Celestial Wizard
Winds of the Cosmos

It’s Friday night. Most of your friends or colleagues are getting ready to head out on the town and grab a few drinks, listen to some awful cover band for a $10 cover charge, hook up with a random stranger in a bathroom stall while railing a line or two off the back of a toilet, catch some form of venereal disease AND sinus infection, get in a fight with said stranger’s aggro townie on-again-off-again significant other of the last six months, throw up in an alley on their walk back home and break into a house they drunkenly think is theirs despite the fact they live in an apartment, attempt to make a grilled cheese but falling asleep and burning the absolute piss out of it, thus awakening the homeowner, who proceeds to call the police and gets them arrested. They wake up, flip the fuck out, and attempt to run away, getting their shit tased to oblivion in the process. They wake up hours later in the drunk tank, get bailed out by their parents (again), go home and sleep it off for a bit, wake up, rail another line, scrape up and smoke a resin ball, and get ready to do it all again. Typical American weekend.Oh, but not you, my friend! You’re arming yourself with a sixer of Mountain Dew, a big ol’ pack of Haribo gummies, and getting ready for battle with your fellow DnD adventurers in search of honor and glory! And you better believe there will be pizza.

I know, it sounds like I’m mocking you – but rest assured: the latter sounds like way more of a blast to me than going downtown. Replace the Mountain Dew with a six pack of beer and the gummies with a giant tub of peanut butter-filled pretzels, and I’m there, amigo. By the way, I’m team pineapple on pizza. Fight me.  I’m also bringing the soundtrack, courtesy of Colorado Power/Melodeath quartet Celestial Wizard, who are bringing nothing but good times and an epic blend of Power and Death Metal to the table. If Bal-Sagoth, Aether Realm, Starkill or  Wizardthrone tickle your fancy, then strap in and get ready for a heluva fun ride.

Where Celestial Wizard excels over those acts is in their absolute lack of pretension. From the friggin’ sweet throwback synthwave intro, to the DnD-themed “Ice Realm” which is, very literally, a song about playing a Dungeons and Dragons campaign, you know exactly what this band is all about, and they’re letting it all hang out there in its wonderful, goofy glory. That said, backing up all the fun is a collection of very serious musicians. Vocalist Amethyst Noir seamlessly transitions between a great, raspy sneer and a deep, robust cleans, occasionally busting out a high falsetto for dramatic effect. Their voice is a great accompaniment to the mix of fantastic melodies and leads laid down by guitarist Nick Daggers, whose playing at times brings up everyone from Arch Enemy and Dark Tranquillity, to Turisas and Ensiferum, and even some Hetfield-esque thrash riffage for good measure (see “Ice Realm” and “Cyberhawk” for a couple prime examples). With their work, along with the extremely solid backbone provided by Tim Gillman’s drumming holding it all together, the mix comes together for a really fun and epic fantasy-inspired romp just as capable of putting a smile on your face as it is melting it off completely.

In 2022 it should come as no surprise that Winds of the Cosmos sounds just about as good as any label-backed offering you’ll find, but extra credit is certainly given for this self-released album sounding as robust as it does. Credit to Nick Nodurft of Rusty Sun Audio in Colorado who was put in charge or producing and mixing this beast – some quick research isn’t popping up a ton of notable releases out of this studio, but it certainly deserves some attention. The guitars pack an appropriate punch that allow the excellent riffs on “Scourge” and fantastic guitar harmonies on “Undead Renegade” really shine, while Amethyst Noir’s vocals – whether they’re sneering, singing or growling – continue to sound crisp and clear, allowing the listener to really feel engaged with the songs and feel equally compelled to sing along, as one should want to do with Power Metal. You’ll also be air-guitaring like a lunatic, particularly on “Undead Renegade” with it’s righteous-as-fuck guitar/keyboard solo battle, of during “Steel Crysalis'” classic galloping that always bring more fun to the party.

This is a really easy album to love and an even easier band to root for. Serious chops, with a not-so-serious attitude, playing a brand of metal made for a good time. And it’s awesome to discover another queer voice to support and celebrate in Amethyst Noir, helping to make metal a more vibrant and inclusive place. What’s not to like?! Polish up those 20-sided dice, clear out a table in the basement, and get to raging with these wonderful wizards!

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Steve K
July 14th, 2022

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