Cellar Darling + Diamond Black
@ Boston Music Room, London
April 5, 2018
Review by Torbjørn ‘Toby’ Jørstad
Photography by Graham Hilling
Boston Music Room, unlike its larger counterpart The Dome, is a cozy, (and fittingly) cellar-like venue with a small, intimate stage. In other words, the perfect venue for the return of Swiss folk rock trio CELLAR DARLING, who finished off their first ever headline tour in London last Thursday with support from local dark rock band DIAMOND BLACK.
Metal-Rules had the chance to sit down with all three members of Cellar Darling prior to the show, and the interview can be read here: www.metal-rules.com/2018/04/08/cellar-darling-interview-with-anna-murphy-merlin-sutter-and-ivo-henzi/
London-based Diamond Black are a rising star in the local underground. Founded by The Sisters of Mercy-guitarist Ben Christo and Finnish vocalist J.I. Turunen, the four-piece has so far released a couple of singles, and supported Cellar Darling on their shows in England and Scotland.
Their brand of dark rock, with gothic, symphonic and glam-esque touches packed together with a modern sound seems a fitting contrast to the folky, progressive rock to come later in the evening.
“Inspired by the heaviness of Katatonia, the passion of Depeche Mode, the haunting soundscapes of Type O Negative and the anthemic melody of The Cult” is how the band describes their music themselves, and after seeing them in action I can confirm this being a pretty accurate description.
Their latest single “Ghost In The Glass” is their first track of the night, and the band unleashes their melodic fury. There is no time to lose, as they continue with “If You Kill My Demons”, with its catchy, anthem-like chorus and bombastically symphonic backing track.
Guitarist Christo and bassist Adam Lightspeed complement each other nicely, and vocalist Turunen’s vocal abilities are worthy of praise as well. Drummer Jan-Vincent Velazco ties the whole package neatly together. A cover of Nine Inch Nails’ “We’re In This Together” is received well by the crowd, and makes it clear where the band’s musical roots lie.
The band thanks Cellar Darling for bringing them along for the tour, and invites the audience to join them at the merch stand after the show. Their first single “Sorrow” ends their 25-minute long set, and I would be surprised if Diamond Black didn’t gain a few fans that night.
1. Ghost In The Glass
2. If You Kill My Demons
3. The Scarlet
4. We’re In This Together (Nine Inch Nails cover)
Discreetly taking the stage at 9 is the night’s main attraction. The crowd breaks into cheers as the band enter, frontwoman Anna Murphy last. Cellar Darling last visited London in November last year, then playing the considerably larger Koko, in support of Delain (Read a review of that show HERE). Now, back as a headliner for the very first time, they have everything to prove.
“Black Moon” commences their set, in which the entirety of their first (and so far, only) record This Is The Sound is performed. Despite only being released in August last year, the album, and several of the songs, seem to have hit right home for many if one is to judge by the crowd’s reactions.
Their innovative blend of folk rock with progressive undertones and heavier elements is refreshing to behold, and passion shines through their performance in front of a near packed Boston Music Room.
The band’s intimate connection with the crowd elevates the live experience, and loud cheers and light-hearted banter is exchanged in between songs, including some humorous remarks about the struggles of constantly tuning a hurdy gurdy.
“Avalanche” has already established itself as a fan favourite, and the crowd gladly sings along to its simple, one-word chorus. “Six Days”, its darker and more ominous counterpart provokes a similar reaction.
“This is unbelievable,” Murphy exclaims, near speechless, praising the crowd for their singalong abilities and thanking them for their support.
Session musician Nicolas Winter smilingly performs his bass duties confined to his own corner of the stage. In front, Murphy and guitarist Ivo Henzi offer a harmonious chemistry of sounds, through flowing hurdy gurdy melodies and soothing vocal lines, and crunchy guitar riffs. All is backed up by Merlin Sutter’s meticulous and energic performance behind the drum set.
Murphy confirms a new Cellar Darling album is on its way, before the sad, soft “Under The Oak Tree…” honours the different ways death is ‘celebrated’ around the world.
Their set is paced nicely, and the sound engineer of the night deserves praise for the balanced mix, with all musical elements on stage perfectly audible on top of each other.
What we see in the trio on stage, is a band fully devoted to the musical path they have embarked on. A band finding its footing and establishing themselves with their own sound and feel. If there ever was a shadow of doubt, it is surely all gone by now – these aren’t just ex-Eluveitie members. Cellar Darling is unique in itself, as reflected in the lyrics “this is who we are” in “Avalance”.
“Hedonia”, performed in the band’s native language, ends their regular set, and the band leaves the stage shortly before returning for encores. Their cover of Queen’s “The Prophet’s Song” is an interesting take on a timeless song, and their professional musicianship brings new life to the 1975 A Night At The Opera classic. Few would dare to take on a Freddie Mercury vocal harmony, but Murphy does this bravely and flawlessly in arguably the most impressive musical feat of the night.
Fittingly enough, the band’s first ever song released becomes their last of the night, as “Challenge” ends the night, the band promising to be back as soon as possible.
1. Black Moon
3. The Hermit
5. Six Days
7. Under The Oak Tree…
8. …High Above These Crowns
11. Fire, Wind & Earth
14. The Prophet’s Song (Queen cover)