Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Review: Ceremonial Oath - Carpet

Band: Ceremonial Oath
Album: Carpet
Year: 1995
Genre: Melodic Death Metal

Ceremonial Oath seem to be quite unknown to the melodic death metal scene which is kind of strange since it, for a time anyway, was home to a number of the guys in In Flames. This release even includes Anders Friden on vocals and former In Flames guitarist Anders Iwers.

I will be honest and say the instruments are played in a kind of sloppy manner at times. Look no further than the cover of Iron Maiden’s Hallowed Be Thy Name for this. There are lots of twin leads in that song and the guitarists seem to have some trouble keeping time with each other. The produce ranges from somewhere between primitive and the standard for a release at the time (think Lunar Strain). It can be muddy and dirty at times. This might totally bum people out and maybe I’m strange but to me it actually gives the album more character.

The band provides 7 good songs on Carpet. Tomas Lindberg of At the Gates lends vocals for The Shadowed End, One of Us – Nightshade, and Immortalized. For the rest of the tracks Anders does the vocals. This is pretty interesting practically giving half the tracks to each vocalist and it does a lot mix things up in that department. I would have to say I prefer Anders’ songs on Carpet though.

The last track on the album is Hallowed Be Thy Name and it’s a really great cover. The band plays at a faster speed than the original which gives it an urgency. The intro riff to Immortalized oddly sounds like something Metallica has or would have done in their old Thrash days. Even the mini solo sounds like Kirk, perhaps it is just an influence shining through. Someone mentioned the intro to Dreamsong having a metalcore like intro, though that same metalcore intro would be said to sound like a melodeath riff, funny stuff there. The song has an extremely catchy bridge that I could listen to over and over with a cool little solo.

Another favorite is The Day I Buried. It’s full of harmonized leads sometimes played at a more frantic pace. It also has some pretty good riffs within as well as some galloping moments. I also enjoy how at times the double bass is more pronounced giving it a heavier touch.

Overall Carpet is a pretty good album. I’m sure some people will be scared away by production (its really not that bad) or the at times sloppy musicianship but as I said earlier, it gives the album character. It has two of my favorite melodeath vocalists and some pretty good riffs and solos and a sweet cover. What’s not to like?

Score: 8/10
Standout Track: Hallowed Be Thy Name/The Day I Buried

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