CELESTIAL WIZARD "Winds of the Cosmos"

By Dr. Abner Mality

These D & D inspired fantasy metal bands can be a very tricky proposition. When overdone and performed incorrectly, they can be some of the most excruciating bands you will ever hear. Just ask anybody who's ever had the misfortune of hearing GLORYHAMMER, VICTORIUS or the more recent FELLOWSHIP.

Denver's CELESTIAL WIZARD could have easily fallen into the cheesy, sugary trap that engulfed those bands. They don't escape entirely, but on the whole, they are a more listenable and serious version of fantasy metal. A bit heavier and less orchestrated, they have enough energy to be palatable instead of foolish. They've got a mixture of power metal, melodic death metal and just a touch of black metal that generally sounds organic.

"Andromeda" starts things with cool analog synth tones that give way to some heavy power-laden riffs, which continues onto the first two tracks "Revenant" and "Ice Realm". This is the heavier side of power metal blended with harsher tones. Vocals are a kind of crispy rasp like SKELETONWITCH mixed with clean vocals. Once in a while, there's a cringeable bit of He-Man type power metal in the tunes, but not much. "Powerthrone" and the title track dial back the speed a bit to inject a more epic feel, but I generally prefer the straight-up bangers, as I usually do.

I won't say this is a classic by any means, but if you want a journey into metal that features cybernetic dragons and warriors with laser swords, you could do worse than CELESTIAL WIZARD.