"Off the Grid"

By Colonel Angus

This is the foUrth release for Cellador and their second (I’m counting the "Honor Forth" E.P.) with basically the same line-up.  Founding member Chris Petersen handles vocal duties again on "Off the Grid" and if you liked his vocal performance on the E.P., you will like this record.  My issue with "Off the Grid" is not the individual performances of the musicians, each player really knows their way around their instrument, but with the actual songs.  I’ve listened to this disk over a dozen times and there is not a lot of variation to this album.  Each track moves along at lightning speed as if each member is trying to finish the tune before the others.  I like power metal, speed metal, and thrash metal but I do like some variation in the songs.  Another complaint I have is that many of the tracks start off very promising with Judas Preist/Iron Maiden style riffing but before the song proper kicks in, they abandon the cool groove and proceed to speed up to where at times, it is almost a blur.  Take “Swallow Your Pride” for instance.  It starts off with a great riff that takes the listener back to the glory days of Judas Priest and then proceeds to become this fast race to the finish.  Even slower songs like the title cut seem to speed up.  Again, “Good Enough” starts off with this cool riff but when it comes to the chorus, it is totally ruined by speeding up the drumming.  There are some great ideas here especially at the beginning of each track.  The thrashy riffs and groove on “Wake Up the Tyrant” are great and I wish they had continued the songs in that fashion but instead, they switch gears and it becomes a power metal track on speed.

I stand by remarks that these guys are really good musicians.  Petersen not only knows his way around a fretboard, he also does a good job with the vocals.  In fact, I would have to say that his vocal performance is probably my favorite part of "Off the Grid".  Nick Mccallister is a drumming machine; his playing is flawless and I can’t imagine playing a whole show at that frantic pace.  James Pickett (bass) and Diego Valadez (Synths) round off the band and add to the whole sound.  At the end of the day, I heard a few good ideas but nothing to make me listen again.  If you’re a DragonForce fan, I’m sure you will dig these guys but I found it a bit one dimensional.