It’s interesting how hardcore punk colonized sludge/doom metal, starting with Neurosis. Then came Isis, Old Man Gloom, and the late-’90s Boston/Hydra Head/Deathwish, Inc. scene. The result was bands that sound metal, but that probably have short hair. Europe got this bug hard — see Cult of Luna, Callisto, Knut, Burst, The Ocean, and so on. French bands of this ilk, like Year of No Light and Aussitôt Mort (reviewed here and here), seem to have a certain elegance. They’re requisitely downtuned, but aren’t afraid of melody.
Celeste stand out from their French compatriots by being hard as nails. Misanthrope(s) (Denovali, 2009) has hot mastering, which surprisingly benefits the material. The sound is dense and punishing. It befits the bleak riffs and scathing vocals, which suggest black metal with steel armor plates. The unforgiving presentation is a refreshing change from NeurIsis bands that muck about with “psychedelic” nonsense. Adding to the opacity are French song titles and lyrics printed in a monolithic block. The one-sheet I got had translated song titles, which likely went through Babel Fish: “As to Delude the Looks and the Smell of Corpse,” “Touching This Gap Fan My Fascination.” Huh? Pardon the French, enjoy the beating.
Misanthrope(s) is available as a free download from the band here. It also comes on CD and double gatefold vinyl from the sources below. I am giving away a copy of the CD. For a chance to win, email invisibleoranges at gmail dot com by midnight EST, Thursday, August 6 with the subject header “Misanthropic Generation” and your full name and address. I will choose a winner randomly.