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Ceremonial Castings – Cthulhu


Last Updated on 01:43 AM by Giorgos Tsekas

Genre: Symphonic Black Metal
Country: U.S.A.
Label: Dark Forest Productions
Year: 2014

Here’s the eighth full length by symphonic black metallers Ceremonial Castings, an independent band that releases it’s material under it’s own label Dark Forest Productions. Labeled as “bewitching black metal”, I followed their carreer and I was never fully convinced of their records, adding another so and so record named “Cthulhu”.

I keep having problem with the sound of these guys and their production, which screwed the fun several times in the past while listening to their records, I can’t say “Cthulhu” is an improvement but it’s at least audible. The noisy sound of the guitars is a little cut out from the rest of the instrumentation in the tracks, but apart from that the record sounds like anything released in the nineties with an inordinate emphasis on keys.

The influences of Ceremonial Castings are rather obvious and lie mainly in Norwegian black metal, with their opaque key melodies behind the intense riffs close to Burzum’s Filosofem or early Emperor, as well as in their interlude track “Below the Mirror of Stars” which reminds a lot of the Varg’s early ambient attempts. Yet, in tracks like “Storming the Pacific” the feeling mostly derives from the synth using techniques of the early Greek black metal scene of the second wave.

The band uses a couple of really good riffs in a not so pure black metal record, as the guitar lines include several almost death metal melodies if one listens closely. A generic symphonic atmosphere is indeed built, even though the record doesn’t exceed the basic standards of the genre. The shrieked vocals are legit for the most part, even though some cleans are included here and there like in “The Great Old Ones” or “Krypt of the Kraken King” which are unusual and laughable.

Ceremonial Castings never surpassed themselves in being a mediocre black metal band and that’s what it feels like with their new record, which is nothing more or nothing less than the average and forgettable symphonic black metal package. The band has obtained a drummer in 2005 but the drums felt like being machine made in a couple of moments, so that was baffling as well.

After eight records (seven, if you don’t count “March of the Deathcult” which was just re-recordings) the band hasn’t reached the next level, so I’m afraid it might as well not happen. “Cthulhu” is fancy but uninteresting, rather expected if one thinks of the band’s past efforts.


The gate of the cavern is despair, and its floor is paved with the gravestones of abandoned hopes. There Self must die; there the eagerness, the greed of untamed desire must be slain, for only so can the soul be freed from the empire of Fate.

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