A few years ago, and not long after I got into metal, someone steered me clear of Cellador's Enter Deception, claiming it to be one of the worst examples of power metal that they'd heard. Being the naive young metalhead that I was, I took them up on their advice and haven't listened to this album until recently. Now that I have experienced it, I wish for the life of me that I could remember who it was that influenced me to stay away from it, as I'd like to give them a sharp slap upside the head.
The trick with this album is to get hooked on the fire-spitting guitar riffs, the galloping drum lines, and the furious melodies. If you accomplish this, the rest will just fall into place. Start perhaps with the terrific "Never Again", where the vocals are spot-on most of the time and the guitar leads won't quit. I'd wager that it's darn near impossible for any fan of blindingly fast, incessantly melodic power metal to dislike this track. From there, move to some of the band's other work (don't bother trying to find something slow, it doesn't exist here, and I can appreciate a band for that), focusing again upon the instrumentation first and foremost.
Especially if Dragonforce is popular, I see no reason why this album shouldn't be better known and better appreciated. Sure, Chris Petersen isn't on par with ZP Theart, but he's not an awful vocalist either. Some of the screams are a bit strained, some of the notes are held a bit long, and sometimes the vocals don't quite fit the background instrumentation the greatest, but I've heard significantly worse in my relatively short time on this earth. In fact, with a better-refined vocal section (I even think that with some tweaking, Petersen would be capable of carrying this out), Cellador could become a slightly more experimental, slightly downtempo, and considerably more enjoyable version of the mighty commercial machine that is Dragonforce. I sure as heck like Enter Deception better than half of their work as is.
We've acknowledged that you have to be a speed freak to dig this album, and it'll never quite be top-shelf material, but the (again, Dragonforce-esque) melodies are like a strong adhesive. Like myself, you may find yourself wanting to return to it ever more often after you've spun it a few times and adjusted. Similar to a number of good albums, this one is generally a grower and needs some time to sink in. This is the kind of album that's good for long drives on flat, boring highways, something we midwestern Americans have in spades.
So, as someone who admittedly jumped on the metal bandwagon with Dragonforce (gah, there's that bloody name again!), it's nice to at last know that there's something similar out there for those of us who enjoy the speed and melody, but can't handle ZP Theart all the time (or just want to try something different). Absolutely recommended for any power fan to try. This is a niche album, but a pretty sweet one. Once again, I'm rather peeved that I put off trying it out for so long. Those of you with similar appreciation for this sort of metal, please don't make the same mistake that I did. I've heard that there's at last a new Cellador album in the works, and you can bet I'll have my firt raised for it when it arrives.
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The Protagonist's Rating: 8.25