4.5 out of 5 Stars!
When I recently learned that Cell15 recruited several new members in preparation for its upcoming sophomore release, I surrendered to the temptation to listen to this band’s debut release yet again—for what must be the 100th time, it seems. But despite my numerous replays of Chapter One (which might have led to boredom long ago were this an album of shallower depth released by a band of lesser talent), I always manage to discover new bits and pieces of instrumentation I had previously missed, while sections of tracks or lyrics suddenly move me in unexpected ways. Therefore, no matter how many times I hear it, the music on this album still has the power to place a wide smile on my face, and with each fresh replay, heretofore undisclosed treasures are frequently revealed, which stirs up all the euphoria I typically experience when listening to only the most professional, stirring, and creative Progressive Rock for the first time.
Needless to say, since Chapter One contains such an engaging collection of songs (especially the catchy “Shadow Over Me,” which I contend sounds like a Bob Welch-era Fleetwood Mac ditty that got tossed into a musical blender with a Prog-Rock band such as Unitopia or Flower Kings), this is one album that quickly found a permanent place on my Smartphone. To me, Cell15 is similar to groups such as Barock Project, Magic Pie, Druckfarben, Seven Steps to the Green Door, and a host of other newer bands not only when it comes to the modern feel of the instrumentation and the energetic song arrangements, but also because one never quite knows what will pop up next in any given track, and this high unpredictability factor adds to the group’s level of excitement.
And now with bassist Dan MacDonald (Elephants of Scotland) and guitarist Shane Jones joining keyboardist/vocalist Robert Richardson (Hybrid Ice) and drummer Kevin Thomas, I can’t even imagine what magic Cell15 will create next. This is one exciting and skillful band, definitely worthy of attention in the Prog-Rock community, and this debut album is one amazing treasure chest of hidden gems.