Abaddon magazine

Music magazine

Monday, September 26, 2022

Review: Grand Celestial Nightmare – Excluded from Light and the Pleroma

Label: New Era Productions / Nuclear War Now! Productions

Date: March 31st, 2022

There are certain things I will never understand. It’s not the one-man bands per se, but the need to create a whole pile of them is beyond me. Looking to become a single person Nunslaughter? Okay, cool, but the quality of produced material is bound to suffer.

I can understand that one has a vast musical taste and is looking to explore as many as possible. But the man who calls himself Mories goes all in. I cannot even count how many of his one-man projects have released something in 2021 alone. Even Grand Celestial Nightmare has a full length record published a year ago. Okay, these are still the plague-ridden times and I guess there is enough time to play around. But still, it’s as if the man lives in the studio 24/7.

Naturally, I do not have the time or the willpower to explore each and every one of his projects. However, regarding “Excluded from Light and the Pleroma”, I must say it’s not half as bad as I expected when doing the research. It’s a nice little combination of Hellenic black metal and symphonic black metal of the early northern heroes. Basically, the Mediterranean melodies we’ve been introduced to by Rotting Christ, Varathron and, above all I would say, Kawir, at a crossroad with early Catamenia’s keyboard extravaganza. A weird combination, not often heard, but it somehow works out. I mean, it’s not like Grand Celestial Nightmare created Dr. Frankenstein’s monster. It’s fitted together in a manner that makes it sound quite natural.

Fact is that Mories has achieved that the guitars and keyboards take turns in guiding the listener through the album. One is quite humbly sitting in the background while the other takes the lead. And there are some real nice passages on both, which stand as a testament to there being quality in Grand Celestial Nightmare.

But here’s the trouble. There’s just not enough of them. At times, the listener might just observe the minimalist approach which drags him/her to thoughts of this just being another easily forgettable experience, no matter if there are outstanding moments on the record. Both the guitars and keyboards are sometimes just “bystanders” in the creative whole, sounding as if it’s just one more day at the office. I could add drums to this equation as well. While they do bring out the dynamics at times, at others they are just there, simply existing without bringing that extra boost to the music at hand.

The vocals are the one aspect of Grand Celestial Nightmare that keep to the same standard throughout. Albeit, I would prefer if they were pushed a bit further up in the mix.

I do believe this band would greatly benefit from adding a couple of imaginative musicians. A keyboardist and a drummer are almost a must. They would definitely bring the band up a couple of notches. Particularly since the general idea behind Grand Celestial Nightmare is one that could turn heads towards this Dutch project.