Based in Cambridge, England, Celestial Sanctuary are Tomas Cronin (guitar, vocals), Jim Rutterford (bass), Matt Adnett (guitar) and James Burke (drums). No, you’ve never heard of the musicians behind Celestial Sanctuary and that’s the point. They are new blood; according to their labels, “the beginning of The New Wave of British Death Metal.” Mass Extinction, their auspicious two-song demo cassette, dropped in 2019 on CD through an underground Portuguese operation before getting reissued several times, including by one of the English quartet’s current labels, Redefining Darkness. Now, after a perfect amount of time, Celestial Sanctuary return with their debut full-length, Soul Diminished, out this Friday on Redefining Darkness and Church Road Records.
Alternately up- and down-tempo, but always intentional and brutally performed, Soul Diminished packs nine tracks of really heavy-knuckled death metal punishment. Built on catchy riffs, fresh ideas and dedicated executions, Soul Diminished is essentially just getting roughed up by four English dudes for forty-some minutes. When you come crawling back, make sure it’s in time to get one of the records. A second pressing of the sold-out variants are on their way, according to their labels.
“From the start of the writing process, the intent of this album was to bring the identity of British Death Metal into the 21st Century,” writes Celestial Sanctuary. “Don’t get me wrong—we’re the same as every other death metal band in that you can trace our DNA and know pretty much exactly what has inspired us, but we’re conscious of injecting something putrid of our own and pushing forward. Lyrically, the record is introspective and conceptual. It’s a story about a soul trapped in a body [whose] destiny is already sealed. You can make of it what you will—whether it’s a victim of human trafficking, factory farming or drowning in mental illness. We’re a 21st century band, so we ain’t gonna put out songs that glorify misogyny, rape or violence towards women or any gender for that matter. That shit’s so dead.”
Get Soul Diminished on 12″ vinyl LP from Redefining Darkess (North America) and Church Road Records (UK & Europe).