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Review : Celldweller – Wish Upon a Black Star
Wish Upon a Black Star
“Be careful what you wish for” is the underlying theme of the loose concept album, ‘Wish Upon a Black Star’, which is finally set to be released.
If your wish was “I wish bloody Klayton would release the new album, already!” then your wish is granted… and it’s been worth the wait.
The release date was originally pencilled for Summer 2006 – so fans have been hanging on for 6 years with only teaser releases and instrumentals to keep them going.
One plus, is that the original announced 10-song tracklist has been extended to 17. So tracks here even the most hardcore of dedicated fans will not have heard in any form.
Celldweller combine an array of styles and influences in ways other acts are merely envious of, elements of Metal, Dubstep, Industrial, Drum n Bass, Trance, Rock, Punk, fused together seamlessly.
The album also builds, peaks and descends extremely smoothly. ‘It Makes No Matter Who We Are’ is almost acoustic, ‘Blackstar’ then starts to pick up the pace with one of the very memorable phrases of the album “don’t waste your time… say hallelujah ‘cos you can’t change anything”
That is another key feature of Celldweller, they can really punch out the memorable phrases in lyrics. If you go back to the debut, “it’s too late to switchback”, “Time doesn’t exist here, we will never die”, “That’s alright – I believe you!” etc. So the messages of the lyrics really stick out.
Another example, one of many, is “Lucky for me, I don’t believe in luck!” in ‘The Lucky One’, clapping rhythms and a chorus of ‘I am’s’ sang by fans of the band. Sliding electronic sounds and kooky electronics underpin the irony fuelled anthem on luck, “I’ve got a wishbone stuck in my throat”
But sometimes it’s not always about the phrases, but the epic tunes, ‘Unshakeable’ probably has the most going on musically. Huge, absolutely massive, gaping chasms of sounds – slamming beats – the pacey crescendo from the verse to the chorus. It’s the musical equivalent of someone beating Skrillex to death with his own shoes.
‘I can’t Wait’ heads into more DnB territory, upbeat and snappy, “Reckless? So what?”. There’s also some very unusual atmospheric synth string effects in the background (not to mention the odd Metallica riff!), you wouldn’t have thought would suit a track like this – but there’s something within the genius of Klayton that just makes it work.
These are amongst some of the livelier tracks in the middle of the album, a bit unconventional for a dancefloor, but it’s their unconventional style that allows them to standout where a lot of music slips into a formula or standard.
The wind-down of the album includes the trip-hop ‘So Long Sentiment’, the trancier influenced ‘Gift for You’ and ‘Seven Sisters’ and the piano-cum-orchestral ‘Against the Tide’.
You cannot begin to accuse Celldweller of being a one-trick pony and on the other hand, each track is distinctly their work. Klayton is a true musical mastermind of the 21st Century. If the 1990s and early 2000s belonged to Trent Reznor, the time is now for Celldweller.