Review: Cellador – Off the Grid – Scarlet Records – Release: 10-03-2017.
Seldom has an album been so aptly named as it has been years since I last heard a peep about Cellador, “Off the Grid” indeed! I remember when the debut “Enter Deception” came out back in 2006 and with its high velocity virtuoso guitar play it felt like listening to Dragonforce with better songwriting. Since then I lost track of the band and completely missed the 2011 EP “Honor Forth”, so I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the upcoming album pop up in our release lists.
Chris Petersen – guitars, vocals
Diego Valadez – keyboards
Nick McCallister – drums
Eric Meyers – guitars
Off the Grid
I was even more pleasantly surprised when I popped in the album and was greeted with the highly rocking ‘Sole Survivors’ which, despite not being the classic Helloween track, instantly grabs you with its catchy chorus. Again very adequately named as main man Chris Petersen is the only original band member left and aside from his awesome guitar skills he also mans the microphone now and while Michael Gremio did a terrific job on “Enter Deception” Chris surpasses him. Really interested in hearing if he can combine both jobs on stage.
Without letting up the band continues on with its 2000’s grounded power metal with lots of of dual leads and catchy choruses. The band manages to sound fresh, while still keeping true to the sound they displayed on their debut. There is an occasional deviation like the definitely stomping ‘Shadowfold’ and the speed/thrash metal infused ‘Wake Up the Tyrant’, but the band always puts its positive sound on the foreground.
One big difference from the old stuff is the inclusion of keyboards by Diego Valadez, who has been with the band since the 2011’s EP. While a lot of the time his input is very subtly woven into the background, it’s the occasional wave that really hit the sweet spots, like in ‘Swallow Your Pride’. The band could definitely do with putting him a little more in the spotlight in the album mix.
One song that really had me smiling with joy was ‘This Means War’ as the opening riff reminds me of the first time I heard ‘Leaving All Behind’, posted on a very old Dragonland forum. It feels like a great reminder of how far this band has come since that very first release and personally I would have put it at the end to close down the album.
Ten tracks of highly melodic faceshredding power metal that have you singing along with the choruses in no time, what’s not to like? It has taken Cellador a long time to really get back to the world stage again, but with this album they have one of the best business cards you could have out there. Welcome back!
1. Sole Survivors
2. Break Heresy
4. Wake Up the Tyrant
5. Off the Grid
6. Swallow Your Pride
7. Shimmering Status
8. Good Enough
9. This Means War
10. Running Riot
Score: 4.5 out of 5
Text by: Robert Popovic