Technical melodeath is very popular, why, I’d say even trendy nowadays but, as it’s usual with trends, there’s not much originality, bands using the same patterns and stylings while undeniably highly skilled musicians. All the more I am glad that the Florence, Tuscany, Italian quartet Oneiric Celephaïs defy categorization while remaining highly original already on their 1st EP, with highly memorable near-perfect songs and through the roof musicianship to rival the genre icons such as Obscura, Spawn Of Possession or even that seemingly matchless one – Death.

The first thing you notice about this release is a very unique moniker: Oneiric Celephaïs. In fact, founded in 2015 by Federico Giusti (vocals, lead guitars) and Emiliano Burchi (drums), the project was originally dubbed just Celephaïs, after a dream city in Howard Phillip Lovecraft’s short story name. Emilio Lucchesi (guitars) and Francesco Mazzino Pietro Fambrini (bass) completed the line up and Celephaïs recorded their 1st demo "From Beyond" (2016) followed by the independently released "The Obscure Sibyl" (2019). It is the very same release (except for the band’s name) which Gore House Productions re-released this year, subsequent the band’s name change to Oneiric Celephaïs (OC from here on), most likely due to author’s rights, but there’s no certainty.

What can we find on this a little over 25 minute 4 track recording? We can find a myriad of moods and stylings, all- encompassing melody and clevelry structured blistering riffing with a very impressive (for such a fresh band) light and dark ratio. It is an album for the angry and for the contemplative, for the lovers of brute merciless pounding and ethereal beauty, in short, everyone can find something to enjoy here. The album actually features 3 songs to speak of since the opener, the near minute "The Eldritch Dark" Revocationary instrumental, is merely a foretaste of what’s to come, but the subsequent "The Aeon of Death", as very good as it is, seems to be the weakest link and the sole reason for a 0.5 deduction. There are obvious nods to "Individual Thought Patterns", "Symbolic" and "The Sound Of Perseverance" (the trinity I refer to as the latter Death) while the way riffs are both dissonant and melodic recalls Anata’s fantastic "The Conductor’s Departure", but there’s hardly a verse and chorus structure yet and the catchy parts still seem haphazardly put together, even if they likely have not been. Despite its 7 minute 30 second length the track whips by fast leaving me fairly satisfied but without fireworks, although the excellent, selective, well-balanced, clear yet powerful production is duly noted and very much appreciated. "From Beyond" (likely the title track from the 2016 demo) is where OC truly spreads its wings despite the relatively short length. It is deadlier and faster especially in slower Cannibal Corpsey riffing, recalling Through The Eyes Of The Dead’s "Malice" stylings for melodic interplay with the intricate lead buildup, the 1st of the 2 perfect compositions. The other one is the closer "Völuspá", an over 12 minute tour de force of what is possible in technical melodeath, one which deserves its own separate paragraph.

As the delicate balladic strumming recalls Insomnium, a female aria is heard in the background turning an epic riff and dreamy lead becoming distinctly Unearthly and, again latter Deathly, with the guitarwork unbelievably intricate but always catchy and melodic. Finally, OC turns back to a ballad, beautiful acoustics with bass following and enhancing ushering, in turn, a faster and faster melodic intricacy as we near completion, the growls adding additional drama (cleans would ruin it) then last delicate outro for the song and album conclusion. I could listen to this over and over and always discover something new I have not caught before, the wealth of sounds, riffs, melodies and hooks packed into one being exceptionally astonishing. I am willing to bet it was upon hearing "Völuspá" where, when and why Gore House Productions, to recall the label’s own promo, have signed the band to a multi-album deal – something of a rarity in the current economic climes. Now, if I could name just one band which has had that effect on me I would say Ne Obliviscaris, and, if you heard them you’d know we weren’t kidding around.

It is hard to find originality without losing quality or vice versa but, in Gore House Productions’ again own words, the unique creative alchemy which has brought "The Obscure Sibyl" to life also promises a myriad of magical music to come and, wholeheartedly agreeing, I highly recommend it for all the above reasons with a special recommendation of "Völuspá".