Overview: Despite the fact that there are still artists performing Black Metal with bona fide gracefulness, it is undeniable that the genre has lost most of its early fieriness and hunger – invaluable traits that shape its defiant and antagonistic nature. Nevertheless, there are still those who relish in its late days’ nostalgia, while simultaneously keeping several of those primeval formulas intact. That is the case of Ceremonial Castings, a band that describes its own template as “American Deathphonic Black Metal”.
On Salem 1692, we are offered with an amalgam of the more symphonic and melodic sides of Black Metal (Where the Witches’ Waltz), with segments of technical Death Metal (The Devil in Salem), and even parts of (rather inspired) female singing and acoustic bits (Stones Upon the Warlock). The overall feel resembles some of the finest moments of Norwegians’ Limbonic Art – particularly in the vocal delivery, guitar sound and synthesizer segments – although Ceremonial Castings’ assault is perhaps more vicious and blustery in comparison.
Production: Dishevelled, though somewhat painstaking on occasion, it undermines specific vocal passages and unnecessarily heightens a number of keyboard sections.
Parting Thoughts: With a concept shaped around the notorious court cases of Salem, Ceremonial Castings attest the significance behind Black Metal’s nefarious lyrical spectrum, even if room for improvement is still a valid alternative in both musical and production areas.