Band: Celestial Serenity

CD Title: City of the Golden Gates

Band Website:

Label: Independent Release

Label Website:  

Release Date: 2014


The origins of Celestial Serenity go back to 2005 when Joshua Leon looked to putting a band together that played music of a little more “technical” nature mixed with a heavier feel. Flash forward a number of name and personnel changes and we have the current manifestation of the band and their first release. Using the internet to its full potential the band has taken on a very international lineup consisting of: J. Leon (guitars), Gabriele Pala (Chapman Stick) and Manfred Dikkers (drums) and featuring: Mike Browning (vocals) [USA], Richard Kaczynski (keyboards/piano/synth) [USA], Johan Lindfors (keyboards/synth) [SWEDEN], Julien Assali (saxophone) [FRANCE/COLOMBIA] and Dave Swales (keyboards/synth) [NEW ZEALAND]. 


City of the Golden Gates is made up of six tracks, four of which are instrumental and musically covers a lot of ground displaying influences as wide ranging as heavy metal to jazz. Which is exactly what Joshua Leon had in mind for the band sound. Starting off with “Sargasso Sea” [4:05] one of the vocal tunes everything starts off as soft and intricate for the first couple minutes before building in intensity throughout the remainder of the composition. After an intro and extro of the sound effects of ocean waves hitting a shore, we move into the shortest and yet for me the most intriguing song, “Aurora Borealis” [1:59] featuring a great rhythm section and hints of delicate guitar performance. In fact none of these tunes is very long, the longest clocking in at 5:32. Track three gets all heavy and busy right off the bat, with crunchy guitar and double kick-drum but fortunately for my tastes doesn’t stay that way for long, switching to some interesting minor musical motifs after the first minute. The heavy stuff returns, but it’s a nice back and forth. And so it goes, each of the tracks features a goodly number of musical change-ups emphasizing both a high level of musicianship as well as definite compositional complexity.    


It would be easy to pass off Celestial Serenity as “simply” another in the long line of Prog Metal outfits out there, but deep down I get the feeling there is more happening here and certainly more capable of happening if wished. City of the Golden Gates is nothing if not a wonderful tease of what might be when they work of a full length CD with perhaps even longer compositions. As a first outing this band holds a lot of promise and I liked what I heard. I recommend you give it a listen!