In 2006, CELLADOR broke into the power scene with the huge splash – Enter Deception foretold great things for a bunch of kids from Omaha, Nebraska. Unfortunately, that was the last we would hear of them for over a decade, with the exception of 2011’s Honor Forth EP, which a lot of people missed – as much of a power metal dork as I am, I wasn’t even aware of it myself until Chris Petersen handed me a copy at a CELLADOR show in 2015. Fast forward eleven years – the lineup is entirely different from the Enter Deception roster with the exception of Chris (guitar and now lead vocals), and they completely knock it out of the park with Off the Grid (out now on Scarlet Records.)
The band has really refined the sound that made their debut such a critical success. Chris Petersen now handles the lead vocals and does so with a more refined style – there’s not a lot of falsetto or screams, but he projects an insane level of power. He also shares guitar duties with Eric Meyers, and they do an amazing job of harmonizing and trading off on every single song. The addition of Diego Valadez on keyboards adds a lot of depth to their style – it’s less thrashy than the debut, and gives the album a big fat European power metal sound. Nick McAllister’s drumming is outstanding and drives the songs at a great pace, and the bass playing, while mostly staying in the background, is solid.
Overall, the tone of the record, for those unfamiliar with the band, is most easily explained as “DRAGONFORCE-ish, without all of the extra guitar wankery.” It’s really a great album and a great representative of the current Euro power genre. Songs like “Break Heresy”, “Wake Up the Tyrant”, “Shimmering Status”, and “Sole Survivors” are beautifully crafted with soaring choruses, great dual guitar work, and always with some great synth lines behind the guitars. Even the thrashier tracks like “Shadowfold” have an amazing melodic thread to them that does not fail to impress every time I listen to them. The band even did a cover of CYNDI LAUPER’S “The Goonies ‘r’ Good Enough” that stays true to the original song even as it gets power metalled up – it’s a little cheesy, but extremely fun, and it’s a nice addition to the rest of this great album.
To sum: CELLADOR’S Off the Grid is an excellent album, and I can definitely recommend picking it up. Supporting bands that deliver great records like this should always be a no-brainer, and CELLADOR has made it an easy choice. Obtain a copy, post-haste.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Break Heresy”, “Shadowfold”, “Wake Up the Tyrant”, “Off the Grid”, “This Means War”