I have an insatiable thirst for more of Celestial Sanctuary after listening to their new album, one that’s sure to be a death metal highlight of 2023.

Release date: August 25, 2023 | Church Road Records | Instagram | Twitter | Bandcamp

Clicking play on this album for the first time made two thoughts go through my head: ‘this is on Church Road Records?‘ and ‘goddaaaaaaaaaaaamn, this shit rips‘.

Look, I don’t want to shove anyone or anything into boxes more than I have to, but I just didn’t see Church Road as the place for more straightforwardish death metal like Celestial Sanctuary. Until now, they’ve alluded me with their relatively short career of four years, but… you see the damn cover? I did – it got me. And let’s be real, preconceived notions or not, anything on Church Road is worth at least one (1) listen. They know their shit.

Insatiable Thirst For Torment is death metal done right. It doesn’t revel in the old school (not that I mind that) and it doesn’t really integrate much else like dense technicality or a progressive mindset. It’s pretty much what is says on the tin, complete with repulsive song titles and, again, a kick-dick cover steeped in fantastical violence from unknown realms. If this were 1988 and you saw this fucker in the record store, you’d pick it up for… how much was vinyl back then? Let me ask my mom real quick… Nah, she said they were anywhere from $3.99 to $7.99 for the bigger releases. No fucking way – inflation or not, that’s a steal.

Anyway, this is maximum grime. The guitar tones are acidic, the drums absolutely wallop, and the vocals are sickly, depraved even. All elements of their death metal come together with an immense amount of melody and catchiness. You’ll find yourself squealing along to the pinch harmonics in “Trapped Within The Rank Membrane” and stomping your way into an eviction notice after your hater-ass downstairs neighbors hear you listening to the hardcore breakdown-esque ending of that same track.

“The Lurid Glow of a Dead, Burning Body” is weighty as hell, slapping you across the mouth with lovely drum rhythms that are subtle, but soooo effective. All of these tracks have profound momentum to them – the basic anatomy of a song involves the gradual growth of instruments to felonious disregard for safety, but filling breaks between verses with foul-ass riffs and banshee-like solos that any household name in the scene would nod to out of respect alone. Everything just churns at maximum efficiency, and even at a pretty standard LP length of 40 minutes, not a single moment feels wasted or uncapitalized on by Celestial Sanctuary.

“Meandering Stream of Foul Fluid” (I warned y’all, these songs titles are rated E for Eeewwww) is one instance of the band playing with expectations a bit with a more atmospheric intro than other tracks, but it’s not long before the double kicks from the drums send you to war. I got very, very subtle Worm vibes from this. Overall, it breathes more, but the air is still acrid beyond belief. Also, the vocals sound like a less bellowing Corpsegrinder at times and I feel like that’s one of the biggest compliments you can pay a death metal vocalist seeing as he’s one of the greats. “Biomineralization (Cell Death)” should also be high on your list as well with its more groovy tenor.

But if you just want to get absolutely railed every track, the album exceeds that demand. Like, “Glutted With Chunder” just goes for it from the jump with quickened drums and a relentless tone for its 4:22 runtime. “Swivel Eyed and Gurning in the Shadows” does as well, probably even more. Metal drummers especially are practiced enough to have great stamina and resolve when it comes to keeping time at high speeds, but it’s intros like this song has that really make you think ‘damn, how does he do it?

Celestial Sanctuary are just firing on all cylinders, summoning this feral, lizard-brained, berserker attitude feels good to bask in. This is the type of LP that really makes you regret not getting into the band earlier. Even if their earlier work wasn’t as good as the stuff that hooked you, you still want to appreciate that growth in real-time if possible. Without a doubt, I’ll be visiting their debut album, Soul Diminished – also on Church Road Records – right after I tuck this review in for bed.

Insatiable Thirst For Torment is an impressive gorepile of fuck, a rancid and bloodied foreskin tapestry, a fetid bloat of liquified unlife. It’s one of those DOOM levels with the fleshy, living walls that make you feel uneasy before bisecting demons with the Super Shotgun. What I’m trying to say is, it’s fun as hell. Death metal is such a hard sell for me these days so to find a band like Celestial Sanctuary that gets it and hammers home on its core tenets in ways that make you write a review like this is something special. This band deserves all the love they get, and then some.

David Rodriguez

David Rodriguez

"I came up and so could you, and fuck the boys in blue" - RMR

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