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Cellar Darling - The Spell Award winner

Cellar Darling
The Spell
by Justin "Witty City' Wittenmeier at 13 May 2019, 1:09 AM

Although I enjoyed CELLAR DARLING’s first album, “This Is The Sound,” it was missing a bit of energy.  Perhaps the only reason I felt that way was because it was the three-band member’s first release together since their exit from ELUVEITIE…a band who shares a folk sound but definitely has a high-octane Metal edge.  With “The Spell,” the band seems a lot more confident and having found a sound that works for them.  And what sound is that?  Dynamics.  By incorporating a lot more Metal into their Progressive Folk combination this time around.  Not only does the extra dose of Metal boost the songs but it also allows them so switch back and forth into lighter and heavier moments.  Normally, that might get old but the transitions are fluid and often times strung together by Prog moments.  I always felt IVO was the best guitarist in his former band but was often times buried in the mix….with CELLAR DARLING, he gets the time to shine that he richly deserves.

The opening track, “Pain,” is a perfect example of this.  It opens immediately with heavy guitars but also more folky, unconventional sounds.  As the song proceeds, a bit of groove is thrown in but with enough dissonance and timing to break apart any monotony that might otherwise appear.   Although she has never been a slouch in the vocal department, Anna’s vocals have really grown—indeed, her performance throughout the album is nothing short of astonishing.  Her clear, powerful clean vocals are very against the grain of the music, not always following the vocal path one might expect. The second track, “Death,” is filled with excellent Metal riffs that are constantly complicated by Merlin’s always impeccable drumming.  Even when I come across parts I don’t particular care for, his drums always grab my attention, and therefore boost up everything.  The heavier parts of the song work well with Anna’s flute in the song’s mid-section.  This solo leads the song into more melodic territory where her voice truly soars before going heavy once again.  Her ending wails backed by the slick riffs is a magical moment indeed.

Some of the shorter tracks showcase the heaviest side of the band, such as “Burn.”  The riffs featured are dense and weighty, providing some meatier backbone for the vocals to work with.  “Freeze,” is one of the most rocking songs on the album; the guitar and hurdy gurdy continue to show how well they can work together in this genre, even at the more Metal moments. At over an hour in length with thirteen tracks, the album is a lot to digest.  There aren’t any bad songs but a couple could had been cut to change the flow, if not the time.  “Fall,” is too short to really go anywhere.  “Sleep,” and “Death Pt. II” are both fine ballads but lack the progressive aspect the rest of the songs contain.  There also isn’t a need to have two lighter, vocal oriented songs on the album—they sound too similar in style and concept.

But these are minor complaints…there is just too much to like about this album to worry about a few shortcomings.  In addition to all the good aspects of “The Spell,” it also has longevity; this album definitely warrants and deserves repeated listens.  Fans of both Folk and Progressive Metal need to have this album on their radar.

Originality: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Pain
2. Death
3. Love
4. The Spell
5. Burn
6. Hang
7. Sleep
8. Insomnia
9. Freeze
10. Fall
11. Drown
12. Love Pt. II
13. Death Pt. II
Anna Murphy – Vocals, Hurdy Gurdy Flute
Ivo Henzi – Guitar, Bass
Merlin Sutter - Drums
Record Label: Nuclear Blast Records


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Edited 22 August 2019

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