Friday, August 11, 2017
Cellador: Off the Grid (2017)
It has been more than ten years since Cellador released their debut album Enter Deception, which was reasonably well-received and was certainly hyped. In the years since, previous vocalist Michael Gremio has left the band, leaving vocal duties to guitarist and only remaining founding member Chris Petersen and the band has moved on from Metal Blade Records to Scarlet Records. Everyone else in the band is also fairly new. The band has only released an EP since 2006, so this is essentially a new beginning for Cellador.
Cellador's particular brand of power metal is obviously influenced by Helloween and Gamma Ray, giving it more of a European aesthetic, blending epic melodies and speed metal riffing. It is also damn catchy. Petersen has improved as a singer and his soaring vocals blend well with the fast riffs of the dual guitar attack. I might actually prefer Petersen's vocals to Gremio's from the previous album. Some of the tracks are considerably more aggressive this time around. "Shadowfold" kicks things off with one hell of a riff and the first two tracks each trample anything the band did on their first release. The title track is the best song on the album with an insanely infectious chorus and some of the best solos the band has ever done, including keyboard solos.
On the band's previous album, they were frequently derided for being a Dragonforce clone, and some similarities are certainly still present, but Cellador's songwriting has eclipsed Dragonforce on this release. The songs are much more accessible, flow better, and do not overstay their welcome. The only misstep is the odd Cyndi Lauper cover. "Good Enough" is a decent enough track, but it does not really match the tone of the rest of the album. I applaud the band for taking risks and I have frequently mentioned that I love metal covers of 1980's pop hits, but it just seems out of place on this release.
This is really a terrific release by Cellador and it is a massive step forward from their good, but uneven debut album. I am anxious to see this band continue, even though I will never forgive them for abandoning Nebraska. I am mostly kidding. Mostly.