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Celestial Grave – ‘Pvtrefactio’ (EP Premiere)

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In the first part of his highly influential ‘Critique of Judgment’, eighteenth century German philosopher Immanuel Kant makes a distinction between the beautiful and the sublime. He argues that the beauty of an object is both readily apparent and universal; anyone should look at an orchid, for example, and agree on the subjective beauty of that orchid. The sublime, however, has more of a sense of mystery about it, because those things that might be called sublime — like a mountain range before an early morning fog has completely burned off, or the movement of storm clouds — exist on a scale far too large for most people to wrap their heads around. In simpler terms, beautiful objects elicit a pleasurable response, while the sublime provokes a combination of terror and awe.

Given that framework, there’s something indefinable within the eye of the maelstrom of Pvtrefactio, the forthcoming 7” EP From Finnish black metal duo Celestial Grave, that elevates these songs to the level of the sublime. Part of that stems from the innate melodicism of the tracks, but chaotic arrangements and dimed-out, everything-louder-than-everything-else production keep things well away from atmospheric or post-black metal territory. A-side “Pvtrefactio” opens at a more funereal pace before morphing into something far more harrowing that sounds like Marduk on some seriously bad psychedelics. B-side “Deteriorating Angel” sounds a bit like Portal crossed with Black Cilice; trebly riffs occasionally break through to become audible above a near-constant wall of static and the incessant crashing of the hi-hats while heavily effect-laden vocals intone menacingly just underneath the din.

Pvtrefactio is definitely not a beautiful listening experience, but its ugliness and intensity feels just as moving as anything Alcest or Agalloch has ever released. The EP will be available on April 21 via Iron Bonehead. Until then, enjoy our exclusive stream below.

—Clayton Michaels

Follow Celestial Grave on Facebook.

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