Celeste – Infidèle(s)

CelesteCeleste are a French blackened doom/sludge/hardcore metal band and this is their sixth album.

The artwork of Celeste albums has always been very striking and atypical, but I think they’ve outdone themselves this time.

Even though the band are certainly not restricted to this one style, Celeste still manage to embody so much that’s good and right about sludge metal; they take the standard template and make it their own by widening it and customising it to their own nefarious needs. Celeste are one of those rare bands that manage to firmly imprint their own personality and character onto the sludge blueprint. As such, Infidèle(s), like all of Celeste’s work, stands on its own merits.

Having said that, this isn’t really sludge metal, as there’s so much else going on here all merged together into a tight ball of aggressive intensity. There’s not even a whiff of the Southern groove so beloved of most sludge metal miscreants, for a start. In Celeste’s world, the bluesy Southern vibes have been replaced with rolling metallic and hardcore content that sees the band sound both modern and timeless. Essentially, they incorporate modern, dark, and post- hardcore influences into their monolithic sound, making for music that’s wonderfully scathing and acerbic.

We mustn’t forget the band’s modern black metal influences, either, as these certainly make their presence felt here. Similar to Rorcal‘s blackened sludge assault in spirit, if not style, this is a cutting edge strain of the blackened plague that infects every pore of Celeste’s powerful music, without actually overcoming its victim.

The reality is, of course, that Celeste’s music is all of these things and more. Although ostensibly playing blackened sludge metal, the band have always somehow managed to hit that sweet spot where they don’t massively sound like anyone else in particular; despite having several easily recognised components to their sound, this is one band that definitely manage to craft songs that are greater than the sum of their parts.

The songs on Infidèle(s) are crushingly heavy, with ferocious grooves and imposing walls of guitars. Long enough to get sucked into, without being too long that your attention starts to wander, Celeste’s mastery of their style has been honed over the years into a fine killing point.

Lacking the murky filth of some of their peers, while still remaining utterly nasty and destructive, Infidèle(s) is another great example of Celeste producing colossally heavy music with a keen emotively crushing side.

What more is there to say? If you love music that’s heavy, intense, and full of substance, Infidèle(s) is for you.

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