Two years on from the release of their atmospheric debut This is the Sound, the trio of Eluveitie composers who comprise Cellar Darling are back with an intricate and well thought out album which could prove to be the most engrossing listen of 2019.
Our readers will have had the chance to preview the epic scale of this new work by listening to ‘Death’, released as a single on Spotify and whose video has been viewed on Youtube over eighty-five thousand times. As an encapsulation of the whole record it serves its purpose quite well, giving a taste of the ambience and melody that when juxtaposed with the heavy blues of guitarist/bassist Ivo Henzi provides the discerning listener with a thoughtful and highly epic experience.
It is the attention to narrative, both musically and lyrically, that adds profound layers to the almost effortlessly complex score. The lullaby ‘Sleep’ is followed immediately by the discordant ‘Insomnia’, two halves of one tale combined into a mini-adventure in the first half of the album. Two songs begin the listening enterprise; ‘Love’ and ‘Death’. Both of these numbers set a tone and style which is then skilfully called back to in the final tracks of The Spell, ‘Love Part II’ and ‘Death Part II’.
At all times the listener can find themselves utterly entranced by Anna Murphy’s vocals. Soaring, majestic and at times delightfully boisterous, the kind of siren call which makes the story Cellar Darling want to tell really work. Like Kylesa, there is a remarkable aptitude for blowing the listener away that stands as testament to how well this album has been crafted. Merlin Sutter’s rhythmic prowess keeps the whole thing together very well, and overall there is not a sour note to be found on the record.
The first listen to The Spell is captivating, and from there do not be surprised if you find yourself with a new favourite added to your daily shuffle. In terms of musical craft, storytelling ability and the expert production, this is unquestionably one of the most exciting and worthy releases of the year.