The Canadian black metal band Cell (based in Winnipeg, Manitoba) have an unusual origin story. Before there was a band there was an idea for a science fiction comic book, born from the imagination of guitarist/vocalist Hyperion. In thinking about how to bring the conceptual idea to life, he decided to use music as the vehicle instead, and from that turn in the creative path, Cell was born, and their musical narratives flow from those concepts.
With one album under their belts (2016’s The Frozen Moon of Erebath), Cell are now poised to release their second full-length, Ancient Incantations Of Xarbos. While black metal forms the backbone of the music, Cell have brought in elements of of death metal, hardcore, thrash, and doom to expand upon their cosmic endeavors.
All those elements are on display in the almost theatrically rich dynamics of the song from the new album that we’re presenting today, “God of the NetherRealm“.
Photo Credit: Amy Lee Zinn of Crpytic Sound
So much happens musically in the song that it has the feel of a dimension-spanning saga, wholly apart from the lyrics. Heavy, bruising riffs combined with a deep, throbbing bass line and punchy drum rhythms kick off the song, which then accelerates when the vocalist’s scorching goblin howls and livid screams come into play. The rhythms and pacing continue to shift, with punk-like romps in the mix, and the music ripples and shines over a bubbling bass line before reverting to a heavier drive.
The energy in the music reaches one of many electrifying plateaus when the fretwork becomes a jabbing and swirling extravaganza, both frenzied and deranged but also locking into an eminently headbangable groove. With groaning bass emanations and a somersaulting drum progression providing the bridge, the song also segues into a mystical and mesmerizing interlude of clean, chiming notes and pensive bass tones.
The ring of vibrant picking (again accompanied by a prominent bass riff) begins the path back toward more ravaging exploits, and when those get underway the music becomes a blazing wildfire, which soars in heated colors through a ravishing solo that spins higher and higher, faster and faster, becoming ever more incandescent itself. Following that electrifying crescendo, the song slows, becomes much heavier again, and dramatically more bleak, but the band choose to end the song with one final blood-pumping gallop.
The song does indeed turn out to be a narrative, one that straddles two worlds. Hyperion explains:
“This song was written for a very close friend of mine. He passed away in June 2017 and it devastated me and many friends within our music scene in Winnipeg. He was a big push for Cell and inspired us to go harder every day and every show. In this song, his soul travels to the NetherRealm (the in-between where your soul moves forward into the next dimension) and he encounters the one who sits on the throne there. He then goes forward and challenges the god of the NetherRealm to combat and wins. When one dethrones the god of this realm, they now have to take the mantle and rule.”
Ancient Incantations Of Xarbos will be released on October 4th, and it’s recommended for fans of Emperor, Death, Morbid Angel, Immortal, and Goatwhore. It features wonderful cover art by Remy Cooper of Headsplit Designs.
For further info about the album, follow Cell on Facebook. And be aware that in support of the album Cell will be embarking on a North American tour; you’ll see the current schedule just below our song stream,
Cell – Ancient Incantations Of Xarbos USA/Canada Tour
09/26/19 – Fargo @ Red Raven Espresso Parlour
09/27/19 – Minneapolis @ Mortimer’s Bar
09/28/19 – Milwaukee @ Quarters
09/29/19 – Chicago @ Live Wire Lounge
09/30/19 – Pittsburgh @ Black Forge Coffee House
10/01/19 – Cleveland @ Now That’s Class
10/02/19 – Detroit @ Kelly’s Bar
10/04/19 – Nashville @ Nash Vegas Bar and Grill
10/05/19 – Charlotte @ Skylark Social Club
10/07/19 – Raleigh @ Slim’s Downtown
10/08/19 – Baltimore @ The Sidebar
10/09/19 – Albany TBA
10/10/19 – Brooklyn @ Brooklyn Bazaar
10/11/19 – Montreal @ The Pirahna
10/12/19 – Toronto TBA
10/13/19 – Ottawa @ Avante-Garde Bar
10/14/19 – Sudbury @ The Asylum
10/19/19 – Winnipeg @ The Goodwill Social Club