I have never been a huge fan of Black Metal. There is something about it that has never appealed to me. It’s not the culture surrounding it, but something about the style, the musical tropes they engage, the synths, the high pitched scream, whatever, that just has never appealed to me that much. I mean, I’ve listened to as much Emperor as the next guy, but I would not call myself a Black Metal aficionado. It’s always a bit “meh” to me.

When I read a post on Metal Sucks in August about the band Celeste, my eyes immediately went to the phrase “Black Metal” in the article as I skimmed it. But I also saw that they had two albums available for free download, so I thought, Fuck it, right? How horrible could they be?

And holy living fuck am I glad I downloaded them. The “Black Metal” thing completely threw me off initially, but it’s really only a faint Black tint in the music, not full bore Black Metal. I don’t think French lyrics have ever sounded this awesome. Of course, I don’t understand a word, but since when have I judged my enjoyment of metal music on whether or not I could understand the lyrics? The songs possess a savage intensity and rawness that seems to be lacking from so much modern Heavy Metal music. It’s not a horrid mess of bad production, but it’s also not super clean, super mastered, bland. There is fire and darkness in the music and they sound like no other band in my collection, high praise to be certain. In an age when so many genres and subgenres are basically interchangeable, to release a record with a sound that stands apart from the crowd is a significant achievement, one which Celeste has accomplished. They are one of the freshest bands I’ve heard since I encountered their fellow Frenchmen, Gojira.

Here are a few sample tracks.

Celeste – Misanthrope(s)

[audio:http://www.theblacklaser.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/2.-Comme-pour-leurrer-les-regards-et-cette-odeur-de-cadavre.mp3|titles=2. Comme pour leurrer les regards et cette odeur de cadavre|Artists=Celeste] [audio:http://www.theblacklaser.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/5.-Il-y-aura-des-femmes-à-remercier-et-de-la-chair-à-embrocher.mp3|titles=5. Il y aura des femmes à remercier et de la chair à embrocher|Artists=Celeste]

Celeste – Nihiliste(s)

[audio:http://www.theblacklaser.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/06.-Celeste-Nihilistes-A-jamais-dénudée.mp3|titles=06. Celeste-Nihiliste(s) – A jamais dénudée|Artists=Celeste]

If you have any remaining reservations about how amazing this band is, do yourself a favor and just download the records. If you don’t have reservations, you’re probably downloading already.

Yes, I know. You’re welcome.