After years of lineup changes, relocations and aural refinements, Ceterum has found a home in Cleveland. With the assistance of the likes of Ante Up Audio producers Jim Stewart (Ohio Sky) and Michael Seifert (Dave Matthews Band, Mr. Gnome) the band has released their debut full-length, Fathom. If one can get past its flaws, the album is a well-polished heavy rock experience that encompasses a full range of emotions and musicality – most definitely worth checking out.
LISTEN to tracks from Fathom here.
Right away, the one problem that sticks out with Ceterum is in their obvious influence – their musical style seems to borrow quite liberally from the works of Maynard James Keenan (Tool, A Perfect Circle). It is one thing to derive inspiration from a particular musical work or musician, but if you played this album for a Tool fan who didn’t know any better, they would think that Ceterum’s album is either a new album from Tool or perhaps a strangely well-polished collection of demo tracks from that band’s early days.
Naturally, the author of this piece could certainly be included in a group of big Maynard fans, hence why the aforementioned issue seemed so glaring. But despite the fact that the music in this album does seem a bit overly derivative, it doesn’t follow that the tunes shouldn’t be heard by the masses. On the contrary, Ceterum’s Fathom is a powerful aural adventure with dissonant time signatures and changes, impassioned melodic vocals alternated with the occasional urgent scream, and driving heavy guitar riffs.
The best of the bunch has to be “Fathom” a song that evokes memories of Tool’s song “Ænima” in its arrangement and emphasis of dissonant drum beats, consistent bass lines and palm-muted guitars throughout the verse giving way to a open riffs during the choruses. Guest guitarist Dominic Cifarelli (Scars on Broadway, Pulse Ultra) provides extra riffage on the track – you can never go wrong with three guitars, especially if they are jammin’ – and here, they most definitely are! Another standout track is “Revealed Arcane”, a song that incorporates good use of contrast between the flesh-ripping screams that punctuate the mostly melodic vocals and the quieter instrumental sections of the song.
Ceterum’s Fathom occupies a dark, heavy and progressive soundspace that fans of heavy alternative rock / Maynard absolutely must check out – provided you don’t mind just how similar the band does happen to sound to Tool. As a whole the album sounds awesome – it’s easy to get over the derivative nature of the sound because of how well Ceterum brings it from beginning to end. Bottom line, if you love heavy alternative / alternative metal, get this album!
Gene’s Favorite Tracks from Fathom:
2. Insolence Recoil
3. Revealed Arcane