Today, symphonic black metal legends Ceremonial Castings stream the special re-recording of lost classic Salem 1692
- hereby titled Salem 1692 (MMXX)
- at heavily trafficked web-portal GrizzlyButts.com
. Set for North American release on November 27th via Eisenwald, hear Ceremonial Castings' Salem 1692 (MMXX) in its entirety exclusively HERE
Formed in that fateful year of 1996, Ceremonial Castings were a band of the times, a band later behind the times, and now a band ahead of the times once again. Many will belatedly be aware of the name Ceremonial Castings due to the membership of future UADA founder Jake Superchi, alongside his brother Nick Superchi, who were later (and once again now) joined by drummer Matt Mattern. The band crafted a canon of symphonic black metal that was admirably ambitious and often brilliant but all too often overlooked. Until their eventual demise in 2014, Ceremonial Castings created nine full-lengths and just as many demos/EPs that were all released on their own label. Their album covers were often graced with artwork courtesy of the masterful Kris Verwimp, who also created the band’s logo.
Of these, it's arguably 2008’s Salem 1692 which is the most beloved of all Ceremonial Castings recordings and the one which is most emblematic of the band’s "Bewitching Black Metal." By this point, the band’s albums were easily topping an hour-plus in length, as their songwriting had become more ambitious as well as their lyrical themes in kind. Salem 1692 is distinct in this regard in that the lyrical theme directly ties into the Superchi brothers’ family history. As Jake explains, "Since the beginning of this band in 1996, this was the album we always wanted to make, as we have a deep tie to the events in Salem of 1692. Growing up just west of Salem, my brother Nick and I learned all about the events at a very young age, including that we are in fact direct descendants – however many great grandsons – of Judge John Hathorne, who had sentenced the witches to hang. It is said that one of the girls who was hung had cast a curse on our family's bloodline."
While it is still unclear whether Ceremonial Castings have officially returned from the grave, this new re-recording of Salem 1692 (MMXX) sounds exceptionally fresh, richly detailed, and fully conveys the mysticism so crucial to their aesthetic. It’s as immersive as ever, if not more so due to the richly kaleidoscopic sound – organic, analog, but not once sacrificing any of the otherworldliness which endeared Ceremonial Castings to so many. And now, in 2020, as more ancient and classicist styles of black metal take hold with a new generation, ""symphonic black metal" need no longer be a dirty word: this re-recording of Salem 1692 (MMXX) is poignant proof of the subgenre’s inherent power to transport the listener to forgotten realms and dimensions far, far away from modernity.
"This is a record that holds a lot of mystical energy showcased within its eleven hymns, as they seamlessly weave and flow together as one harmonious entity," explains Veiled founder and UADA bassist Nate Verschoor. "Taking into consideration the concept of the album, it’s as if the songs themselves were twisted into form to act as spells and incantations. I say this because the moment the album begins, a presence is immediately felt, and the journey into a time long ago begins to take shape."
"With the turn of a new decade," concludes Jake, "we who would be sentenced to hang by our own ancestor, felt that not only did this represent our craft best to reintroduce ourselves, but we also would like to remind the world in 2020 of where a witch-hunt can and will lead if not careful with unwise accusations. We are here to show that American black metal does have a history that is tied to a very dark and cruel past. We are here to turn the focus around upon those who would condemn us for who and what we are. This album is for all who still believe in the old ways and who understand the true nature of magick. Together, let us reverse the curse."
In the leadup to its release this Friday, hear Salem 1692 (MMXX) in its entirety exclusively HERE
, courtesy of GrizzlyButts.com. Preorder info can be found HERE
. Cover art, courtesy of Kris Verwimp, and tracklisting are as follows:
Tracklisting for Ceremonial Castings' Salem 1692 (MMXX)
1. Beneath the Sabbath Moon [9:17]
2. Where the Witches Waltz [5:36]
3. The Devil in Salem [9:21]
4. Obsidian Spells of Hysteria [6:48]
5. The Dreamstalk Masquerade [4:09]
6. The Crucible & the Cross [7:38]
7. Damned Be Those of the Craft [6:40]
8. Onwards to Gallows Hill [9:25]
9. Stones upon the Warlock [3:30]
10. When Winter Spectres Come [6:31]
11. The Search for Tranquility [3:38]