CD Review: Celestial Ruin – The Awakening

Celestial Ruin
4 stars

Vancouver rockers Celestial Ruin are breaking ground by offering one of the first professional symphonic rock albums released by a Canadian act. The majority of symphonic rock and metal, which boasts loud guitars, symphonic keyboards and operatic vocals, tends to come from Europe where the style is thriving. In Canada the format is still relatively new, with the exception of the massive breakout from Texas rockers Evanescence a few years back. So in that sense, The Awakening is a great title for an album that might serve as an introduction to the world of symphonic rock and metal for those that might not know the format all that well.

Sounding the furthest thing from the commercial sounds of Evanescence, Celestial Ruin tend to borrow more from their European counterparts Nightwish and Stratovarius and mix it with a slightly less operatic vocal approach and not as much concentration on epic pieces. This gives them a unique mix of European flair and North American song structures.

The 10 track debut is a strong beginning for a band that has the skill and look to bring symphonic rock/metal to the Canadian masses. Notable highlights include From Beneath You – the most epic sounding piece on the album and Asylum, which showcases a more smoky vocal from singer Larissa Dawn, resembling a younger Cher or Stevie Nicks. What might be missing from the album though is a certifiable radio hit, but I doubt that’s the point for a band that seems to love making mini-symphonic masterworks.

The Awakening sounds like a lot of effort was put into the writing, production and performance of it, showing that Celestial Ruin are here for good. And if The Awakening is only the beginning of things to come, you’d best get on board now while the getting’s good.