ALBUM REVIEW: This Is The Sound – Cellar Darling

CELLAR DARLING are a three-piece Swiss band consisting of Anna Murphy, Merlin Sutter and Ivo Henzi, former members of the folk metal band ELUVEITIE. When the band split up in 2016 after a dispute on the musical direction on the band, (and have since reformed with a new line up) the members decided to do what they wanted and set to work on song writing for a new musical venture. What was left was former folk-metal musicians that wanted to create an altogether different sound that would “unleash feelings and experiences by telling stories and drawing symbols.” This is when CELLAR DARLING was born.

The ironically named This is the Sound has a cleaner and much more innocent sound compared to ELUVEITIE‘s work, with Anna Murphy’s voice creating atmospheric moments of fragility and innocence on the hypnotising opening track of the album, Avalanche. This is then contrasted by some heavier, more riff driven songs courtesy of Ivo Henzi on tracks such as Hullaballoo and Fire, Wind and Earth that seems to be a diluted version of the band member’s folk-metal roots.

A refreshing element to This Is The Sound is that there is a variety of tracks that can be classed as almost soothing in places with the use of repetitive piano motifs and muffled drums, and others that are driven by riffs and powerful vocals, appealing to the darker and heavier side of this genre. Each song however seamlessly flows into one another without any discord.

It’s fair to say that this venture is a different direction for the three members. ELUVEITIE had a strong following around the world for their dirty vocals and heavier sound, so if fans decide to listen to this offshoot, they could be surprised that CELLAR DARLING focuses a lot more on hooks and a lighter, more rock based sound. The band still use the same earthy ethereal folk instruments such as the hurdy gurdy however, which sound even more haunting alongside the melodies in tracks such as Water, and compliment the guitar riffs on the anthemic track Rebels.

One thing which would be interesting to hear is how Anna’s voice would gel with dirtier vocals on some tracks such as Starcrusher, as the fast-paced riff, urgency and subject matter of the song would lend itself well to some darkness. Ivo Henzi is also currently also part of a death metal side project called FOREST OF FOG – his vocals alongside Anna’s could be a very interesting mix, and something to maybe work into an album in the future.

A lot of focus has gone into the song writing for This Is The Sound, and when listening to the lyrics, they seem like they could have been heavily shaped by the turmoil leading up to and after the band members leaving ELUVEITIE. Anna has described the song Challenge as being about “getting high on new found strength,” and occurred to her during a period of “recurring downfall.” This Is The Sound is a great example of what can be made when certain elements from genres collide and risks are taken.

Rating: 9/10

This Is The Sound - Cellar Darling

This Is The Sound is out now via Nuclear Blast Records.

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