Ceremonial Castings and I go back a long time. When I was just a sliver on the raging tides of the internet I came across two American brothers making some sort of atmospheric gothic metal, they sent me some of their work and still today songs such as “Levitated in Winter Skies” rest firmly in my mind as a link to my past. Today the music is a mixture of intriguing synthesisers and the blackest of metal and the two brothers Lord Serpent and OldNick have been reinforced by the drummer Blood Hammer. March of the Deathcult is a re-recording of songs from some of their older albums, namely Midnight Deathcult Phenomena and Universal Funeral March, and the production of those albums are miles apart when it comes to quality.
Ceremonial Castings (US) has a strongly defined sound that sets them apart from most of the other black metal acts from the US. The combination of Lord Serpent’s harsh guitars and the powerful yet sublime electronics of OldNick have always struck me as a potent mixture. Where other bands struggle to balance the two aspects Ceremonial Castings have always been a perfect hybrid between relentlessness and finesse. Fine examples of this symbiosis come in “Apparitions To Become” with its gentle piano and chilling chimes perfectly harmonising with the shrieking guitars. Added to this Blood Hammer does a fine job rhythmically beating the life out of the drums and with hindsight the addition of a drummer is really evident in the albums released after 2006. The wide spectrum of Lord Serpent’s vocals, which covers both deep pure chanting as well as harsh growling, is both refreshing and well-performed. There is a certain something in the combination of the many smaller aspects of Ceremonial Castings that make them outstanding in the fields of black metal. Many bands today try hard and fail miserably or just end up with a soulless clone of an album, but I have yet to be disappointed by the brothers from Battle Ground.
March of the Deathcult has a few really strong moments such as the brutal grinding guitars of “When The Saints Bleed” or the more haunting melancholic parts of “Bringer Of Plague” with Lord Serpent’s demonic growls really crowning the dark atmosphere. The two instrumental tracks “March of the Tyrants” and “Apocalyptic Paranoia Dementia” are both solid and really enhance the brutal feeling the rest of the album emits. Overall the album is a solid recreation of the glorious past of Ceremonial Castings. Since the earlier albums had quite a lot lacking in the way of mix and production values, March of the Deathcult feels fresh and intriguing despite bringing forth little new.
In the end I really enjoyed this album. It is a fine addition to the band’s growing discography and grants new life to some really amazing songs of the old stock. March of the Deathcult is a fine example of how to re-release an album without losing touch with its heart and soul, and I can recommend it to both pure blood fans and for those interested in excellent black metal from the states.
01. Midnight Deathcult Phenomena
02. My Kingdom Of Cold Sorrows
03. When The Saints Bleed
04. Universal Funeral March
05. Bringer Of Plague
06. In My Madness Mystique
07. Apparitions To Become
08. March Of The Tyrants
09. Creatures Of Another Light
10. Unleashed Hordes Of Fire And Steel
11. Manitou (Venom Cover)
12. Night Of The Graveless Souls (Emperor Cover)
13. Apocalyptic Paranoia Dementia