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Album Reviews : Cellar Darling – This Is The Sound

By on August 4, 2017

It came as a mighty shock back in May 2016 when Eluveitie announced they were soon to be parting ways with three beloved members. Fortunately, the trio consisting of Anna Murphy (hurdy gurdy, vocals), Ivo Henzi (guitars) and Merlin Sutter (drums) promised fans they would continue to make music.

A year or so later and we’re left with the debut album from the three-piece outfit Cellar Darling entitled ‘This is the Sound’ released through Nuclear Blast.

This band was always going to turn heads, the question was whether or not the response would be positive or negative – and to be perfectly honest, after hearing ‘Challenge’ late last year, even I wasn’t quite sure. Spoiler alert though: it’s pretty damn good!

Cellar Darling have gone for a kind of heavy rock vibe infused with pop and folk elements, but the exceptional thing about this album is that it tends to range throughout and stays constantly fresh.

For me, the biggest surprise of this album was how heavy it actually is – Henzi’s guitar work is sublime, whether it be the chugging riffs that guide each verse, or the real chunky riffs that get the songs going. Songs like ‘Black Moon’, and ‘The Hermit’ jump straight into solid riffage, and gets you pumped up only seconds in. Meanwhile, ‘Starcrusher’ gives off a huge Mastodon vibe before jumping into that sweet sound of the hurdy gurdy and oh my does it get your spine tingling.

I remember talking to Anna Murphy after an Eluveitie show in 2016, and she commented on how embarrassed she was about her live vocals when she first joined back in 2006. This album shows just how far she’s come, as she dominates these songs with incredibly powerful vocals. The vocal lines in this album are extraordinary, and at times can even change the nature of certain sections which comes off as an extra element this band has to offer.

This album ebbs and flows throughout, never sticking to the same song structure or feel. Songs like ‘Avalanche’, and ‘Fire, Wind and Earth’ are fast in pace and quite upbeat – while songs like ‘Water’ and ‘High Above These Crowns’ are slower and give a sense of relief to the listener. The album doesn’t tend to have a repetitive feel, which is extremely refreshing as they can clearly nail both ends of the spectrum – which at times they do within the same song.

Overall, this album has a lot of positive points, especially considering it’s their first effort. With only three members they’ve still managed create a full sound, and have added a range of instruments including piano, flute and of course Anna’s beloved hurdy gurdy. I’m not sure I can describe exactly what this sound is, but I can assure you it’s their sound – and it works tremendously.

Band: Cellar Darling
Album: This Is The Sound
Year: 2017
Genre: Folk Metal/Rock
Label:  Nuclear Blast Records
Origin: Switzerland