Celestial Season just released brand new REMASTERED versions of their Classic DOOM ERA albums FOREVER SCARLET PASSION and SOLAR LOVERS.

    Celestial Season just released brand new REMASTERED versions of their Classic DOOM ERA albums FOREVER SCARLET PASSION and SOLAR LOVERS.

    2020 Remastered edition of Solar Lovers.
    Mastered by James Plotkin.
    Artwork by Jason Köhnen.

    Review Summary: Wintry frost, cloudy skies, rainy days, naked trees and chilly winds, put in sounds and delivered by the ones who know best: Dutch.

    Doom/Death Metal music has always been the gloomiest yet the most experimental than any other metal genres. While some bands preferred to add string arrangements (like early My Dying Bride), or gothic elements (like Paradise Lost), others played with psychedelic sounds (like Tiamat) or adopted a more 70’s doom metal style (like Cathedral).

    But no band had ever managed before to filter and incorporate all these experimental efforts in one single album like Celestial Season did.

    Celestial Season, as numerous other bands, started out in the early 90’s as a typical doom/death metal band resembling to the respective British early efforts. The only thing worth mentioning about the band’s debut albumForever Scarlet Passionis that it came out from the mostly unknown Dutch metal scene. It offered nothing new however and the songs were at best of an average quality.

    Their second release, Solar Lovers, which comes 2 years later (in 1995), finds the seven member band adopting a unique doom metal style and improving shockingly in all fields. Blending together heavy (really heavy!) slow guitar riffs with beautiful keyboard arrangements, stone rock influences (that later that year would turn into their main music style with the release of Sonic Orb EP, whispering and growling vocals and….2 violins, Celestial Season’s Solar Lovers resembles no other.

    Decameronethat introduces the listener to the album’s unique atmosphere is a slow paced ultra melodic doom metal song (and one of the album’s highlights). But the neo romantic sense created doesn’t last long, as Solar Child that follows reveals the band’s first efforts to adopt a more stoner rock style. Solar Child’s guitars (as well asDancing to a Thousand Symphonies that comes later) build a wall of heavy up tempo riffs and growling vocals that largely incorporate psychedelic 70’ rock influences. Soft Embalmer of the Still Midnight that follows returns to the doom/death roots and here the 2 violins (escorted by a cello) stop playing a minor role but somehow lead the song’s entire structure. It’s a sudden fall to despair, a sorrowful landscape, a sense of loss. That is what doom/death metal is all about anyway. And this song offers the best of it.

    Only The Scent of Eve that closes Solar Lovers can equal this song as per melody, sadness and mourning. The whole album reaches its peak in the middle of this song, when violins and cellos take over. This is by far my most beloved track of Celestial Season – a masterpiece of poetically enchanting music combining the greatest of neo romantic elements along with heavy guitar riffs that characterize Solar Lovers.
    What does come as a surprise however is the cover of
    >Vienna. That cover (originally performed by 80’s best firework called Ultravox) underlines Solar Lover’s ultimate goal. To create a unique, romantic blend of sorrowful soundscapes with psychedelic influences by combining violins, keyboards, whispering voices, growling vocals and heavy melodic guitars. It’s rhythmic outbreak (with pianos, violins, cellos etc) after the second chorus is glorious and epic in any sense.

    Overall, despite being characterized as a doom/death metal album, Solar Lovers does not just lead the listener to the dark and hopeless sceneries other bands prefer to create. It offers an unprecedented blend of neo romantic elements, exhilarating melodies and deeply emotional lyrics.

    Celestial Season never managed to create anything equal – or at least close- to Solar Lovers. By turning to stone rock after this release, the band started wondering on paths already paved by so many others, offering nothing but an already chewed outcome that would raise no eyebrow.

    Still Solar Lovers will remain the Dutch metal scene’s hidden jewel, and one of the most inspired and unique doom/death metal masterpieces of the previous decade.


    – Unique not only in band’s history but also in the entire doom metal scene
    – Extremely well performed and high level of musicianship
    – Perfect string and keyboard arrangements that create a sorrowful yet romantic atmosphere
    – A sense of romantic and enchanting sadness than of total despair


    – Few indifferent instrumental fillings
    – Vocals – therefore lyrics- are nearly impossible to be heard sometimes 


    released July 3, 2020

    Line up :

    Stefan Ruiters – Vocals
    Robert Ruiters – Guitar
    Pim van Zanen – Guitar
    Olly Smit – Bass
    Jason Köhnen – Drums
    Jiska Ter Bals – Violin
    Maaike Aarts – Violin
    Aatie Aarts – Cello

    Forever Scarlet Passion [Remastered 2020]

    2020 Remastered edition of Forever Scarlet Passion.
    Mastered by James Plotkin.
    Artwork by Jason Köhnen.

    “…utopia…we had it in our minds…”

    This often blown-over whatever-tet rightfully deserved to be the perennial fourth wheel on the English tricycle of doom. So they’re Dutch, big deal. Where’s it say bands have to sprout like cabbage from the same country in order to encapsulate a style? Well it doesn’t, but I know, I know, it makes things all nice n’ tidy and easier to dream up pithy little aphorisms so the masses can more effortlessly place artists and styles into small-minded perspective, but I digress.

    With Forever Scarlet Passion, we see a string-heavy Celestial Season expounding on the bombastic murk of My Dying Bride. Whereas the UK five-piece more or less roped their atmospheric mantras off to certain songs and only those songs, CS wisely disintegrate tracks’ borders and stretch the instrument across just about the entire album. For that, we get a less boxy, song-by-song feel and more of a prolonged, harmonious saga of crushing woe that would be more washed out and incomplete if not for Edith Mathot’s ever-present bow work and Sylvester Piyel’s (the spinner of the 7”’s violin web) occasional keyboard trappings. Without taking kudos away from the five main bodies of the group whose talent of bending rhythms into the shape of teardrops is obvious, I’m willing to admit my glassy-eyed fascination for one weepy neck-held gadget and say it’s the belly of this type of recording. Should it leave, this nine-songer would be akin to a less death-minded My Dying Bride or Anathema’s more bare bones, but emotive material.

    Slowly churned riffage literally outweighs the explosive stuff tracks like “Together In Solitude” and “For Eternity” blaze with at times even with the jogging pace of bi-polar “Mother of all Passions” thrown on top like a grave cover. Guitarists Robert Ruiter and Jeroen Haverkamp intertwine massive crunch and (sometimes) tandem, squalid solos well enough, while bassist Lucas Van Slegtenhorst and swinger Jason Kohnen are adequate enough to keep the backbone breathing. Stefan Ruiter highlights the typical death growlspeak, superbly crusty and raunchy, yet when he’s not gargling carpet tacks he borrows some of Anathema’s Darren White’s injured whine to decorate some of the mostly panicky, up-beat “In Sweet Bitterness”, moody “Afterglow”, and slices of “Mother of all Passions”.

    Enveloping stuff like opener “Cherish My Pain”, reoccurring “The Merciful” (this version without female vox: a disappointment but happily and strangely isn’t at all misaligned without it), somber violin/keyboard betwixt “Ophelia”, and unpredictably quasi-uplifting closer “For Eternity” are slow brewed to a smooth creamy gray temper that makes the project less metallically grim and sloth-like, the deformed family of thick power cords that lie deep in doom’s pit muffled by a plush detonation of exquisitely opposing strings.

    Differing from My Dying Bride as well, or should I say improving on, CS aren’t content with a single weepy violin blade slicing the veil, and with the magick of multiple recording tracks, intrude and overlap a few verses for homegrown duets (a more smoke ‘n mirrors revelation that would bear fruit on ‘95’s Solar Lovers) that make all of “Ophelia” and areas in “For Eternity” spring alive enough so that one could be in the midst of a runaway boxing match and those notes could seep through to somehow calm the blind fury.

    Only worth mentioning as a future foretelling, with a not-so-close ear one can hear little trippy adventures that shimmer and boogie nearly out of plain sight, but nonetheless cross the path of one or two of these beautiful bruisers, one being “Cherish My Fate” and its hippie-tinged wallow wavering in and out of a main rhythm or two. Having heard the flashback Sonic Orb ep would better make my case.

    All this and printed lyrics as well, well written with second rate Warrior/Ain passion that’s still yards ahead of most bands out there.

    By ’93, Paradise Lost’s avant-garde dungeon finery, Gothic, is thrown down the cellar steps for the more forward motion Shades of God, so that leaves us with the two other bands mentioned in this review and The Gathering’s Almost a Dance. Celestial Season hoof it out in scorching doom step along with the sweaty rest, closing in on the slightly elder originators that instead of losing ground, are heard rumbling into their prime. Either way, Celestial Season had proven themselves equals.

    “…let me roam with the insects…” 


    released July 3, 2020

    Line up :

    Stefan Ruiters – Vocals
    Robert Ruiters – Guitar
    Jeroen Haverkamp – Guitar
    Lucas van Slegtenhorst – Bass
    Jason Köhnen – Drums

    Edith Mathot – Violin
    Sylvester Piyel – Keyboard


    Publish On

    Want to write about music? Join in!
    We are looking for authors, reviewers and music lovers who want to publish on
    Give us a message if you are..

    Related articles