posted on 7/2006 By:
What’s on tap: Raging, speedy power metal...
Corn, farms, barns, wheat, combines, silos, cows, square dancing, pickup trucks, college football, and chewing tobacco - that’s what immediately comes to mind when I think of Nebraska. I realize I’m an asshole for letting myself stereotype an entire state in such a way, so I’ll hasten ahead and quickly make my point - not after 10,000 years and 10,000 beers would I ever think Nebraska could spawn a major label power metal band, which leads me to believe Cellador probably stick out in their home state like Edgar Winter in a pygmy camp. And as if the band’s home base isn't anomalous enough, there’s something else that makes this band special - they’re really young (17-23yrs). Somehow the souls of these five young fellers have become completely possessed by the spirit of classic European power metal, and it warms my heart to no end.
Cellador’s Enter Deception, sounds like Helloween after they’ve been injected with Dr. West’s Re-Animator juice, minus the pumpkins, occasional bubbles, blips, whistles, and silly fuckin’ giggling. There’s no clashing swordplay samples, galloping hooves, noodling keyboards, or magical tales babbled by elder-wizards either, just pure fists in the air, pedal-to-the-fucking-floorboard power metal from the second the record starts, to the moment it ends. I’ve heard recent comparisons to (gasp) Dragonforce, which I gather is due mostly in part to the absolute turbo guitar work and overall speedy pace found on this record, but Cellador hit an aggression level I don’t believe exists in the Dragonforce playbook of power metal (in fact, DF have always struck me as a pumped up, speedy version of Stryper, for whatever reason).
Enter Deception showcases a level of technicality that far exceeds what one would expect from a band this young. There are countless amounts of hammered riffage and exceedingly melodic, speedy soloing flowing from the fingertips of dual axemen, Chris Petersen and Bill Hudson. In addition, these two really know how to make their guitars sing, literally, as nearly every song on the record features guitar licks that shadow the epic vocal chorus’ note for note, really adding to the albums’ uplifting, sing-songy feel. Vocalist, Michael Gremio, is a straight up monster; sounding like the bastard child of Michael Kiske and Bruce Dickinson as he shreds his chords through each of the album’s eight songs. But it's 17-year-old drummer, David Dahir, that's the fucking belle of the ball, as far as I’m concerned. This kid must have shot out of his Mum with sticks at the ready and a serious need to be a drummer. He flails his way through Enter Deception like a drummer with his children’s lives on the line. Finally, bassist, Valentin Rakhmanov, fills out the bottom end quite nicely, but his contribution to the album is a bit buried compared to what we hear from his band mates. Being a personal fan of serious four stringing, I honestly hope he’s given a bit more room to roam on future releases to really prove his chops as well.
The only thing I feel is missing from Enter Deception is at least one slower number. Not a sappy, bullshit ballad, per se, but more of a “Revelations” or “Children of The Damned” styled song to give respite from the rest of the records’ speedy numbers. Song five, “Seen Through Time”, starts off as if it might fill the order, but quickly heads off towards the same quickened pace heard throughout, despite its' relatively mellow start.
It’s unbelievably refreshing to an old fucker such as myself to hear a young band say “fuck-all” to nearly every current trend in metal today. Cellador play a ‘grade-A’ brand of speedy power metal not often heard from these shores as of late. Fans of the genre would be foolish not to check out this record, especially considering Metal Blade’s easily digestible $10 introductory price tag. Enter Deception easily lays down the groundwork necessary to count Cellador as one of the U.S.’s up-and-coming, premiere power metal outfits, and it’s definitely left me extremely interested to see how this young band develops in the near future. This is a very impressive debut, and highly recommended for fans of uplifting, fast power metal.
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