in March 2018 and a┬álive rendition of “Gnashing of Teeth” in September 2019 are all out there to be found. But some things are worth waiting for. Instrumental opening cut “Tower of Silence” creates a sombre, sobering and eerie atmosphere as if searching for her ghost in the fog before the juggernaut of “Sky Burial” tears us limb from limb. Combining Black Metal with a flash of influence from bands like Imperial Triumphant, the cut references the Tibetan funeral practice in which a human corpse is placed on a mountaintop of decompose, exposed to the elements while also being eaten by scavenging animals including the infamous carrion bird the cover art depicts. A chaotic rampage with spitting, snarled vocals from Garrett Davis, it’s a venomous audio nasty with the kind of earworm riff that doesn’t let go.

After that monstrous opening everything turns dark, cold and murky with almost ritual elements creating a shroud the title track of the record “Carrion Angel“. A slow burning build gradually engulfs everything in flame before becoming a raging inferno with the kind of odd time signature riffs that The Dillinger Escape Plan made their name on rising to the surface. Brutal and destructive, it confirms the outfit have what it takes to create something horrifically engaging over a longer duration, holding the attention for the better part of six and a half minutes of utter bedlam. The scathing attack begins again in earnest with the vicious “Gnashing of Teeth“, a bass riff heavy cut with enthral centre that makes it feel all the more nightmarish. Drummer Ben Wilson is an absolute machine, getting a full work out as he smashes the kit to smithereens with his restless and relentless performances, the constant switching of fills and blasting helping to ensure that this one becomes a real stain of mind. As unsettling as some of the performances that came before it “Shroud of Locusts” ends the pain as swiftly as it started with a final ferocious flurry of caustic vocals and abrasive riffs. However there is more to this one than meets the evil eye with a little melody bubbling up to the surface before being snatched away by hungry crows… [7.5/10]

Track Listing

  1. Tower of Silence
  2. Sky Burial
  3. Carrion Angel
  4. Gnashing of Teeth
  5. Shroud of Locusts

Carrion Angel” by Cerulean is out 27th October 2023 and maybe available over at bandcamp.

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