Exposé Online banner

Celestial Oeuvre — This Mortal Coil
(Unicorn Digital UNCR-5062, 2009, CD)

by Paul Hightower, Published 2011-06-01

This Mortal Coil Cover art

The story around this album is a sad one. New Yorkers Celestial Oeuvre had just finished work on the follow up to their 2004 debut Second Chance when keyboard player / bassist / guitar player Jose Damien tragically passed away. The tragedy is that this is a fine album from a smoking hot band that no doubt would have eventually appeared at all the right festivals and gained fans worldwide for their fiery brand of progressive rock. In some ways, the Celestial Oeuvre sound is a throwback to the energetic symphonic prog of Starcastle and Kansas. When Damien’s organ work is stacked next to singer Joe Acaba’s soaring vocal one can’t help but be reminded of Steve Walsh. Guitarist Joe Nardulli is a virtuoso in the Morse / Vai mold who never ceases to impress, whether he’s ripping into speed-freak solos or offering up nimble finger-picked passages. Several of the songs may be a bit too mainstream for some Exposé readers, such as the riff-happy “Melody Makers” or the bouncy “Cool Burn,” which may smack of the sort of slick rock associated with bands like Journey, though for me a closer point of comparison is Dixie Dregs at their most commercial. And besides, tracks like the Dregs-ish instrumental “Encore” or the Yes-ish “In Ivory Dreams” should impress even the most doubtful skeptics. Put simply, behind the ear-friendly arrangements is a band playing its asses off. For a swan song you couldn’t hope for more, though I sure wish there could have been. Recommended.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 39, 2009 releases

Related artist(s): Celestial Oeuvre

Latest news

2020-02-18
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more

2020-01-15
Carlos Alvarado RIP – Carlos Alvarado, pioneering composer, multi-instrumentalist and pioneer of progressive rock and electronic experimental music in Mexico, passed away January 14th, 2020 at age 68 after a two year battle with cancer.  » Read more

2020-01-12
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more

2020-01-12
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Devil Doll - Dies Irae – Proceed with extreme caution. If you love symphonic progressive rock with a nasty, sinister edge, Devil Doll may be the band you've been waiting for. Fronted by the inimitable Mr. Doctor on...  (1996) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues