Written by: TL on 11/10/2009 15:17:57

While I realize that to some, the following introduction might deduct from the integrity of this review, I'm having a hard time coming up with anything else that introduces my experiences with the subject in a more truthful manner, so here goes: With some promos, you just know reviewing is going to be more like work than like fun. Enter todays first contender, Berlin four-piece Celan and their debut LP "Halo", a record the uncompromising macho aesthetics of which are the kind that I only seldom find myself appreciating, and when I occasionally do, other bands tend to present them better.

You see, Celan seek mostly to pummel their audience with droning, distorted and discordant riffage, slowly and painfully, building upon bleak-as-fuck soundscapes while their vocalist roars relentlessly and, unfortunately, monotonously on top. A band like Helmet comes to mind, as well as a list of others. The problem for Celan is, that topping those 'others' that already inhabit this realm of music, is a rather towering task to undertake. You see, if you're going for experimentation (as Celan seem to do when they alternate their heaviness with quiet but unsettling atmospheric parts), then you have bands like The Ocean and The Psyke Project to contend with. If you're going for ferocity, then you have to out-shout The Chariot, Norma Jean and Converge. I think it's fair to ask, that if you're having a go at either, you better have spent some time planning how to either one-up those mastodons, or at least set yourself notably apart from them.

As you can probably tell from my tone, I don't think it seems like Celan have spent quite enough time doing so. I've tried a handful of times to embrace their attempts to shake my world, ladden heavy grooves, negative attitudes and disturbing background noises as they are, but in all honesty, after two to three tracks, I'm losing interest faster than if I was watching a female football match. Celan can play, and they can make their soundscape seem coherent, but they just don't have any of those unique impressive qualities that their more famous contemporaries can boast of.

So, before you get on my back, let me emphasize. I'm not criticizing the band for their capability, nor their conviction, rather it's the creativity (or the shortcomings of it), that lies at the heart of "Halo"'s problems I think. Because really, if you're into this kind of stuff, what are the chances you haven't already marvelled at the merits of "Wars And Rumours Of Wars", "Dead Storm" or "Redeemer", and if you have, what are the chances that "Halo" is really going to impress you? Quite slim if you ask me, so I think it's fair to ask Celan to up the ambition next time. Till then, they'll probably have to settle for being hardcore heroes only in their own local area I'm afraid.

Download: All This And Everything
For The Fans Of: The Ocean, Coalesce, The Chariot
Listen: myspace.com/celanband

Release Date 01.06.2009
Exile on Mainstream Records

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