Dark Celebration - Phlegeton: The Transcendence of Demon Lords
Paragon Records
Blackened Death Metal
7 songs (29'33")
Release year: 2009
Paragon Records
Reviewed by Alex

Whenever I get an album to review and the promo sheet is enclosed I read it faithfully. It is important for me to know what the band themselves, their label or any other representative think of the art. I have to say that in the case of Brazil’s Dark Celebration I disagree with the promo sheet on many accounts. The band sees themselves specializing in the old ways of death metal, specifically citing Morbid Angel, Krisiun and The Chasm. I do not hear the characteristic Morbid Angel riffing, which can’t be confused with anything, and if we think of The Chasm only in terms of the last pair of albums, where they let more influences in, then Dark Celebration also branches out in traditional heavy metal riffing. As far as Krisiun goes, it probably is a fact that almost any self-respected Brazilian act has to pay homage, but Phlegeton does not have that over the top non-stop blasting technicality Krisiun albums are so full off.

Actually, Phlegeton: The Transcendence of Demon Lords is the collection of songs from Dark Celebration earlier split on Face the Abyss Records and newer cuts. Older songs do display more aggressive attitude and chaotic slightly off-the-wall blasting, so the Krisiun influence can be conjectured. Reversed Creation and Infra Dark proceed rather linearly, but bash the skull solidly, enjoying a quick melodic solo along the way.

When Dark Celebration made appearance on these pages, they were dubbed a more interesting band on their split with Sodamned, but one of my fellow reviewers yearned for the band’s further development. Further development Phlegeton shows quite profusely, as the new songs are rather distinct and different from the earlier split’s tracks. Dark Celebration veered a lot further into traditional heavy metal, and seem to enjoy themselves reveling in a more melodic stance. Sulphur begins with practically Iron Maiden catchiness, while Ocularis Infernum opens up with an Iced Earth-like gallop. Melodic blackened tremolos also make appearance, the picking in Ocularis Infernum reminding me of all things Amon Amarth. Also, somewhere along the way, Dark Celebration guitarists A.N. and A.L. studied some heavy metal classics, twin guitars harmonizing on the solos in Sulphur and Ocularis Infernum giving Judas Priest a brief nod. Don’t be confused, Dark Celebration are still quite extreme with their metal, but after they pick a pair of solid riffs to build a song around, they seem to coddle enough of death metal intensity, blackened melodies and traditional style into one attractive cohesive package.

Then, there is also the matter of D.G.’s vocals, which can never be confused with standard death metal growling, differentiating Dark Celebration further from the likes of David Vincent and Alex Camargo. If anything, his combo of layered shrill shrieks and occasional hysterical crying pushes the band deeper into black metal territory than anything they come up with musically. The alternating back’n’forth vocal line exchange in Legacy of Fire, however, is downright silly and drags down the song’s otherwise strong vibrant mood.

Dark Celebration have made enough progress to be leaving their smaller original label behind, and are more prepared for the bigger time to which Paragon will most likely introduce them. If you are not the style purist, there are definitely dynamic songs on this album to enjoy. I seemed to have spent a lot of time trying to cast Dark Celebration, but perhaps it is their cross-style non-conformism which is going to make them unique.

Killing Songs :
Sulphur, Ocularis Infernum, Razors Dance
Alex quoted 70 / 100
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