Released by: Nuclear Blast Records
Release Date: Out Now!
Genre: Progressive Folk Metal
Anna Murphy – vocals, hurdy-gurdy, flute
Merlin Sutter – drums
Ivo Henzi – guitars, bass
4. The Spell
12. Love, Pt. II
13. Death, Pt. II
Swiss progressive folk metal band, Cellar Darling, have released their second album. Titled The Spell, the concept album explores the themes of love and death. This dark fairytale for the modern age, has woven through it, the journey of a young maiden who falls in love with the embodiment of death. As Anna explains, “It tells the tale of an unnamed girl who is birthed into a world that is full of pain, damaged and debilitated by the human beings that inhabit it. We follow her as she searches for meaning in life, when suddenly she meets and falls in love with death – concluding with an ambiguous ending that leaves the listener wondering.” The Spell is the type of album that will draw you in, move you, and leave you wanting for more. Every time you listen to it, you will identify a new layer, or a different nuance, and that adds to the magical nature of what Cellar Darling have created with this album.
Given the rich themes and storytelling explored throughout The Spell, it doesn’t lend itself to a track by track commentary, but should be taken as a whole. Tracks like ‘Death’, ‘Love’, ‘Burn’, and ‘Insomnia’ truly illustrate the range, power, and sonic brilliance of the band. Title track ‘The Spell’ and ‘Sleep’ feel positively otherworldly, while the remainder of the album is comprised of energetic prog epics that have the depth and presence of a Queen album. The most poignant moments of The Spell are created by the intersection of folk and prog, with the interplay of the flute, hurdy-gurdy, and piano against the modern sound of the drums, bass, and guitars. This dynamic created by the trio makes for a powerful sound that blends multiple genres seamlessly.
With the release of The Spell, it is clear that Cellar Darling have defined their sound, and surpassed their past with Eluveitie. Presenting a haunting landscape of modern prog metal, classical, and folk elements, the ethereal nature of the music transcends genre and takes the listener on a journey that while at times dark, is also bright and virtually spiritual in nature. Discussing the album, Merlin explained, “I think prog fits us best. Prog isn’t just about guitar solos, long songs or technical ability: for me, it’s pushing the limits of genre. We don’t want to set any boundaries for ourselves, and to me, that is the definition of progressive music.” The ambitious nature of the album, combined with the excellent musicianship by Sutter, Henzi, and Murphy, as well as her brilliant vocal storytelling make for an accomplished album. Verging on the avant-garde at times, the experimental and dream-like facets of the album converge to convey the depth of emotion behind the songs, and leave behind an elegant recording that belongs in every music lover’s collection.
While you’re here, why not check out our live review from the band’s recent show in London!
Written by: Erik De’Viking
My Global Mind – UK Editor
Erik De’Viking is a London based freelance music journalist. His musical interests include music in all its forms, and he is constantly on the lookout for new bands and genres to discover and later preach about to the masses.