Ceremonial Castings' "Salem 1692," a Bewitching, Accursed Masterpiece.
Have you ever wondered what a Black Metal album written by two direct-descendants of one of the leading judges in the Salem Witch Trials would sound like? Well, wonder no more, because Ceremonial Castings’ Salem 1692 is the album you’ve been looking for and it’s every bit as relentless and uncompromising as John Hathorne himself.
Siblings Nick “OldNick” Superchi and Jake “The Witcher” Superchi are the Battle Ground, Washington duo behind Ceremonial Castings (or, were, Ceremonial Castings went on “possibly indefinite” hiatus in 2014) and claim to be direct-descendants of zealous, Salem judge John Hathorne. Whether or not their claims are legitimate is for someone who’s way more nosy than I am to figure out, but what I do know is that these two were definitely channeling something dark and wicked when they made this underappreciated, macabre masterpiece.
A bit of background on John Hathorne before we get to the album itself: He was known as the “hanging judge” and showed no remorse for his participation in the trials, to this day being known as a cruel zealot who showed no mercy to the accused. I find it only appropriate that Metal Apocrypha weaves tales of how “cursed” this album’s production was, with band members getting violently ill and strange accidents happening during the time of recording, as if the spirits of Salem’s damned were reaching out from beyond for one last bit of revenge at the descendants of Hathorne for daring to dig-up these old bones. Luckily for us, despite the alleged-spectral interference, the Brothers Superchi persevered and were able to complete this musical cenotaph.
Salem 1692 channels the best of Emperor, along with early Cradle of Filth and Dimmu Borgir, albeit with far superior vocals and a much more fitting, raw production. You can cut the atmosphere this album creates with a knife. Just partake in your favorite alcoholic or herbal indulgence, lay back, close your eyes and let it take you to the witches’ sabbath. Cherry-picking individual tracks as my favorites would do a massive disservice to this album, as I firmly believe it should be listened to as a whole, from start to finish. If that’s a journey you’re willing to take, you can find the album at Ceremonial Castings’ Bandcamp page.
Looking for more musical recommendations? Check out Creepy Chris’ write-up on satanic, doo-wop duo Twin Temple here, only on Monsters, Madness and Magic.