January brought not just a new year, but new music as well. We aeady spotlit ILLUMISHADE’s “The Endless Vow,” so now it’s time to focus on another January single – “Dance” from Swiss progressive/folk metal band CELLAR DARLING. This single was supposed to be a part of their 2019 concept album “The Spell,” but was rewritten last year. The end result is something just as compelling and delightful as always.
Before talking about the music, I think it is important to know the story behind it. As was stated on the band’s social media pages, “inspiration came from two sources: the dancing plague of 1518, which is a fascinating story in itself, and an engagement with our contemporary world: doesn’t it sometimes feel like we’re in the process of dancing ourselves to death?” In between these two separate ideas, the concept seems quite dark yet relevant.
With a structure that is vaguely reminiscent of HIM’s “Sleepwalking Past Hope,” this single has a piano-driven melodic middle part that makes it feel very airy and light. However, it is anchored by some heavier parts that are more guitar-oriented. There’s a neat ebb and flow to the music that leaves room for not only the vocal melodies to develop beautifully, but also for the instrumental parts to breathe. Unlike many other progressive bands, CELLAR DARLING’s music doesn’t feel cluttered even if there’s a lot going on. That is because of the excellent pacing of the song.
Starting with the earthly tones of hurdy-gurdy and some vocalization, the guitar soon takes over, making the song feel more robust. Anna Murphy’s ethereal vocals seem to dance on top of the instruments, contrasting with them. The chorus is a bit more well-rounded and grounded in heavy sounds, with intriguing vocal layering. The song dips down with a jazzy flute melody that gives way to the aforementioned piano section. It picks up heaviness and momentum again with a reprise of the chorus, but without the vocal layering. This time around it relies mostly on the drums, guitars, and hurdy-gurdy. It ends with the same eerie vocalization with which it started, thus coming full circle.
A fascinating addition to CELLAR DARLING’s catalog, “Dance” showcases their songwriting prowess and unbridled creativity. This is progressive folk metal that everyone can appreciate and enjoy. It’s easy on the ears, with beautiful melodies and nuanced harmonies that work together to create atmosphere and texture. Check out the accompanying video and step into a twisted world that perfectly captures the essence of the song.
Written by Andrea Crow