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

2018-02-18
Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more

2018-02-15
10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more

2018-02-14
Tom Rapp RIP – Singer / songwriter Tom Rapp, best known with the band Pearls Before Swine, passed away on February 12, at the age of 70, after a battle with cancer. » Read more

2018-01-30
Bill Bruford Ventures into Uncharted Territory – Drum master Bill Bruford, veteran of some of the most creative bands in history (King Crimson, Yes, Genese, etc.), is sharing some of what he's learned about being a drummer and a musician in his new book, Uncharted: Creativity and the Expert Drummer, out on University of Michigan Press. » Read more

2018-01-18
Christian Burchard RIP – Multi-instrumentalist Christian Burchard, who founded the seminal band Embryo in 1969, has died at the age of 71. His January 17 passing was announced on the band's Facebook page. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Hectic Watermelon - The Great American Road Trip – Hectic Watermelon is less a band than a solo project built around the talents of guitarist John Czajkowski. For this album he's assembled a capable trio to back him that includes bass (Harley...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues