Celestial Wizard – Winds of the Cosmos

Winds of the Cosmos Album Cover Art

Celestial Wizard – Winds of the Cosmos
Self-Released
Release Date: 15/07/222
Running Time: 42:45
Review by Rory Bentley
8/10

It is possible to make Metal that is fun and silly without it being rubbish, just getting that one straight in there before the usual mob starts moaning that I don’t have a sense of humour when I dig out ‘wacky’ bands with no substance. Celestial Wizard have produced an album that proves my point. There are fantasy lyrics, all the Heavy Metal cliches you could wish for and a boat load of Power Metal influences. By all rights I should give this to someone else on the team to review or leave it on the Ever Metal album list, like so many bands I push play on before deciding I don’t want to be mean anymore. But I don’t hate it because it fucking rips. Hard.

“Winds of the Cosmos” is an album that knows how to get the flavour balance right. For all the warlock-pleasing synths, histrionic vocals and guitar harmonies that sound like royal trumpets signalling the arrival of King Arthur, there is a fat, chunky, downright nasty guitar tone that could put a yeti on the deck. The ‘Heavy’ part of Heavy Metal is present and correct from the get-go. After a ripping intro track in ‘Andromeda’, where everyone lets you know they can play the shit out of their instruments, it’s time to get down to business.

At its core the album is Trad Metal that’s been locked away like the guy in the movie “Old Boy”, left with nothing to do but get unbelievably jacked and ready to go on a furious rampage. The absolute double haymaker of ‘Revenant’ and ‘Ice Realm’ provide punishing low-end crunch from minute one, adding technical finesse and boiling anger to melodic NWOBHM riffs, aided by a crisp and commanding production job. The vocals are perfectly balanced in both of these cuts, leaning heavy on a mid-range growl and punctuated by commanding clean parts that add just the right amount of melody to bolster the choruses without easing up on the limb-snapping savagery that’s been established. I can pay the band no higher compliment than saying there’s a considerable tip of the hat to Children of Bodom’s melodic extremity all over the tight forty-two minute runtime.

I wouldn’t be making such lofty comparisons if the shred-game wasn’t up to scratch here – and believe me it is. The melodic grandeur of ‘Powethrone’s’ solo demonstrates both considerable chops as well as compositional proficiency with a regal and fluid quality that Arch Enemy would be proud of. Elsewhere the rapid-fire trading of licks on superb closer and title track ‘Winds of the Cosmos’ shows that notes have been taken from the Tipton / Downing school of tag team Metal assault. There’s plenty of guitar units that can sweep-pick their asses off, but crafting a memorable solo that enhances a song rather than feeling perfunctory is a tough skill to nail down.

A big surprise for me was how many times I was reminded of Hardcore throughout the album. Gang vocals are regularly brought in to ensure the main hooks hit home and there are a few yelled sections that wouldn’t be out of place on a Madball record. Most strikingly the last thing I expected to hear after ‘Scourge’ began with a spooky vampiric organ was a full on beat down section slap bang in the middle. The note choices are cut from Metal cloth, but the rhythmic approach and the level of chug feels like I’m at an Unearth show about to get my jaw jacked by a stray fist. Being super critical some of the spoken shouted vocals could have been delivered with a little more grit such as one recurring part on the chorus of ‘Steel Chrysalis’, but full props for throwing such a curveball into a genre that normally follows its template so doggedly, often to the detriment of originality.

After the band have charmed me by writing a song about some kind of steel monster, like every great Judas Priest album opener with ‘Cyberhawk’, it’s time for the main event. 

I’ve already told you how great the lead work is in the title track, but I can also reveal that it’s the best song on the album. Beginning with a triumphant motif that anchors this more epic composition, the band begin the verse with just the rhythm section and growled vocals setting the scene as the verses gradually ramp up to reveal the most overblown melodic vocals yet. Once again, they land the right side of soaring without resorting to falsetto shrieks and lend gravitas to the story. I won’t bullshit you. I did not delve into the narrative because I’m a riffs before goblins guy, but it sure sounds important when they deliver it. Having another Saxon-goes-two-step breakdown section doesn’t do them any harm either.

As the song’s theme glides gracefully over to acoustic harmonies for the outro, I’m left with a big old smile on my normally scowling face. Despite resembling my kryptonite on paper, this was an absolute blast to listen to. The number of different genre influences sprinkled over the meaty slab of Metal at the core of the album add variety and genuine surprises and despite the sillier aspects being delivered with a knowing wink, the quality of the music is anything but a joke. So next time you’re in the mood for some jaunty fantasy adventure why not choose an album that ditches the broadsword for a pair of swinging fists. You don’t need to cast spells when you can knock a dragon the fuck out with riffs!

‘Ice Realm’ Official Video

TRACKLISTING:
01. Andromeda 
02. Revenant
03. Ice Realm
04. Powerthrone
05. Eternal Scourge
06. Steel Chrysalis
07. Undead Renegade
08. Cyberhawk
09. Winds of the Cosmos

LINE-UP:

Album Band Line Up:
Nick Daggers – Guitar / Vocals 
Guillermo Jurado – Guitar / Bass 
Tim Gillman – Drums
Amethyst Noir – Vocals

Live Band Line Up:
Nick Daggers – Guitar / Vocals 
Dahlia McAluney – Bass
Tim Gillman – Drums 
Amethyst Noir – Vocals

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Rory Bentley and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

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