Wayyyyyyyy back in August the German band (one man, obvs) subject to this review reached out to me over the waves of the web and asked if I’d be interested in talking about Celestia. I checked it out, kinda loved the name Galaktik Cancer Sqaud, and replied in the affirmative. And then, like a moron, I just didn’t get around to doing anything with it. I know, I am lax, and for that I apologise to Mr Galaktic Cancer Sqaud – or Argwohn if we’re being fancy.
So, now the formalities are out of the way, let’s get into the sound of Celestia.It’s a curious amalagamtion of trve and raw black metal – the vocals are extremely harsh and pronounced – and a weirdly spacey, trippy vibe (think Germ maybe, and Tim Yatras’s black metal infused trance sounds) yet the two sit together in a defiant harmony. Cold and bleak soundscapes are wrapped in occasional and often beautifully shimmering guitar lines that build and sweep with gorgeous sentiment.
Celestia is sweetly uplifting in the moments of bright harmony and “Artificial Life” features riffs that reach out to the very edges of the universe whilst the instrumental title track is over entirely too quickly. It is one of many shorter passages that stains the memory with huge swathes of guitar and hope before leading into larger and more detailed tracks such as “Kings of Dust and Ice” and it’s fiery attitude to absolute desolation. Progressive passages charge with all out rock flavour whilst Argwhon screams his way though the track with a desperate relish, the song taking on different identities as it twists and turns towards the end – which happens to be a synth-laden malaise.
Galaktik Cancer Squad uses clashes of tone and sound to create a whirlpool of utter despair and where the music may sound full of hope, the words betray an altogether darker atmosphere. The project aims to bring these two opposing forces into a cauldron of total desolation – no matter how lovely and charming the soaring melodies are, life will always drag you down. It’s pretty depressing but when told in such stark and realistic terms, it becomes a tad easier to cope with. At least, that’s what we tell ourselves, right?