Released: 2008, Vitruvian Records
Florida’s Cellpan are proudly bearing the Sunshine State’s torch of extreme metal in a modernized package for the millennium. The band released an EP titled CONCEPTION in 2005, and 3RD IMPRESSION is the band’s first major full length album. Cellpan fit perfectly into the Black Metal/Industrial category, with perhaps some gothic and hardcore overtones and the ability to occasionally insert brief melodic passages into some of the songs. The album cover and band shoot look like they were lifted directly from some modern splatter movie with the guys all covered in blood and dressed as psychotic murderers. The inside photo of a house in the liner notes looks like something from the movie Saw or any of a number of recent horror flicks. If it still is not clear what type of direction this is going, then you have vocalist Jose “Poltergeist” Rodriquez III’s name to give you the final clue. It is all a bit contrived and over the top, and frankly does not leave a good first impression. But hey, if you prefer your black metal with demons and Satan as opposed to slashing serial killers, the lyrics move into demonic territory too. The tracks are short, brutal exercises in pain each clocking in at less than three minutes and the fairly standard guttural growl of black metal vocals is the order of the day. “Poltergeist” does vary things with a few melodic vocal changes however.
“Stench of Disorder” is the breakneck opener, but swiftly moves into a slower breakdown before moving back into whiplash territory. The next track, “Duct-Taped Mouth” is a real laugher, and a perfect example of how over the top the band has gone in trying to be evil and frightening. “Poltergeist” tells us “No one will hear your screams”, as someone either sobs or laughs in the background. This is followed by the lyric “This murder’s condescending; your life’s abruptly ending.” Timeless writing, wouldn’t you agree?
The band does hit a surprising near-ballad with “The Monophobic,” a welcome relief from the bludgeoning preceding it. This song has some melodic passages as Poltergeist whines “I’ll never be anything but a disappointment” which is the theme of the song. The band is fond of throwing in lots of sound effects, spooky bells and chimes, and chromatic riffs. It’s all a bit overdone and designed, no doubt, to sound original and unique. The production is muddy, with the vocals too far up in the mix and the guitars mixed low and buzzing, which might be why they add so little to the songs. On the bright side this makes Poltergeist’s vocals somewhat discernible. The drums are pretty thin as well, but the bass stands out and helps propel some of the songs forward.
Fans of extreme metal may find much to like about 3RD IMPRESSION. While the black metal element is strong, there are elements of hardcore as well, from the vocals right down to the production. There is an undeniable cheese factor in the shock/horror lyrics and the packaging of the album. Overall this album has a tiring, claustrophobic feel that leaves me cold and unmoved. Considering the high levels of competition in metal today, it is difficult to imagine Cellpan stealing fans from any of the established and more talented bands out there. This one is recommended only for die-hard extreme metal fans looking for something a little different than the standard fare.