Visions of Stagnant Blood is the death metal lobotomy you’ve always wanted to usher in your more animalistic tendencies and make you forget about taxes.

Release date: June 11, 2024 | Independent | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Bandcamp

Clicking play on this EP for the first time made two thoughts go through my head: ‘yeeeesssssssssss, they did it again‘ and ‘goddaaaaaaaaaaaamn, this shit rips‘.

If that sounds familiar, it’s because it is. Celestial Sanctuary made my favorite death metal release of last year with Insatiable Thirst For Torment, so good that I immediately wanted more which is a very rare feeling for me. Less than a year later, they saw fit to drop this sloppy fucker of an EP on our lap and even though it’s only three (3) songs, it shows the band doing what they do best along with some awesome changes that show the depth of their art and where it can go from here.

Visions of Stagnant Blood is comfort food to me, but don’t confuse that for something cheap and non-nutritious. While it’s rewarding to engage the music and attentively listen – which I’ve done tons of since its June 11 release – I can also just throw this on while I’m doing anything else and enjoy it as a soundtrack to life elevating whatever the hell I’m doing, like laundry or arson. I even recommended it to an old coworker of mine who I don’t think has heard anything heavier than Metallica in her life (hey, she asked). She hasn’t messaged me since I recommended it so she either hasn’t listened to it yet, or has and went full unga bunga cavewoman goblin mode and retreated to the Colorado forests in response to these prehistoric, primal-ass riffs.

The title track is more of their consummate death metal sound, rich and vibrant for what it is. The drums call forth legitimate cataclysm while the guitars give it that richness with deep, dense tones and agile writing that still knows when to hammer you into a single-celled organism. You just feel so base listening to this with full-on activation of your reptilian sensibilities. All you know is survive, eat, reproduce, and poop – it’s real monkey metal hours when this song comes on. “Puddles Of You Reflect The Filth Within” is similar with its riveting, strong opening melody that settles into a wonderous groove soon after. This shit is so clean and catchy. It has lovely movement and progression throughout its 5:33 runtime, almost to the point that it betrays its grungy, dingy, dirty, syphilitic, oozing, leprous death metal sound, but doesn’t. It’s pretty, but not – the vocals (leveled up a bit since their last LP) will ensure you never forget just how vile Celestial Sanctuary are.

And just so you know I’m not just saying this, the final track is called “Gavage Of The Vile” and it’s the biggest deal on this EP, literally and figuratively. At just over ten minutes, it’s the longest track the band have produced to my research and it offers up something previous work hasn’t: a cult-like devotion to doom sensibilities. Where “Puddles Of You Reflect The Filth Within” and a couple other tracks before simply flirted with doom metal and the more slow-and-low modality, “Gavage Of The Vile” reckons with it directly, force-feeding (that’s what ‘gavage‘ refers to) me with one of the best death-doom songs I’ve heard in recent memory. The comparatively plodding, stomping drums make the foundation for a very deliberate and awesomely realized trek through the muck, giving me shades of Temple of Void while still staying wholly themselves.

Visions of Stagnant Blood is another silverback gorilla gangbang of a slapper. This is music that the Orks from the Warhammer 40,000 universe would think is Shakespearean in execution. They’d listen to this shit wearing monocles and holding small tea cups with their pinkies out. It’s short and sweet, satiating just enough until the next time they prolapse us with more sundering death metal from 145,000,000 BC or whenever prehistoric man was around – I ain’t googling shit. This all reminds me of a great line on Mic Tyson‘s “Title Track” from Brownsville rapper Sean Price (riP!): ‘this a dumb rap, but I can rap smarter.’ Because for as ignorantly primitive as it sounds, there’s a lot of deft musicianship at play here, just as Sean P could and did rhyme as smoothly as he did about street life and pistol whipping you in the mouth with unmatched flows and impressive wordplay, so too do Celestial Sanctuary craft ultra giga evil Flinstones-ass death metal with all the finesse and grace you possibly could.

Me like. Me want more. Need music to bonk mammoth to.

David Rodriguez

David Rodriguez

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

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