Review Summary: One hell of a finale!
Over the past couple of years the Celldweller project has seen itself flirting with the worst of EDM tropes and cliches in what could only be called as an ill-advised endeavour through the forsaken valley of sub par electronica. This development, most prominent in his Voices in My Head
series alienated long time followers of Klayton’s work while keeping newcomers distanced with their vapid material. With this new slew of material, many long time Celldweller followers deserted Klayton, labeling him as being nothing more than a hollow shell of his former self. This makes End of an Empire
a resurrection of sorts for Celldweller. Not only did Klayton find what one could call a “perfect” blend of of his early industrial roots and his newer dubstep/metal fusion, but he did so with such ungodly energy and gusto that it put End of an Empire
among his greatest work.
End of an Empire’s
conclusion, titled Death
, concludes Klayton’s saga with aggressiveness, grit, and energy throughout it's entirety. The low, buzzing growls and dynamic orchestral arrangements of the album’s interludes allude to a dark and hectic atmosphere that boldly represents the name Death. Similarly to the chapters before it, Klayton continues the same three interlude/two track format with a quiet interlude that quietly buzzes and growls alongside the glitchy words of a woman declaring herself as “death." Drawing in eager listeners with her seductive, yet sinister voice. New Elysium
erupts from the pedestal of the ambiance, skittering about with a heart-pounding trance lead and heavy electronic metal interludes that burst with seas of growling synths, glitchy beats, and punishing guitar riffs. Klayton also utilizes his vocal strengths on this EP, pushing through the furious instrumentals with his constantly pleasing blend of smooth bass and mighty tenors and yells. On top of this, Klayton’s mix of light vocoder effects, distortion, and harmonizing allows his vocals to seamlessly float within his work whenever they’re at use.
, the backing track to New Elysium
, begins with the notes of an organ playing an almost funeral melody. As the track progresses, Klayton’s vocals swoop in with a light vocoder effect that keeps the mood continuously down through the equally depressive songwriting. Klayton announces that he is “at the end” and arriving at “death’s door” while also asking questions about how things will be on the “other side”. From here the track explodes with quick industrial verses and a handful of powerful screaming breakdowns that throw madness into the fire, capturing the feeling of the death and end of the conceptualized empire. What remains are the concluding interludes, both of which that intertwine with a dynamic mix of wonky growls and composed orchestral arrangements.
begins with the same solemn feel of Precious Ones, it’s main electronic lead pacing back and forth with an empty metallic clang through each passing beat. It’s mid-section drops the solemn in favor of a heavily pounding rock lead brimming with the constant clashing of choppy guitar riffs and slithery sci-fi synths. Faction 12
concludes the album on a similarly cinematic note. The orchestral arrangement features dramatically sweeping violins and frantic drumming that become quicker and more overly dramatic with each passing progression before breaking into silence with the final pound of a drum. Both of these interludes pick up the energy of New Elysium
and Precious Ones
and carefully balance it out into what is a fulfilling conclusion.
With the final chapter of End of an Empire
, Klayton not only delivers a powerful and fulfilling conclusion, but he introduces the strongest work in his entire discography. With instrumental interludes that give an explosive cinematic world and two tracks that both deliver with memorable songwriting, Death presents itself as a centerpiece for Celldweller’s work and a magnificent peek into the possibilities of what happens next. The future looks bright once again for Klayton, let’s hope his blackstar never burns out.