Cellar Darling – The Spell (Nuclear Blast)

Eluveitie offshoot Cellar Darling shook up the world of folk-tinged progressive rock with their critically acclaimed and multi-faceted 2017 debut This Is The Sound. The Spell is the sound of a band unafraid to broaden its creative horizons even further and, at times, add a harder edge to its existing canon.

The doom-laden Death is a compelling example: a dreamy flute overlays chugging riffs to create the kind of immersive and intriguing soundscape only this ambitious Swiss three-piece can achieve. It’s a striking example of what Cellar Darling can conceive given space to explore their collective vision.

Anna Murphy – gloriously credited with adding the hurdy-gurdy to her band’s unique sound – is the epitome of this trio’s evolution. Able to switch seamlessly from uplifting positivity to reflective angst, her haunting range is just one of the reasons to dive headlong into The Spell. Love uses a fabulous, folky melody to bring the best out of Murphy and the complementary, progressive guitar riff makes for another ethereal twist in the Cellar Darling tale.

This Is The Sound was a truly groundbreaking album and its follow-up is no less significant. Murphy goes to town on the intro. to the outstanding title track before the band’s trademark fusion of percussive folk and prog metal elevates another magical composition to new heights. And Sleep is simply beautiful with echoes of Kate Bush in her pomp.

Expansive and exciting, Cellar Darling’s second album delivers on the band’s much debated potential – and then some. Benefiting from a measured mix and Murphy’s mesmerising range, The Spell is something quite magic.