REVIEW: CELLAR DARLING – “This Is The Sound”
Cellar Darling is the new kid on the block out of Switzerland, but it’s members have a long reputation behind themselves as musicians. ‘This is the Sound’ is the result of the combined efforts of ex-Eluveitie members Anna Murphy, Ivo Henzi and Merlin Sutter. And boy, can we have more please?
2016 was the year Eluveitie witnessed the split from the three members, wherein drummer Sutter was ejected from the group to which vocalist/Hurdy Gurdy player Murphy and guitarist Henzi quit right after. This was after a divide in deciding the direction of the band, and eventually resulting in the existence of the fourteen track work of art that is to be released this month.
The album kicks off with “Avalanche”, and it takes one listen to realize what the divide in direction meant. The three piece brings a fresh new sound to the palette of Folk metal, far from the likes of Korpiklaani, Finntroll, and Eluveitie itself. The overall sound is fairly mellow, airy and very atmospheric, with the only link to the heavy side being Henzi’s guitar work. It has to be mentioned that each of the tracks have a very different guitar style attached to them, i.e; “Hullaballoo” being very groove based and “Hedonia” being very djent like.
“Challenge”, a song about one’s inner battle with life, is one of the songs that puts Murphy on the spotlight both vocally and instrumentally, wise, and really gives a good example on how Murphy’s voice and play style has evolved since we last heard her on ‘Origins’. It could also be a subtle title track of the album since it literally has ‘This is the Sound, This is the Sound’ being chanted in the pre chorus, but that’s my theory. “Starcrusher” and “Under the Oak Tree” show hints of progressive styled writing with cutting off time chops by Sutter. But all the new playing styles doesn’t mean the folk atmosphere has been changed entirely. The entire album has the Hurdy Gurdy and strings sprawled all over it, right from being hypnotizing in “Black Moon” to going full throttle headbang in “Fire, Wind & Earth”.
The entire album really covers a variety of styles, enough to say that it is more of an experience than an album that you can sit back and relax to but also get nuts at the same time if you wanted to. My only concern with the album is that it should have had dirty vocals thrown over a few tracks. After giving a listen to “Awake” by Henzi’s Black metal project Forest of Fog, it’s safe to say that his vocals would compliment Murphy’s like bread to butter. Or is that the Eluveitie effect? That’s open to analysis. But for now, Cellar Darling is out of the cellar, and they have no plans to stop what they’re at, and they’re very, very good at it.
‘This is the Sound’, going on the rawest essence of the album, is sensibly chaotic. It perfectly captures the feeling of being in the eye of a nasty thunderstorm, representing a moment of pure bliss and tranquility, along with the underlying turbulence. The writing of the album itself is distinct and unique, and I’d be lying if I said that the album isn’t an experience worth listening. ‘This is the Sound’, out via Nuclear Blast Records, June 30th.