Celestial Son – Planetaria


The onslaught of excellent releases continues with the new record from Celestial Son.  I was pleasantly surprised by this one, I will admit, because I see bands that fit this description quite often, but Celestial Son is one of the first to deliver on their promises.  The new album is Planetaria and it released on November 4th.

Celestial Son comes to us from Denmark.  The trio includes Rasmus Sjøgren on vocals, guitar, and keys, Nicklas Sebastian Winther Pedersen on bass, and Jeppe Pradsgaard Holm on keys and pads.  For this release, legendary drummer Gavin Harrison guests on drums. 

The band plays electronic progressive rock.  Like I said, I’ve seen that description before, only to discover the band simply meant some slight electronic accents here and there.  Celestial Son is different, though, in that the foundation of their sound includes searing synth, electronic loops and beats, and a pop-soaked approach to songwriting.  Gavin adds his exquisite cymbal work and drum heft which imbue gravity and weight to the mix.  The rock and progressive parts of their style definitely come second.

Speaking of style, this album has it in spades.  I am impressed at how fresh and spicy the synth leads and choruses sound.  You’ll find the music to be shadowy and yet colorful, with almost each and every track featuring a catchy or intense rhythm that will bury itself in your mind.  Some bands use this as a gimmick, but I don’t feel that way about this album.  It feels very natural and seasoned in its eccentricity and hue. 

Planetaria has eleven tracks, and they are all so good that I have difficulty choosing favorites.  I really like the opener “Rise of a Cosmic Dragon” with its arresting synth lead and melancholy vocals.  “Fakir” follows it up, though, with a zesty and exciting tone that makes me smile.  “Interstellar Intercourse” is another great one, being an instrumental track with some fiery segments and Gavin’s drumming really adding a fantastic layer.

Let me mention a few more.  I really like “Sound(E)scape”; it is one of the simpler songs on the album, but it has a riveting atmosphere and effective main hook, and it just feels like a tightly written track with zero filler.  “City of Man” is fantastic, too, with a gritty electronic atmosphere, and maybe my favorite chorus on the record.  Of course, “Reen” is even better as it feels more dynamic and explosive.  That one always perks my mind up when it arrives. 

I think the last two tracks are a good sample of the band’s sound.  “Negative Gas” is a spunky, whirling electronic fire that is gripping and stylish.  “Avian Heart”, the closer, is perhaps less in your face, being moodier and more poignant.  However, it is equally as good because of this different tone and its expressive vocal performance.  These two songs give us both sides of the band, to my ears.

Celestial Son has really impressed me.  They are supremely accessible, but have plenty of complexity and flair, too.  This album only lasts 41 minutes, so it flies by with pure joy in its wake, and I’m typically a little sad when it’s done.  Oh well, I’ll just start it over again.

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