REVIEW: Ceiling of Anvers – We All Live in Balance [2014]


Artist: Ceiling of Anvers

Album: We All Live in Balance


Humanity has a delicate relationship with it’s surroundings—a relationship defined by giving and taking. This mutualistic relationship depends on a serene third party; a hand calmly steadying the balance between men and women taking more and more from the earth—in order to grow and spread—and how much the earth can truly give in return. Ceiling of Anvers are this guiding force—and We All Live in Balance is the product of its action. While brief, We All Live in Balance is a carefully composed cycle consisting of abrasive, aggressive heaviness and soothing, atmospheric ambience that functions in perfect harmony—a sort of micro-ecosystem—to create an immersive progressive metalcore experience.

The first and most important thing to really address about Ceiling of Anvers is their penchant for the infectiously head-bobbing drum patterns and ear-catching tone that defines the djent movement. Simply put: yes, they are a djent band. However, if you’re still reading (and still interested), they are a djent band with more to offer than Meshugga-esque grooves and ear-pleasing tone. Percussionist Giacomo Piasentini is frantic, providing more energy than a nuclear reactor—especially on the introductory track, “The Throne and the Temple,” where his drumming kicks down the door to the listener’s mind and holds their attention span hostage. Where Piasentini is constantly pummeling and pounding at the listener with an entire array of fills and oddly-timed patterns, guitarists Emanuele Merico and Simone Campanale do what they do best: groove. Taking turns attacking the listener with insidious, intense—and infectious—grooves, Merico and Campanale are able to range from ferocious, deep heaviness (a la “L.I.F.E.”) to subtle, ethereal moments of melody-driven ambience, like those found in “Circles” and “The Oracle.” Together, Campanale and Merico effortlessly span the standard fare of shred and chug that define the range of most djent bands, but manage to add extra portions of low, looming heaviness and over-the-top hyperambience when needed, in order to provide a unique experience for the listener.

While Merico and Campanale riff, groove and chug away—and Piasentini pounds the listener into the ground with intense drumming—vocalist Fabio Pizzulo provides the last piece to Ceiling of Anvers’ puzzle. Pizzulo pierces through the listeners eardrums with acute ease, using a gruff mid-range yell and a high, strung-out shriek. Where the instrumentation favors looming, low-down and gritty heaviness and grooves, Pizzulo fits the mood and bares his teeth, tearing into the listener’s jugular with throat-rending shouts and harsh, hard-hitting yells. However, as Merico and Campanale veer towards more riff-driven, furiously fretted song-structure, Pizzulo picks up the pace and the tone, screaming and belting fast-paced lyrics over rampaging, steamrolling instrumentation. While Pizzulo doesn’t break the mold for vocals as far as hardcore, metalcore or any form of heavy music goes, he does what he knows and he does it exceptionally well—brilliantly rising to any occasion set forth by Ceiling of Anvers, providing enough diversity to avoid monotony, but not stepping so far out of his comfort zone as to provide a forced, failed vocal style. Pizzulo does exactly as he needs to—nothing less and nothing more.

Between the moments of intense heaviness and overarching melody, We All Live in Balance is an experience that rings true to its name—preaching balance and diversity over lopsided heaviness or over-ambience. Where tracks like “The Throne and the Temple” and “Order Control” kick off the release with aggression and energy, “The Oracle” and “Circles” provide a responsive, atmospheric cushion to soothe the listener and let them rest. These elements come together to establish a tight, brilliant dialectic in “L.I.F.E.,” a track which is equal parts melodic and murderous, providing both crushing, chugged-out breakdowns and riff-driven, sky-high harmonies. Perhaps the most brilliant part about “L.I.F.E.” is its placement on the EP—providing a firm anchor that stands as everything Ceiling of Anvers have been honing throughout We All Live in Balance. The result is a picture-perfect example of give and take. Where the drums and guitars give enthusiastic energy, Pizzulo thrives and takes from it, drawing a gruff, surely yell. However, as the track progresses, it turns into Pizzulo’s turn to give, as his yells and screams draw the song to a close, pushing the instrumentation over the last figurative hurdle.

While it might not be the way nature intended, Ceiling of Anvers’ EP We All Live in Balance is a brilliant lesson in song composition and dynamic, diverse musicianship. Balanced to the very end, We All Live in Balance is a standard djent release with just a little extra meat to keep the listener full and happy—and raring for a second helping too.



For Fans Of: Damned Spring Fragrantia, Structures, Uneven Structure

By: Connor Welsh