If ever a band did flame out and collapse, it was Omaha, Nebraska's Cellador. Following a strong demo and subsequent release, Enter Deception, on Metal Blade, the band was split asunder by the departure of lead shredder Bill Hudson, followed by vocalist Michael Gremio. The rest of the band languished while founding member Chris Peterson searched for replacements. And after a while, not much was heard from them other than a couple of songs posted here and there.
The story resumes in Denver, Colorado, where Petersen, sole survivor from the Deception days, has put together most of the new incarnation. Last fall, Cellador quietly released the Honor Forth EP. Featuring Petersen on lead vocals, this five-song EP of blisteringly fast, soaring power metal comes roaring back with a "fuck you, we're not dead" attitude. The songs here show an incredible maturity in songwriting, pushing the boundaries of what has become a pretty stale genre of metal these days.
Enter Deception was a great album that showed what a US power metal band was capable of. It stripped away the silly wankery of Dragonforce and played the music with intensity and anger underlying the virtuosity, but- that album couldn't be released today without sounding like a relic of times past. Honor Forth, on the other hand, is refreshingly contemporary, bringing an incredible update to the tried and true formula of power metal.
The EP is fast as fuck, has virtuosity and attitude, and Petersen's vocal delivery is on par with, if not superior to Gremio's. His lower register is much more comfortable, and his highs are well placed for maximum effect. This EP is available for free download on their reverbnation.com site. There is no reason why anyone who likes power metal, especially thrashier power metal, shouldn't own this.
I don't know what the future holds for Cellador. Their site says they're still looking for a keyboard player and possibly a singer. Here's hoping they forge on and bring themselves back from the edge of oblivion. We need more good homegrown music these days.