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THE PAX CECILIA

Experimental/Post Metal • United States


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The Pax Cecilia biography
Hailing from Brookville, Pennsylvania in the USA, The Pax Cecilia deliver a mixture of sounds that can be delicate and smooth on the one hand and heavy and fierce on the other hand. With the use of classical instruments (strings, trombone, piano) they augment their sound, their heavier metal side which is in itself complex, beautiful and compelling. Atmospheric sounding alongside aggressive tunes are to be found in their songs; the end result being a sound that will appeal to people who like the idea of combining the sounds of sludge/atmospheric metal (Isis, Neurosis) and the more adventurous and experimental side of metal (Maudlin Of The Well, Grayceon), while not leaving out the aggressions that metal music is known for.

The band is a self accomplished band, producing and releasing their two first albums by themselves, and moreover they have been giving away their albums for free. As John Feustel from the band says: "We're attempting to exist on a donation-based model, we realize that the music industry is undergoing a radical change, and we want to be at the front of separating the art of music from commercial interests."

This young band, full of talent and a love for music and its exploration, is highly recommended to those seeking an original, creative and not-typical progressive metal band.

Go to their website to see how to get receive their album (link above).

==Assaf Vestin (avestin)==







Why this artist must be listed in www.progarchives.com :
Approved by the Prog Metal Team



Discography:
Nouveau: A Theater of Air, 2003
Blessed Are The Bonds, 2007

The Pax Cecilia official website

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THE PAX CECILIA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.52 | 4 ratings
Nouveau
2005
3.91 | 44 ratings
Blessed Are The Bonds
2007

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THE PAX CECILIA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Blessed Are The Bonds by PAX CECILIA, THE album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.91 | 44 ratings

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Blessed Are The Bonds
The Pax Cecilia Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The Pax Cecilia's Blessed are the Bonds is one of those albums which sits right on the borderline between post-rock and post-metal, with moments of crushing, screaming fury and gentle, acoustic, almost folky sections co-existing within the band's compositions. A self- released piece which exists solely out of the performer's love of the music - they give it away for free on their website - it's actually extremely well produced, and you really wouldn't know it was recorded and produced entirely on the band's own resources. The fact that such an excellent and wonderful sound can be produced on people's own resources thanks to today's recording technologies is surely reason to have hope for the future - and what better soundtrack for that future than the Pax Cecilia?

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 Blessed Are The Bonds by PAX CECILIA, THE album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.91 | 44 ratings

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Blessed Are The Bonds
The Pax Cecilia Experimental/Post Metal

Review by jampa17
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Unexpected. A strange worthy material, but not exactly my cup of tea.

Well, I didn't expect a piano based "post-metal" band and if you find it a little odd, let me tell you is an interesting experiment. This band uses a lot of ambience noisy soft environment to set the mood and suddenly it blows away with more "regular" post metal onslaught. The result depends too much on each one tastes, because is strange and is difficult to describe.

I have to say that the soft phrases and the songs with more mellow approach were very good and it really shares some kind of enjoyable emotions, and the voice matches really well there. In the heavy side of things, I found very interesting riffing and good construction of regular prog- metal phrases (a little more aggressive maybe) but the vocals didn't make it for me. I think the singer need a little more work in his screams, because is not just about to scream and see what happen with it. I found the instrumental fractions in the heavy songs very attractive and I surprise myself doing some strange head banging, because is not that "regular" 4/4 to headbang to.

Now, I notice that this kind of music works better if you just let the songs sound as background music. Don't try to pay too much attention and suddenly you will feel very comfortable about it, and you will discover some nice parts that sometimes you miss for paying attention. Well, that was my experience and even for the listener, there are ways to experiment with this kind of music. So, I feel very good about what I found here.

Besides of the vocals (screams) in the heavy side of things and maybe too long arrangements in the soft parts, I don't have too much complains about this album and you should try it if you like experimental bands. Now, 3 stars is fair, because I don't think it's excellent, but I'm sure I want to hear more from this guys.

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 Blessed Are The Bonds by PAX CECILIA, THE album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.91 | 44 ratings

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Blessed Are The Bonds
The Pax Cecilia Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Any Colour You Like
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Having downloaded this album on the advice of another member, I was not sure what to expect, I especially did not expect piano driven post rock with clean and screamed vocals. But hey... The Pax Cecilia have produced a decent album here, full of classical overtones, post metal edges and despair. I love the fact that each song has a different timbre and focus, it never really feels like typical post rock - and that is something to laud in a genre full of GY!BE clones.

Highlights include the beautiful piano melodies of The Tragedy, and the amped up metal riffs of The Water Song and The Tree. The vocal content is minimal, but is split between clean and screamed vocals, unfortunately, the screamed vocals aren't really my thing, and kill some of the atmosphere that the soundscapes create. Fortunately they don't last too long. The other thing that annoys me somewhat is that the latter half of the album seems to drift too much for my liking. The Water Song is very much an ambient peice, but it simply does not bulid up emotion in a way that would make it more memorable. It is almost as if the music loses some of its direction. Maybe that was the purpose, but I can't help but feel that the album just meanders too much. A little more clarity and purpose would be needed to help maintain interest throughout.

Having said this, there are several moments of beauty in Blessed Are The Bonds, and I really enjoy the fact that The Pax Cecilia had the vision to create such and ambitious album. There is a tangible aura of despair in the vocals and lyrics, and of course, the lovely classical guitar closer The Hymn caps the release off in a positive fashion. I can't be too disappointed with this album, it was free after all; therefore all the more respect must be given to the band for allowing their work to become readily available. So please, if you can donate to the band, and ensure they can keep making more ambitious music.

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 Blessed Are The Bonds by PAX CECILIA, THE album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.91 | 44 ratings

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Blessed Are The Bonds
The Pax Cecilia Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 'Blessed Are The Bonds' - The Pax Cecilia (8/10)

I believe it was Brian Eno that described ambient music as being music you could either listen to and pay attention to it, or let it wash into the background. While this certainly isn't anywhere near ambient music in the traditional sense, the Pax Cecilia's opus seems to function in either sense. Being that it's post-rock, there are alot of drawn out buildups and atmospherics involved, and while alot of it is beautiful and works very well, there seems to be a bit too much downtime on the album to warrant it being called a 'masterpiece,' even though it certainly has many of the suitable qualities of one.

Described to me as being a 'Part The Second with more piano' (citing the acclaimed maudlin of the Well album) there is a heavy piano presense on the album. The album opens up with it's strongest, most consisely composed and performed piece of music, entitled 'The Tragedy.' Sounding somewhat like a cross between Isis and Godspeed You! Black Emperor, the Pax Cecilia expertly builds up tension, starting with piano, gently adding an orchestral element, before adding vocals and finally drums into the mix. The emotional impact is something to behold.

'Blessed Are The Bonds' looses focus at parts, which is frustrating, because the parts that usually come after the unfocused, boring parts are of absolute beauty and strength. The first five minutes of 'The Water Song' for example, have very little going on in them, before recurring textures start taking place and the album leaps into one of it's most spectacular moments of beauty.

'The Tree' is also a masterful composition. A metal, minimalistic (a la Phillip Glass) building piece, it works once again at building up the drama moment by moment.

'Blessed Are The Bonds' is a very imperfect album, but certainly worth a good listen to anyone that's a fan of post-rock or metal.

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 Nouveau by PAX CECILIA, THE album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.52 | 4 ratings

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Nouveau
The Pax Cecilia Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars The Pax Cecilia is one of the most interesting new bands situated in that particular branch of the post-rock movement that some have entitled post-metal: that is, the use of atmospherics and psychedelic vibrations in a context where the rock elements arise from the shocking tensions of experimental metal (death, black, speed, whatever?). Even though the post-rock and post-metal labels themselves tend to be vague, and even disowned by many bands that usually get tagged under these descriptions, the fact remains that The Pax Cecilia has been offering very interesting music in the avant-garde areas of contemporary experimental rock. Their sophomore album "Blessed Are The Bonds" has deservedly received praises from all over the world, and from what we can hear in their debut release "Nouveau", talent and energy were crucial elements in this band's music from the very start. The album kicks off with a beautiful string duet, soon joined by soft guitar arpeggios ? this starting point is 'Opening Monologue'. Once 'Beneath Every Powerline There Is Still A Graveyard' gets started, things get intensified in an electrifying demonstration that soon gets rough and aggressive. In this way, an alternation between languid passages and darkish explosions settles down the track's main body in an agile play of contrasts. 'An Aurora: The Crux Candide' brings a more consistent focus, bearing a compositional framework rooted in sober, dense textures: the rhythmic scheme evolves in a pertinently moderate fashion. 'MDCCLXXV' is the interlude that reiterates the introspective magic of the opening monologue, but it is just an interlude, let's not forget it. The fury of 'Fluorescence A.D. 1429: Burning The Body Of Joan Of Arc, Or Cupid', cleverly alternated with ethereal slow passages, states a splendid sonic portrait of uneasy creepiness, as if exploring the inner world of a ghost who hides an inscrutable secret. 'Phosphorescence A.D. 79: Burying The City Of Pompeii, Or Psyche' follows right away in this road of creepiness, starting with chamber moods, then evolving solidly into a well-ordained alternation of mysterious subtleties and raw rocking flourishes. At one point, some flute lines remind me of the main theme from Polanski's movie "Repulsion". 'Phosphorescence A.D. 79' is, in my opinion, the most majestic example of The Pax Cecilia's core essence in this album. 'England: Theatre Of The Air', on the other hand, delivers the album's ultimate climax, reaching a magnificent pinnacle of thanatical cruelty: mentally picture a hybrid of SGM and early Kayo Dot, and you'll get to the point I'm trying to make here. Finally, 'A Denouement' closes down the album. Starting with a piano motif that states an evocative stance, the path is set for the elaboration of a more expanded demonstration of sound: but in this case we don't meet an explosion of nightmarish gloom but an explicit intensification of the underlining melancholy. Even though I feel that this piece should have evolved into a more bombastic ambience, still it works fine as a clever closure for a very interesting album ? "Nouveau" is a declaration of principles for higher learning in the world of experimental rock, and so, The PC guys are graduates with high grades. 3.80 stars for this one.

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 Blessed Are The Bonds by PAX CECILIA, THE album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.91 | 44 ratings

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Blessed Are The Bonds
The Pax Cecilia Experimental/Post Metal

Review by sleeper
Prog Reviewer

5 stars When bands release their work for free, you cant help but wonder if you're only going to get a series of cheaply recorded demos that are going to sound horrible, regardless of how good the band are. However, the moment this album landed on my doorstep I had the distinct feeling that wasnt going to be problem as the initial impression comes from the packaging. Even the cardboard postal packaging had the bands unique artwork adorning it and the album itself, a proper glass-pressed CD and not a CD-r, came in wonderfully designed digi-pack (sadly the album is nolonger available in physical format, you have to download it off the website now). A good start then, and I hadnt even put it in the CD player.

From the first listen this is clearly a well composed album with a beautiful piano melody taking the lead and facilitating an impressive build up, primarily of strings and drums with the guitars kept to the background. Clearly this is not your average post-metal album with instrumentation seemingly focused on piano and strings for a few songs, metal on a few more, an electronic soundscape that perfectly encapsulates the title The Wasteland and finally an ability to mix several of these almost disparate facets togethor. This distinctive mix of diverse sounds and there subsiquent mixing is definitely one of the two biggest strengths of this album. the other is a deft touch with building the songs here, so that nothing is ever over or under done and that tension is built up and released perfectly.

Sitting here writting this now, 2 years on from the release of this impressive album, its clear to me that this doesnt just stand out in a year of below average album releases but its one of the best releases of the decade. The songs on here dont just stand out as indavidual pieces of brilliance, but each track flows from one to the next in such a way that the transition from the piano/drums/strings dominated opening pieces of The Tragedy and The Tomb Song to the more heavy metal of The Progress and The Machine, and so on, is so natural that the album is very organic in its feel and works best as one cohesive piece of art. In effect this creates an album where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts and is definitely at its best when listened to in its entirety. Its shocking that an album of this quality can be made and yet remain so obscure, and more so that the band is willing to give it away for free and survive on donations. My only question is for this masterpiece, is where do they go next, because this is one hard act to follow.

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 Blessed Are The Bonds by PAX CECILIA, THE album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.91 | 44 ratings

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Blessed Are The Bonds
The Pax Cecilia Experimental/Post Metal

Review by clarke2001
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Blessed are the bonds indeed. Here's a gift that needs to be revealed, like a precious and fragile creature behind a black curtain. There are no formulas, no obsessions with the past. This is essential honesty in the core of youth.

What is to be revealed, though, is not cuddly. It comprises differents shades of black and perhaps grey, each picture canalized through agressiveness and/or mellowness. It's a cry, it's a despair, it's impressive in it's horrifying beauty.

*************************************

Stage two: sober impressions.

The PAX CECILIA's 'Blessed Are The Bonds Album' can be obtained for free via their web site. I ordered one for the sake of curiosity. I've bee waiting for a few weeks, in the meantime, I concluded I won't receive anything and after that I forgot the whole thing. But unexpectedly, a postman brought me a tiny package with a U.S. Mail stamp on it - and I the whole thing came back to my mind. Tearing of the wrapped paper revealed a beautiful cover design, unmistakenly a self-released CD, although looking quite professional.

Being absolutely clueless what the music is all about, I pressed play.

The music immediately caught my attention - for the simplicity, honesty and beauty. Simplicity here stands for simplicity in a structure, however, this is a very diverse album. No solos, no pretentiousness, but many gorgeous layers - cellos, guitars, piano.

The production is - I dare to say - perfect. Do you know common attributes attached to a particular CD production? It could be analog, digital, thin, clear, muddy, warm, old or new, good or bad. This one is...just what it needs to be. The piano sounds like a piano, the cello sounds like a cello. The guitars are being quiet, or howling, but you can hear everything at any time.

After an introspective, mournful piano section, the band starts to reveal its diversity - the moment the screaming guitars and vocal announce metal side of the record, the picture is changed drastically, but in its essence remains the same, guiding us further on. Great riffs - nothing too spectacular, but simply pleasant, hooking drums, and screaming high-pitched vocals seeking comfort. Strings rhythmically playing with guitar riffs.

I'm not mentioning any musical references. Here's only one: CAROUSELAMBRA.

Am I wrong or this music is full of sorrow? Despair? This is a perfect music to die with, if you feel so inclined.

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 Nouveau by PAX CECILIA, THE album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.52 | 4 ratings

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Nouveau
The Pax Cecilia Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Dim
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The other side of the Pax Cecilia...

This album wasn't added until a couple months after their addition to the PA, therefore very few people here including the owners of Blessed are the bonds even know of this albums existence. This is a shame cause it really is a great, brutal album, with influences that you are in blessed, but are a little more smoothly, and aren't controlling the songs. I'd venture to say that I like this album better.

With so many influences the Pax cecilia takes on, there is one that dominates this album, HARDCORE. I love this genre of metal, it's abrasive, it's technical, and it's got an emotional edge, sadly I can only listen to a little at a time before needing to turn on some sigur ros or something before my head explodes. Nouveau manages to somewhat balances the sheer brutality and the softer more brutal parts though, leaving you with a somewhat more functional album, and if you read my blessed review, you know that's a big deal to me. Most of the time the album fluctuates between really soft post rock arpeggios, with barely hummed words, and brutal twin guitar lead lines, and an extremely agitated scream, very little in between. This brings up some pros's and cons. Con, lack of diversity, though there are some nice piano jams in the instrumental sections, there really is very little outside the hardcore shell. Pro, keeps you on edge, and is very satisfying when you want some down to earth brutal music. One other not so good thing is that there is an extreme lack in clean vocals, which is a shame, cause his voice was so good in in the next album, but don't get me wrong there is some cleanness.

Along with all of this, there is a lack of experimental instrumentation that they will acquire in the next album, but strangely enough, I don't miss them... Last, the recording quality is a little below par, the vocals are a little under mixed, and the snare is a little over muffled. Aside from all of these a very solid album, three and a half stars.

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 Blessed Are The Bonds by PAX CECILIA, THE album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.91 | 44 ratings

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Blessed Are The Bonds
The Pax Cecilia Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Dim
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I feel really bad giving the album three stars, but I have good reasons. The few of you who know me good enough, know that I am not a song person, yeah, a song can be great, but if the song doesnt fit with the album, it just throws everything off balance. As for the Pax cecilia's blessed are the bonds, all the songs are great, but they're grouped, and I get an overwhelming sense of unevenness in the album, which leads to a lack of satisfaction for me. This album spans from ambient, to classical jams, to black metal, and then to post metal, so I can understand why putting the songs all in the right place would be quite the challenge, but the fact is, they didn't even try. It seems they just clumped the different genres of music they touched on together, without any diversity in between. Here's how the album goes:

Classically piano driven- The first two songs of this album start with piano and vocals, then climax with other classical instruments jumping in, then finally some drums, and bass will peak it, while the vocals steadily become more driven, and aggressive. These songs are beautiful, and incredibly intense, leaving you blown away at the end. The second song introduces the distorted electric guitars in true post rock fashion to give the songs that edge, and in the first song, the vocals do eventually build into a scream, showing that this will indeed be a metal album

Hardcore/black metal- The next two songs are primarily electric, throwing the classical instruments in the snow as if they never existed. Harsh vocals, and desperate crying chants set the tone as a modern hardcore song, but the precise yet muddy sounding guitars give more of a black metal feel. The first song is more hardcore sounding, and the second song could almost pass as a tech metal song, both are pretty good, but this is, of course, where I go what the hell is going on? All of the sudden we've taken a ninety degree turn towards extremely dark metal, and it caught me off guard, and I'm not very sure that I like it.

Ambient- The next song, The wasteland, is almost completely ambient, which otherwise compliments the intensity of the song before it. Haunting voices set the tone, while every once in awhile a bleak piano chord will shoot from no where. Not to be a super pessimist or anything, but doesnt this seem like the end of GY!BE storm?

Post metal- The next two tracks are almost completely instrumental, and are probably my favorite on the album, especially the second one, The Tree. Angular down stroke guitars, with a slightly distorted tone automatically have you thinking post metal, but there is little doubt left when the classical instruments come back, and the epic climaxes begin. Both songs are great and leave you wanting more, but the strange album has to end at some point.

Classical guitar- The last song, the hymn, is almost too typical to end the album with. A Steve Howe like classical guitar riff (except darker) is being softly plaid while some eerie vocals are being sung, but only for awhile, then the riff keeps going, and going, and going. The persistence of the guitar is actually kind of nice, and it's a breather from the previous songs, but it's really not that impressive, and towards the end starts getting a little sloppy. I wont say the album ends on a bad note, but it doesnt end on an incredibly good one.

Overall I don't think there's a single song I don't like, all of them are well done, and keep you're attention, and for a brand new band to get away with that in a twelve minute long song, it impressive. Like I say with a lot of new coming post metal bands (and there's a LOT), I expect a lot of great things, and think that this one will go pretty far, they just need to learn how to structure an album, or at least give the impression that they tried. Anyone with ears know to put a really slow ambient song after a round of heavy ones, and to end an album with a memorable acoustic.

3 stars.

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 Blessed Are The Bonds by PAX CECILIA, THE album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.91 | 44 ratings

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Blessed Are The Bonds
The Pax Cecilia Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Tristan Mulders
Prog Reviewer

5 stars The Pax Cecilia - Blessed are the Bonds

I knew I was holding something special in my hands right from the start. Several people recommended this album to me for my liking of experimental and alternative music, and seeing that one could order a free copy of the album directly from the band themselves, I would have been a fool not to follow up on this recommendation.

It took some time before I actually received the album, I just moved to England for the time being and the album was delivered to my home address in The Netherlands. It was send over to England, so a few weeks later I had the pleasure of examining this wellcrafted package. The cd comes in a nicely designed digipack with an eye-catching drawing of owls as artwork. It is actually rather simple in that respect, yet rather appealing as well! The CD came with a free fold-out poster, and inside of the digipack the booklet features nicely designed lyrics, which differ in lay-out from page to page, which gives the whole booklet a rather ambitious and arty feel to it.

So the package is approved, on to the music then, shall we?

Before I ordered the album, the only thing I knew about their music was the fact that they were being categorised as experimental metal, but that this term did not do their music right. Well, that sounds interesting, doesn't it? Just way too many influences I was told. So I checked their MySpace.com page out and listened to the song The Tragedy and was mesmerised! This piece of music could be considered to be a rock attempt at a classical music piece, literally seen! Compositionwise the song progresses over its 10-minute length and keeps surprising the listener. Starting off with calmness and ending with a more rockysound, though never really rocking out... That's saved for later on on the album!

Yes, the music is varied, that much is true. It ranges from classical to folk to a trash/hardcore kind of metal to ambience 'music'. But what's most surprising is the seemingly effortless bland of these very different styles of music. The album comprises 60 minutes worth of music, spand over 8 tracks, which form a continuous flow of music. One big eponimous masterpiece.

The Pax Cecilia: Folk instruments breaking distorted walls of guitars, waves of water played over synthesized patterns, piano chords chiming as the drummer plays a surprising beat, vocals telling poem- like lyrics in a highly dramatic and original way, ranging from spoken or even whispered words to screaming in rage, to oozing lullabies. A little known masterpiece of truly progressive music worth of a wider audience.

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