Ever since I first discovered Ceterum, they have been at least one of my top five favorite bands. If you’re on this page looking for new bands (especially if you were led here from the Tool: For the Fans – Pt II post), it would be this one that I would recommend first. You’ll listen through 10 seconds of one song and think to yourself, “These guys must be famous world-wide!” Unfortunately that’s not the case with Ceterum. They have not received even a fraction of the recognition they deserve, and over a year after the release of their debut full length album, Fathom, the band’s Facebook page still has under 1500 “likes!”
That hasn’t ceased to shock me for as long as I’ve been following the band. I am determined to find a way to get their music into more heavy progressive rock/metal fans’ ears. I would also encourage other fans of Ceterum to let as many people know as possible, at least if you have friends who enjoy this kind of music. They truly deserve to be selling thousands of copies of Fathom right now, earning a steady income off their merch, and able to freely work on more music for the enjoyment of their fans and theirselves.
Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, let’s get to the music. Fathom is my pick for “2011 album of the year.” It simply has zero forgettable moments. It’s the kind of album that you’ll just listen to over and over again and never have the satisfaction that you’ve finally listened to it enough. And it’s most certainly a release with no tracks worth skipping over. Lyrically, it is dark and touches on what seem to be struggles that hypothetically anyone might have to endure throughout their lifetime. Although rather than making any specific theme blatantly obvious, Ceterum most often uses metaphorical and poetic phrases so each listener can do the honor of interpreting the music for him/herself. An example of that, and personal favorite of mine, is found in the track “Sidewinders.” The song is themed around the “sidewinder” snake with lines such as, “Hissing absurdities in my eyes; slither out from the filthy hole where you hide…” (All official Ceterum lyrics can be found here.)
The musicianship throughout each track is just as stunning as the vocal melodies and lyrical content. Although this band in no way copies Tool, I am fairly certain that any Tool fan who has an open mind for Tool-inspired bands will find Ceterum to be an instant hit in their arsenal. Many of the intricate, polyrhythmic drum beats are what could be seen as the strongest highlight the band’s Tool-influenced sound. But they have taken that sound from Adam Jones’ signature drop D all the way down to drop Bb on many of the tracks which gives the music a completely fresh, heavy-hitting vibe.
Each time I have listened through Fathom, my whole body has undergone a sensation of chills from the moment the aggressive opening track, “the Architect” begins all the way to the beautiful acoustic guitar work found in the album’s closer and title track, “Fathom.” The band writes music that is flawless dynamically. There will be a peak of sheer chaos from a scream or powerful bass line which will dissipate down to a guitar riff so pure and melodic you won’t even believe it’s the same band… For example toward the end of “Insolence. Recoil.”
Every track is really worth mentioning, but I’ll end this reasonably drawn-out review by saying that the intro of “Aurelia” contains one of the most unique and intriguing guitar riffs I’ve ever heard, “Paramnesia” has one of the most memorable vocal melodies (with the “Focus it gets complicated…”), and the breakdown midway through “Macabre” has recently been another one of my favorite moments.
Whether or not Ceterum is able to get out of their current hiatus will not change the fact that they will have some of my favorite music for as long as I can picture into the future. Support them, buy their music, and I pray you’re able to find as much enjoyment out of them as I have!
Jared Amlin – Guitar
Ty Jividen – Vocals
Matter McFarland – Guitar
[Ex-members: Bill Sanchez (Bass) & Jason Broussard (Drums)
– currently with Archetypes & op·aq·ue]
“Initially presenting a complex style derived from numerous elements of ambient metal and progressive rock combined with experimental overtones, Cleveland-based CETERUM continued to hone their moody and melodically dark sound as the project grew into its own. Formed in Great Falls, Montana, in 2001 by Bill Sanchez (bass) and Jason Broussard (drums), the first incarnation was heavily inspired by modern art-rock pioneers Tool and their use of unorthodox song structures and time signatures. Composing adventurous instrumental arrangements, it wasn’t until four years later that the duo finally found the permanent additions they sought in guitarist Jared Amlin and vocalist Ty Jividen. With a complete lineup, the band began to further evolve, while incorporating other aspects to create their musical identity – atmospheric synths and polyrhythmic experimentation, as well as influences ranging from Porcupine Tree, Meshuggah, Pulse Ultra and Karnivool.
With members hailing from various regions of the country, the quartet permanently relocated to Ohio and began playing small shows and building a devoted following. After being tapped to support bands like Soilwork and Helmet, the group garnered local attention in 2008, but the outfit experienced an unexpected hiatus following a facial injury suffered by Jividen, which left him unable to sing for several months. Upon Jividen’s recovery, CETERUM independently released the EP Proportions a year later – a collaboration with multi-platinum, award winning producer Michael Seifert (Dave Matthews Band, Tori Amos). The track ‘Insolence.Recoil’ has since received significant regional airplay reaching all the way to Knoxville, Tennessee, as well as being featured on WJCU’s Metal on Metal program to enthusiastic feedback.
After the release of Proportions, the band continued to write and sonically mature, as guitarist Matt McFarland expanded the lineup to a five-piece. Armed with an arsenal of diverse material after having solidified their own style of dynamic, heavy rock, CETERUM’s debut full-length album is slated for a winter release.”
For Fans Of:
Progressive Alternative Rock / Hard Rock / Alternative Metal
Proportions EP (2009)
“the Architect” / “Paramnesia” / “Insolence. Recoil” / “Aurelia” / Filter (feat. Dominic Cifarelli)” / “Imbue Élan Vital” / “Sidewinders” / “Macabre” / “Revealed Arcane” / “Fathom”
[This song contains one of my favorite guitar solos of all time.]