CelestiOwl’s “Metanoia” EP


CelestiOwl’s synthesis of his personal worldview with his musical art is a stirring reminder of its potential. He has released a plethora of original material over the years without showing any signs of wearing down or hitting a creative wall. These are immaculate and refined compositions that, nevertheless, never sound overworked. Instead, the songs on Metanoia breathe and go to unexpected places without ever stepping too far away from their core. You can hear the shamanic and ceremonial magick influences rife in his music and it’s notable how they never hamper the works.

Opening with “Hamartia – The AErrows of AEros” is the perfect move. His classical guitar playing has incredible intimacy from the outset that never sounds forced or overly plotted out. The naturalness of his playing doesn’t mean his focus is anything less than absolute, however, and you won’t hear any bum notes or flubs during this release. It isn’t essential to understand CelestiOwl’s conceptual underpinning implied by the title to enjoy the song, his motives are a little obscure, but there is a lot that emerges about the EP as it goes on.

The ”prayer-like” aspects of the performances are impossible to ignore. “Hamarita” introduces us to that and the second track “Coming hOMe” continues in the same vein. It expands, however, on the musical vision of the opener and introduces new colors into CelestiOwl’s compositions. There’s an emotional edge present in “Coming hOMe” missing to such a degree from the first song, as well, and its heightened physicality is a welcome twist on the EP. The rougher moments of CelestiOwl’s music are a welcome change in tone from his melancholic touch and pair well with the other sides of his musical character.

BANDCAMP: https://celestiowl.bandcamp.com/album/metanoia-guitar

“Duende” takes the musical vision of the preceding songs even further. His creative use of space in these songs is one of their best attributes and “Duende” is the EP’s best embodiment of that technique. He takes the overall tone of the song in a more intense direction than its predecessors but the same spirit driving the earlier songs is still a prominent part of CelestiOwl’s presentation. “Absence – I Fear and Long for You Most” simmers in its opening passages. There’s a hint of passion bubbling underneath the song’s surface in CelestiOwl’s knocks against his wooden guitar body and when the song erupts at last, it maintains the same structure introduced from the start.

The thrashing madness of the late shift in tone sounds like a guitar army and it is even more impressive that it is not. It never threatens to overwhelm listeners’ though and comes at a spectacular point in the song; any sooner would have weakened its impact. Choices like this are the final addition separating his art from many of those traveling in the same general musical territory as his songwriting instincts are sharp without fail. CelestiOwl’s Metanoia succeeds in ways that few other acts can claim and stands out as one of 2022’s most compelling, if under the radar, musical releases. 

Trace Whittaker