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01 Des torrents de coups
02 De tes yeux bleus perlés
03 Nonchalantes de beauté
04 Draguée tout au fond
06 Il a tant rêvé d’elles
07 Elle se répète froidement
08 Le cœur noir charbon
France is home to one of the greatest metal bands in the history of modern music in GOJIRA. Now, not so much chasing the coattails but smashing down the wall in the basement after tunnelling through to the foundations of the metaphorical house, CELESTE join the aforementioned Bayone quartet on the top tier of European bands making some serious noise in 2022. CELESTE‘s musical style already sounds like a tempting morsel on paper, with the group taking influence from their hardcore roots, throwing in a generous dollop of black metal and sludge, and adding a dusting of grinding noise and ambient release. It has been five years since their previous work Infidèle(s), (which one should absolutely check out), a record that saw the band experimenting with their sound by adding in moments of melodic release in contrast with the sonic terror that precedes them, and now the Lyon-based noise merchants have returned with the fantastic follow up Assassine(s).
It should be pointed out first that this album, and CELESTE as a band in general, does not hold your hand. A comparison could be made with the films of Gaspar Noé and Julia Ducournau, which are uncompromising in their style and delivery, where multiple viewings/listens yields the greatest benefits. Don’t let this put you off however, as the more effort that one puts into Assassine(s), the more it reveals its huge number of complex and nuanced layers. There is no let up from the get go, with Des Torrents De Coups opening the record with a thick wall of noise that will be perfect for CELESTE‘s unique live shows. This opening track does sum up the rest of the record’s intentions, showing us the different moods and experiments that the band have been working on. The slab heavy wall of guitars is there, as well as the melodic influence, building to a crescendo that almost feels euphoric.
The rhythmic influence of GOJIRA can be heard throughout Assassine(s),particularly on De Tes Yeux Bleus Perlés and album closer Le Coeur Noir Charbon. Both open with sledgehammer heavy riffs that move forward with a mechanical determined insistency. CELESTE batter the listener before pulling the final punch, and revealing the vulnerable layers beneath the cold exterior. Le Cœur Noir Charbon perfectly captures this, pummelling us before softening in its attack and allowing the melodic vocals to waft in and warm the cold air around it. The opening section of (A) sets a cold atmospheric mood in place before frantic tremolo picking on the guitars develops the track into this warm sense of euphoria that runs throughout the record.
It would be easy to infer that the music of CELESTE is purely brutal and uncompromising. The stunning artwork implies a coldness and a brutal realism that would intimidate some, and tied in with the fact that all the lyrics are in French, some could find this record inaccessible. But what should be said is that CELESTE pull you in to their sonic world in a way that is just so compelling that one does not need to understand every detail upon first listen, but instead open their ears and mind and prepare to deep dive on the layered and intricate work in front of them. A triumph perfect for January listening.