Celesty - Legacy Of Hate
December 2002- Celesty's impressive and commendable debut Reign of Elements is released and receives some serious recognition and Finland delivers yet another rising star to the metal sky. May 2004- The Finnish six-piece return with their sophomore album, Legacy of Hate, and the story continues. But it doesn't continue along the lines expected. Of course an album that was a natural continuation to Reign of Elements and some further evolving and maturing was anticipated but instead there's much more here than possibly could have been bargained for. Namely, this latest CD compilation sees the band developing their music way more than could have been foreseen and even though it still contains the essence of before there's been quite a notable musical change that Celesty hereby induct in their metal reference book.
The sound of this band as of now is described as "something dark, something progressive yet melodic, familiar but still something completely new" and those are words easily agreeable. The music is still power metal but it's virtually more aggressive and also a bit darker than on the debut. The major change that's occurred though is that Celesty from now on have entered the more symphonic and epic power metal genre and send serious nods towards constellations like Freedom Call and Rhapsody without being quite as pompous or multi-layered in the vocal choruses, or using as many different instruments as either of those. But there are still refrains and melodic vocal sections that that bear strong resemblances to their Italian colleagues and the overall instrumental sound of the album follow a quite pronounced Freedom Call concept regarding majestic feel and sing-along inputs. Imbedded in all this is also the tendencies to fall into the same scene as their countrymen in both Stratovarius and Sonata Arctica. The whole deal never goes astray though and Celesty manage very well to create something very personal out of all this and at the end of the day contribute with a metal very genuinely their own and with their roots intact.
But the whole story hasn't been completely trouble-free. The band has since the start in 1998 gone through quite some changes in the line-up and when the compositions for Legacy of Hate started to form another switch had to be made since vocalist Kimmo Peramäki decided to leave the band. After a while the search for a substitute was completed and the recordings could start for real. This new lead singer, Antti Railio, performs very well indeed and with his arrival yet another dimension in the vocal department has been introduced since many of the outings on the album also feature some real interesting death metal kind of whispering/wheezing instalments that are perfectly assimilated in the sonical landscape and the darker and gloomier mood. When not visiting those tone compartments Railio's register is mainly in the high tone area and despite that his efforts there feel very familiar, a strong reference to compare with hasn't been a task this scribe has been able to complete.
Lyrically Legacy of Hate is a concept album based on a self-composed fantasy theme and the story basically revolves around a king and a queen and their desperate quest to free their realm and destroy some sacred stones and a magical sword and invoked in the metal fairytale is also a struggle to save their son from an evil plague that if not stopped will turn him into a minion of evil. The songs gradually take you further and further into the story and it all starts with an instrumental short intro followed by the first vocal-cut, Unbreakable, that offers instant gratification and immediately introduces the listener to the new points of reference. This track is a really good representative of the album as a whole with its fantastic introductory guitar-riffing supported by keys, the deep vein of melody, terrific interlude section and lush soloing. The Freedom Call adaptations are at once recognisable here and the epic chorus is the kind that Luca Turilli himself would have wished he had written since it lands right up the Rhapsody alley.
Following hot on the heels of this one are a number of tracks that uses pretty much the same concept, strength and speed (always up-tempo when dealing with Celesty) and also reach an 8,5 in grade at the minimum. The choruses are as hypnotic as ever with their majestic and epic touches, the verses are highly melodic, the solos swirl throughout, the darker vocals spice things up and it's more of a rule than exception that it's enough to simply hear the intros to the cuts to realise that this is a very beneficial listening experience and a metal delivery way above average. There are some other real anchors in the collection also worthy of masterpiece value and one of them is most definitely Army of the Universe. That song for this scribe represents some of the best material the band has ever written and with its close to seven minutes the tune covers as good as every single ingredient a sovereign metal anthem should. The album further on escalades in the amazing epic closing metal eposes, Legacy of Hate Part I & II, where each one of them individually reach almost eleven minutes in play-time. The final one also contains the only real slow part of the album but after approximately five minutes the tempo changes galore to up-tempo again and just as every other track on Legacy of Hate reaches anthemic sing-along levels. These two final brilliant outings of epic metal opus proportions bring tremendous closure to real formidable metal manifestation.
It must be admitted that even though great things were expected from this band considering their debut an album of this magnitude wasn't expected for at least a couple of releases ahead. The band delivers an album here that definitely betters their debut and introduces some new serious creative dynamics without using overblown progressive and symphonic connotations and at the same time remaining true to the metal they originally represented. The entire recording session took over five months before the album saw completion but with the final results at hand, it's very easy to conclude that it was well worthwhile. Without a single track missing the target Legacy of Hate's got greatness written all over it and is an absolute must-buy for all adherents of melodic power metal with symphonic and epic feel. Doubtlessly Celesty will stand the test of time with releases like this and mark my words- for certain this band seems destined to rise to stardom so scoop up this latest output and find out exactly why.
Highly average power metal. There are some brilliant riffs, and a few really good songs on this album, but in addition to that there are some really emberrasing songs, melodies and riffs that sink this album. The debut was better and more even, whereas this lacks good songwriting and contains too many weak moments. //Tommy (5 of 10)