CEREMONIUM - Dreams We Have Written (WEIRD TRUTH - CD 2012)
I have to admit that I haven't heard of , before I got this CD. Their name may have popped up few times before, but I never cared nor checked their music. I am glad then that with "Dreams We Have Written" I got a full discography of this American band and can enjoy some of the best death / doom metal tracks from the mid to late 90's, which I can think of. Spread over two discs, this compilation presents everything this band has recorded and I can guarantee that this is superb effort.
I always start exploring music in chronological order, so I start with disc two, where you could find their demos and some rare tracks. Of all this stuff definitely both songs from "Nightfall in Heaven" EP (1993) are the best. They're truly crushing and fantastic sounding death / doom pieces and the best stuff this band has ever recorded. What I love about it is how powerful it sounds, riffs are truly massive, heavy and the additional melodic accents, even with few keyboard parts do enhance the dark, sorrowful doom death metal aura perfectly. Plus Oscar Matter performed some great vocals here. Yeah, very, very good start for . I would love to see the original vinyl copy of it in my collection! Then there's "Demo '93" (1993) and it is pretty solid effort as well, although it's a bit harsher and has maybe more primitive feel. It lacks a bit of that powerful, crushing sound, but on the other hand I like its rawness and obscurity. "Under the Eternal Horizon" is a rare compilation song and it's just equally good as the EP material I mentioned earlier. And this disc is completed with rare "Promo 2001". Well, it's good that this promo is here, this way the compilation is full and doesn't leave any songs behind... but to be honest, this recording is rather mediocre and doesn't impress me as much as stuff this band recorded earlier. Especially the last song, which is an instrumental piece "Icons" is pretty boring (and it goes for eight minutes!).
Disc one is a real feast for me, with two classic albums of : "Into the Autumn Shade" (1995) and "No Longer Silent" (2000). Both full lengths are really damn good. Their heavy, doomy, powerful sound will crush you into the ground and the sorrowful, dark, vicious atmosphere is exactly as it should be. Both albums complete each other very well, with the harsh parts, massive slow songs, but also some faster tunes. The melodic fragments are also great, especially on the second album. And cover is something like the icing on the cake, very fuckin cover. I cannot really find anything what I would not like on both of these albums. Maybe they're not perfect, but very damn good for sure. Anyway, think of Paradise Lost, Decomposed... generally, the British doom death metal scene from the old days for comparison. OK, some Dutch monsters could be mentioned! So, music was quite different to the usual US death metal. But I like it a lot. The whole performance is very good, I like all these powerful chords, great harmonies, beastly, deep growls... And that monstrous sound. Maybe some songs star to sound a bit similar to each other, but it's rather small objection. All in all, we have here a fantastic band, with great double disc presentation of their entire catalogue. And some liner notes, which will help you to learn details about band's history. A worthy release, absolutely.
Standout tracks: "Nightfall in Heaven" EP, "Under the Eternal Horizon"