Review by Adam M on September 17, 2019.
Cellar Darling has the female-fronted metal thing down pat. This is a very beautiful, yet dark album that oozes atmosphere. It sounds like a combination of Anneke Van Giersbergen era The Gathering with Madder Mortem and this is a high complement to be comparing them to those bands. The songs definitely have some bite but are very pretty sounding at the same time. It all leads to some of the finest female-fronted metal I’ve heard in some time.
There are many moments on the album that could be considered esoteric, but there are also those that could be considered ordinary and this is why this isn’t the perfect album. It simply isn’t as consistent as something like How to Measure a Planet? even though it really tries to be. The album gets off to a nice start and there is a definite highlight to be found with the title track, but it never really loses steam throughout. It’s just that some moments are more impact full than others and these are often when vocalist Anna Murphy takes center stage. She simply has one of the best voices I’ve heard from a female-led band in quite some time and is allowed to show off many times on this album.
The music is very moody and contains a good deal of instrumentation to back this up as well. All in all, I found this to be a great album that was a little lacking compared to The Gathering’s best material. It’s still a home run for a band led by a venerable female vocalist. It has the right amount of impact at the proper times and brings forth a nice beauty to the metal genre. It isn’t perfect, but this is probably the best female-fronted metal album I’ve heard from this year so far. The Spell definitely gets a solid recommendation.
Rating: 7.7 out of 10