Review: “Visions of Stagnant Blood” by Celestial Sanctuary

Masterminded by vocalist and guitarist Tom Cronin, since their inception in 2019, the beast that is Celestial Sanctuary have been delivering dirty, rotten and disgusting Death Metal with an evil grin to the masses on a regular basis. A pair of albums in 2021’s “Soul Diminished” and 2023’s “Insatiable Thirst for Torment” have put the Cambridge four piece on the map with tales of death, life and extinction which earned them the right to play some bigger stages. So when they received the call to play Download Festival as well as opening for Kerry King at Camden Electric Ballroom, they decided to surprise release a new EP…

“These are not b-sides, these aren’t leftovers from old recording sessions. This is Celestial Sanctuary doing what we do – creating extreme shit for extreme people. We’ve been on the road playing all over the UK and Ireland, pretty relentlessly. If you’ve been to a death metal show here in the last two years, there’s a good chance you’ve seen us. Where other bands would be exhausted and using that as an excuse to become stagnant, we thrive on it. We writhe in the opportunity to keep making disgusting music. And this is our most vile creation yet. Death metal is our business and business is fucking good.” ~ Tom Cronin

The nightmare begins with “Visions of Stagnant Blood“, a ripper of a tune to help you breathe more easily laced with throat splitting harsh vocals Cronin and powerhouse percussion from former Infernal Sea and Man Must Die drummer James Burke. Bursts of artillery shelling like blasting are immense, offering a blackened, chaotic and almost frantic quality to the verses before the control of Groove Death in the chorus parts. A couple of solos are atmospheric rather than the blistering work of a fire breathing dragon but they do what is needed and after being punched in the face over and over by the rhythmic battery it all hangs together very well. Equally as restless and relentless “Puddles of You Reflect the Filth Within” hits with a dirge laden main riff as it crushes at mid tempo with Matt Adnett and Cronin turning the screw. A slower headbangability makes this one to raise a poison chalice to live while the scorching leads add heat to the hostile environment, the bombastic bass from Jay Rutterford giving it the perpetual forward motion of a tank on the prowl.

Taking us to distant realms and terrain never previously explored “Gavage of the Vile” crosses the ten minute duration with consummate ease, leaning on some longer more drawn out atmospheric passages that cross the bridge into Death Doom in doing so. An embellishment to their existing stylings rather than a style shift, it ensures that none of the momentum is lost while at the same time offering something new to the chainsaw massacre. Dense and dark, the atmosphere is so thick you could cut it with a knife before an eerie haunting melodic break, which allows the band to punch back hard with a pick slide for a couple of minutes of Death Metal debauchery and finish on a savage high. While some might look at this as a stop gap release, in truth it’s 19 minutes of fresh material from a band who should be getting the call to attend Maryland Death Fest and have done everything in their power to earn it [8/10]

Track Listing

  1. Visions of Stagnant Blood
  2. Puddles of You Reflect the Filth Within
  3. Gavage of the Vile

Visions of Stagnant Blood” by Celestial Sanctuary is released on 11th June 2024 and is available over at

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