Jigsaw of redemption – a review of Child of Caesar’s “Spirit & Liberation”

Author Silvia Tortiglione - 14.12.2022

Born to celebrate the goth metal of the 90s, the Child of Caesar project, founded in 2011 by guitarist André Marcussen, has undergone an evolution and sung a hymn to music’s potentialities. “Spirit & Liberation” is a puzzle of styles and words, a mosaic that resonates with the power of a cathedral. Pieces of punk and black metal, with slight sparkles of doom, make up a harsh work of excellent melancholy.

The procession begins with “Scorpion“, a piece that perfectly embodies this amalgam of different styles. There is harmony, there is gothic decadence, and above all, there is the speed of pain typical of black metal. A more catchy and old-fashioned “Your Eyes On Me” follows. In some ways, the second track recalls the compatriots Lacrimas Profundere. With the third track “Lisa” the story begins to boil and the spirit meets some mirage.

It is an even more experimental song than “Scorpion”. With “Lisa” we witness an inner war of whispers and gallops that swerve towards increasingly polished areas of shadow and bass. Patrick Pagliaro flies on the vocal lines in a mystical countermelody, which bleeds on the sudden and unexpected piano notes. And from the ashes of this melodic sweetness, the abyss of cruelty returns, a sound that is gradually more and more scratchy.

From “Ritual of Summer” to “Native Tongue” a particularly distinctive game of re-calls appears. This central group of pieces moves along a single line of coherence. We are in the fields of a punk attitude grafted on the atmosphere of Scandinavian metal. The result is precise musical storytelling, which slips into the consciousness with sensual yet metropolitan pleasure while listening.

With “B.M.T.C” we change direction. Enter heavy metal with a glamour amarcord effect. It is interesting to note how the lyrics are of deep introspection, balancing the heated rush of riffs and drums. With this trick, Child of Caesar overcomes the biggest obstacle for such ambitious albums: boredom.

“Spirit & Liberation” officially closes with a meta-aggressive “Exitus” and I speak of meta-aggression, because, once again, the brutality of the sound accompanies a Bergamian narrative of psychological convictions and absolutions. So, even the simplest speedy ride fits well into the ethical system of the German band.

Then, the goal has been reached. Here we meet the bonus track “San Fransisco”, cover of the famous track by Scott McKenzie. It is the coveted prize, a dark and abysmal reinterpretation that once again brings the atmospheres of the American underground to merge with the northern European seasons.

In the end, “Spirit & Liberation” is a jigsaw of styles and stories, which finds its strong point in the unprejudiced musical hybridization. A courageous choice that not many are able to carry with results of this caliber. And it is curious how it manages to remain in mind, almost as if Child of Caesar have found the right recipe for a nostalgic eternity.