September 27, 2007

CD Review: Celesty - Mortal Mind Creation

Frustrating. That seems to be nearly the perfect word to describe my first exposure to Celesty. The word has slightly harsher connotations than I would like to convey, but it it still retains that near perfect reaction. This sextet from Finland delivers a strong dose of melodic power metal in their third full-length album. Yes, it is the first (and only) one I have heard, so I don't have anything to compare it to in terms of their back catalog. Then again, Mortal Mind Creation is the first Celesty release to reach American shores.

Musically, Celesty is solid. Really solid. The double bass and crunchy riffs sound great to these ears. The song structure throughout Mortal Mind Creation is varied and keeps me interested. From the opening chords of "Lord of Mortals" I was hooked. The head banging riff, booming drums, atmospheric keyboards just sucked me in. By the time the opening drum blast of the second song, "Unreality," hits with the fast riff and furious keyboards I was sold on this solid group of musicians. The production was first class, the songs offered up some really catchy sections, and I wanted to put my fist in the air and rock out.

You may be wondering where the frustration comes in. Let's back up a little bit, all the way back to the beginning of "Lord of Mortals." Yes, I was hooked musically pretty quick. Then disaster struck near the forty-five second mark. The problem is that Antti Railio opened his mouth and sang. Now before you get all up in arms, let me just say that he doesn't have a bad voice. The problem is that he doesn't have a particularly good voice. To be more specific, he lacks range, he sounds as if he is straining when he heads toward the upper register. If that isn't enough, his voice lacks the power and emotion that the rest of the music requires. Celesty has a decidedly heavy edge and they need a singer to match. I feel that Railio would be better suited for a bit softer melodic metal act. I don't mean to bad mouth him, but it sounds as if he lacks confidence in his voice.

The rest of the band is solid. Celesty is a tight unit of melodic power metal that is a force to be reckoned with. The shift from softer acoustic tinged melodies to flat out heavy rockers with easy. The songs are structured to pay off of their strengths. The drums are impressive with strong double bass keeping everything driving ahead. The guitars have a nice crunchy feel to them as they rip through the songs. The keyboards add a nice flavor to the proceedings, they provide a lot of atmosphere across the entire album.

In particular pay attention to "Lord of Mortals," "Unreality," "Among the Dreams," and "Arrival." I found it very easy to slip into the power stylings of Celesty. There were a few moments that reminded me of Bay Area thrash from the 80's, but with a more power bent.

Bottomline. Save for the vocals (which aren't necessarily bad, but don't fit the power of the music), Mortal Mind Creation is a solid entry in the melodic power genre. There is definitely room for growth, but this is a nice bed from which to build on. If you looking for a taste of something different, yet familiar, pick this up and give it a shot.



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