Celldweller’s self-titled debut LP came out nearly 10 years ago – it was stunning. Every track stood out. If you were into early NIN, Ministry’s Psalm 69, or Pitchshifter, this was for you. Like a lot of its contemporaries it had all the essential elements, techno sound, atmospheric drum’n’bass beats and nice heavy thrash guitars. What set it apart from the rest was excellent vocals and really good song writing; it even had two versions of the same song that complemented each other really well.
This second (third overall) Celldweller (Wish Upon A Blackstar) LP has been long awaited by legions of fans. Straight out of the gate it stumbles, falls, and has to be shot by a pirate out of kindness (and because the ships larders are pretty empty).
Celldweller Wish Upon A Blackstar has great production and it’s put together well, but all the excellent, catchy hooks from the first time around seem to have been replaced with generic late-‘90s dance tracks – not even good ones. I feel that to fully appreciate this CD the way it was intended I’d need to be in a nightclub, about four beers and three pills worse off. Wish Upon A Blackstar came with a free sticker, but there were no free drugs included so I’m stuck sober, listening to dodgy dance tracks with a bit of occasional metal.
Disclaimer: Pirates don’t do drugs. Say no to drugs. Drugs are bad. If you need drugs to enjoy music, its being done wrong.
“Eon” starts off with some promise, but quickly disappoints. There’s a great riff it doesn’t do anything with. “I Can’t Wait” is a reasonable track, but feels forced. At over five minutes, it’s got a long intro, you can feel a good song in there trying to get out, it just keeps meandering off on weird overlong techno segues between sections that feels like far too much self indulgence born of nearly a decade of people telling Klayton his first LP was awesome.
“Gift for You” is just under six minutes of dragging ambient something, that’s the best word for it, “something.” It’s like an intro, you’re waiting for something to happen, a song to start and suddenly you realize its six minutes later and the next song’s up. “The Lucky One” again feels like it started as a good idea, but is twice the length it oughta be and just drags on and on… and on.
“Birthright” starts with a really cool bass riff, and then again falls to pieces with an intro that goes on four times longer than it should, then a second intro that leads to what sounds like, yup, a third intro. Once you’re past the foreplay (the actual track doesn’t start until about 1:20) it’s passable, there’s some violins and orchestration in there that must’ve cost a lot to put together, but 11 tracks in it’s too little too late.
“It Makes No Difference Who We Are” feels like two half decent ideas looped a few times and called a song. “The Best It’s Gonna Get,” yeah, this starts off OK but feels like song writing by numbers: decent riff intro, weird ambient bit, bass driven verse, overlong segue’s between sections with unnecessary bleeps and noises to fill in gaps, which just serves to annoy.
“Tainted” sounds like the same four bars looped, a few extra guitars provide some weight to the sound, but there’s no structure to it as a song and the last two minutes drag like nails down a blackboard.
The first Celldweller LP was actually quite good. If this was just more of the same with different tracks I’d have given it a minor thumb’s up. As it is I feel he’s become a victim of his own ambition; trying to create something that may have sounded like a good idea that on record sounds pretty terrible. If Klayton ever shows up on my boat I’ll be keelhauling him for this.
It’s a shame after such a promising first album that the 2nd one is decidedly uninspiring, drab and generally dull. I was really hoping to like Wish Upon a Blackstar, and could not be more disappointed by the lame horse that Celldweller’s allowed to trot out of the gate.