Thursday, April 19, 2012

FESTER - A Celebration of Death CD review

FESTER - A Celebration of Death CD
Abyss Records
Genre: Blackened Death and Doom

As I always point out old bands who reunite after a long hiatus are like ghosts from the past. They can either haunt you or comfort you. In the case of FESTER it's been eighteen years since their last full length. That one was Silence which was aptly titled for what was to come after it's release in 1994. I was not familiar with them in their early 90's heyday so this is an introduction to them for me. This reunited version only contains one original member from their last recording and that's guitarist Bjorn Matisen. Good o'l Bjorn had probably seen a few shows by some newcomers and figured he'd unearth FESTER from it's grave since his other project SINCERA wasn't going anywhere. Along for the ride he's enlisted fellow SINCERA member Thomas Andresen on vocals, Jon Bakker on bass (he replaces former bassist Jorgen Skjoldenwho died in 2000) and on drums there's a guy named Jotho.

This modern version of FESTER relies heavily on the death doom aesthetic leaving plenty of room for ambiance with blackened highlights especially with Andresen's tortured vocal delivery. Their sound overall is like a brooding repetitious march through a burnt out forest. The crunch of charcoaled wood under foot. The acrid smell of soot overwhelming your nose and watering your eyes. Everything around is dead as you trudge along with the faint whispers of ghosts lingering in the air. That's definitely a good description of the title cut as well as half of the material on here. When he's not pounding out the militaristic marching riffs Bjorn toys with melancholy patterns and minor soloing which gives off a grandiose effect. The opening cut "Rites of Ceres" is actually a beautiful sounding number if agony is your pleasure. Much of the rest sounds like a medieval nightmare including the clashing of swords, battle hymns and warrior funerals.

Even with all of that happy go lucky fun stuff previously mentioned FESTER tends to fester (for lack of a better word)on the industrial strength repetition which can get boring. During one particular listening venture for A Celebration of Death I dosed off and dreamt that I was in the dungeon of the black tower being tortured with a hot poker. I suddenly woke up to realize I had fell asleep with a cigarette in my hand and the burning butt was in my lap. Actually that's not as bad as the time when I fell asleep listening to BURZUM and woke up to find the room was on fire with the stereo still playing. But anyway I won't bury Bjorn and company under the ground that so many others have tread over since the last time FESTER put out an album. I'll even forgive him for the goth disco closer "Rites of Mortiis". Next time shorten the songs or at least include a few amphetamines with each release.
Rating: 3/5



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