Celldweller
Blackstar - Act One: Purified


1.5
very poor

Review

by Macatlas USER (1 Reviews)
January 11th, 2014 | 16 replies


Release Date: 12/03/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: This EP falls immensely short of its full potential and wallows in its own shortcomings.

Once upon a time, I loved Celldweller. While Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor struggled to recreate the critical success that initially stemmed from NIN's crown jewel, 'The Fragile', Celldweller took the helm of industrial rock and steered the genre into fresh territory. In 2003, Celldweller's Scott Albert (known as 'Klayton' among diehard Celldweller fans) single-handedly created one of the most unique and technically impressive albums in industrial rock. The self-titled album has aged particularly well, and it stands as a monument to a golden genre that has since been devoured by innumerable dubstep artists and post-era wannabes.

But the times have changed and, unfortunately, so has Celldweller.

I greatly enjoyed 'Wish Upon a Blackstar' due to the album's impressive amount of polish and refinement, but I couldn't help but wonder if Celldweller was headed down a dark, dreary path when the album was released in 2008. Sure, Scott Al... er, Klayton, demonstrated his command of electronic music in such a way that puts even Skrillex to shame. And sure, each song on 'Wish Upon a Blackstar" was masterfully crafted and proved rewarding with each and every listening experience. Regardless, I couldn't shake the feeling that Celldweller was being sucked into a massive wormhole leading to a synthetic wonderland with an overabundance of dropped basses and cliched electronica. Celldweller has released a handful of lackluster songs since 2008, but even the redundant and generally uninteresting singles such as 'Tough Guy' or 'Meteorite' are a cut above what Klayton has done with his new EP, 'Blackstar Act One: Purified'.

The EP boots up with 'Retros', an electronic ditty that sounds like it was ripped straight from the 'Mass Effect' soundtrack. A cheesy voice utters the word 'Retros' all throughout the song, and the synthesizers are painfully repetitive and unoriginal. Now, before I continue, yes, I understand that this EP was written as a soundtrack of sorts for a novel based on Celldweller fiction. However, there is nothing preventing Celldweller from creating a soundtrack that is relevant to both the novel and the casual listener. Coheed and Cambria does an excellent job with their soundtrack/album hybrids, so I refuse to excuse the shortcomings of 'Blackstar Act One: Purified' simply because I'm not listening to it within the correct context.

Moving on, 'Purified' is just as predictable and uninteresting as 'Retros'. The song falls into the trappings of mainstream dubstep and offers little in regards to originality or quality. This song is essentially a rehash of the dubstep/electronica segments from 'Wish Upon a Blackstar', but the intricate songwriting and polish is missing. Next up is 'A Dystopian Utopia', which is purely atmospheric and doesn't have any real instrumentation to speak of. The track has a dense, dark vibe and is pleasant to the ears, but there isn't enough substance here to warrant more than a single listen.

'The Possibilities of Purpose' reverts back to the overused futuristic synthesizers found in 'Retros', and Klayton opted to include power-drums reminisce of the percussion used by varying pop bands from the 80's. The result is clash of sounds that is genuinely unpleasant to listen to, and the track has a seven-minute runtime to boot. Similar to the earlier track 'A Dystopian Utopia', 'On the Surface of Scardonia' is purely an atmospheric song that primarily consists of background noise and nothing else. There is absolutely no reason to listen to this fourteen-minute track, and I'm still baffled as to why it was even included on the EP.

'Blackstar Act One: Purified' is a huge step back for Celldweller. Even as a soundtrack for a novel, this EP falls immensely short of its full potential and wallows in its own shortcomings. Does Klayton need to go 'back to basics' in regards to the style of his music? I don't know. Regardless, Klayton needs to drastically alter his approach to Celldweller if he plans for his music to be relevant for the remainder of the decade.


Recommended tracks:
none


user ratings (12)
Chart.
2.7
average

Comments:Add a Comment 
Brostep
Staff Reviewer
January 11th 2014


3471 Comments


this guy sucks so much

DirEnRefused
January 11th 2014


2198 Comments


No idea who this guy is, but no-one with hair like that makes good music.

EvoHavok
January 11th 2014


1450 Comments


The self-titled is awesome.

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Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
January 11th 2014


8371 Comments


The self titled is and forever will be an awesome album. I haven't checked out the Blackstar full-length but some of the EP stuff he did in between that album and the debut was pretty bad so I'm not surprised to hear this is below par.

I should give Wish Upon a Blackstar a go though.

bloc
January 11th 2014


34951 Comments


This guy hasn't been good since his self titled tbh.

Blue Stahli's new EP on the other hand is pretty sweet.

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
January 11th 2014


8371 Comments


I just noticed today that he had released something new. I'm on it!

bloc
January 11th 2014


34951 Comments


It's just two songs plus their instrumentals, but both tracks are great.

SadAndHolyGlow
January 11th 2014


1526 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

Nice review. I didn't even know this was released.

A QUICK CORRECTION: "The EP boots up with 'Retros', an electronic diddly that sounds like it was ripped straight from the 'Mass Effect' soundtrack."

*ditty

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Shuyin
January 11th 2014


11845 Comments


once upon a time, i also loved celldweller

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Macatlas
January 11th 2014


2 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Thanks for catching that, SadAndHolyGlow. I'll correct it when I get home from work. Thanks for the ups, folks!

I'll listen to Blue Stahli's new EP while I'm driving home. I wasn't a fan of 'Never Dance Again', though. It was way too peppy for my liking.

SadAndHolyGlow
January 11th 2014


1526 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

No problem, dude. And yeah, I need to check Blue Stahli out, too.

pacedown
January 12th 2014


174 Comments


"No idea who this guy is, but no-one with hair like that makes good music."

i dont believe someone with an opinion such as this, listens to good music.
protoman

Macatlas
January 12th 2014


2 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

"No idea who this guy is, but no-one with hair like that makes good music."

http://24.media.tumblr.com/07ef674001f96e174a0e9cdb3e7c29e6/tumblr_mg44hanjAp1rljwxso1_400.jpg

titanslayer
January 13th 2014


1934 Comments


Well this sounds like a let down

zakalwe
January 13th 2014


8581 Comments


Shocking bad taste but fuck it.

Cellerdweller - the life and times of Josef Fritzl.

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Rawben
January 21st 2014


178 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Could be worse. Novel soundtrack or not, all the songs should have ended at least 3 minutes earlier. Klayton needs to keep our attention, yo!

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