Celldweller, Wish Upon a Black star, Album Review, by Ben Spencer

Album track listing:

1. The Arrival
2. Unshakeable
3. Blackstar
4. Eon
5. Louder Than Words
6. Memories of a Girl I Haven’t Met
7. I Can’t Wait
8. Gift For You
9. The Lucky One
10. The Seven Sisters
11. Birthright
12. It Makes No Difference Who We Are
13. The Best It’s Gonna Get
14. So Long Sentiment
15. Tainted
16. Against The Tide
17. The Departure

Wish Upon a Black star is the second album from multi-instrumentalist and one-man-band Klayton, the electronic genius behind Celldweller. For some this record has been a long and enduring wait, hearing ‘Birthright’ a few years ago, which was released as a prelude to the now fully complete album fans were granted this as a small offering of what was to come.

Since then, the album was released in chapters, providing two songs with each instalment. Finally the wait is over and with an album totally of 17 tracks it would appear that Klayton’s loyalist fan base are well and truly get their money’s worth.

Opening with, ‘The Arrival’, an instrumental that unravels slowly in a murky atmospheric fashion, subsides into ‘Unshakeable’. The fast drumming and electro melodies throw listeners off guard, while vocally Kalyton’s screams reflect some of the heavier moments found on his debut release. The electronic mish-mash of dub step, drum and bass showcase a new found confidence in Celldweller’s song writing skills.

Next up, ‘Blackstar’ picks up the pace with a heavily induced electronic intro and vocal distortion pushing things forward. The electronic beeps and layers provide all the positive vibes to get fans flexing their glow stick dancing skills throughout the alternative club scene.

The more guitar orientated tracks such as, ‘Louder than words’ sees a further emphasis upon metal riffs that weld into the synth beats seamlessly. Vocally Klayton hasn’t lost his edge the clarity within his concoction of rock and trance infused choruses. Meanwhile, the vocal crescendo of ‘Eon’ amidst its whirl wind of guitar pummelling riffs ambient breakdowns elevates a sense of grandeur in the wake of its chaos.

The tracks where the album better displays the perfect hybrid between dance floor fillers and mosh pit madness are ‘I can’t wait’, which fuses together hard rock and dub step aesthetics and switches between the two in a way that should satisfy fans of both genres. Even more notable in, ‘So Long Sentiment’, which further elaborates upon to the drum and bass and rock unison and is the most infectiously daring and complex of tracks found here. The intervention of violins littered throughout provides an extra layer of density to the track.

Klayton hasn’t lost his edge for producing slower and ambient pieces either and with an album as long as this, these interludes are a much welcome addition to Wish Upon A Black Star. ‘Gift for you’ has a gritty and sombre aura resonating throughout its bass overtures. Lyrically it has an introspective sense of turmoil and agony “I got a gift for you, a special place in hell”.

Such qualities can also be found in the richly painted textures of ‘Seven Sisters’ and ‘It Makes No Difference Who We Are’ in their portrayal of delicacy and desperation.

The re -mastered version of ‘Birthright’ sounds bolder than ever with a revamped production and an orchestral backdrop that remain as the album’s most positive song.

The piano utilization in ‘Against The Tide’ gives Klayton’s vocals more prominence in the verse whilst the electro beats serve as an undercurrent with violins swaying back and forth before dispersing into’ The Departure’, an instrumental track which signifies the end of the record.

So was the album worth the wait? The answer is yes but with a few reservations in mind when it comes to the after-taste. First of all, Wish upon a Black Star shows a very different side to Klayton’s work and fans of his older material may be thrown off course by the difference in sound. Where the previous album was more tangible (and even mechanical in parts) this album throws a lot of influences into the song structures which on the whole tend to work, but at times do detract from what could have been a better song without constant emphasis on over-complicating things.

Some of the lyrics are pretty sloppy and at times and kind of ruin the enjoyment actual song itself, ‘The Lucky One’ is a prime example of this and probably would have been more entertaining as an instrumental rather than having to endure the thoughtless and quite annoying wording of

“I’m feeling like a stupid smuck thank God I don’t believe in luck”.
However, this being said the record is without a doubt a progression from the previous one in terms of technicality and growth. Everything on here does feel like a more confident and mature use of instrumentation. Without a doubt a lot of hard work has gone into the song writing and recording process and it is those little tweaks and refinery moments that don’t go unnoticed.

Bottom line, an album to be admired and a refreshing listen that will fulfil the patient die-hard fans; as well as drawing in some new ones.