Celldweller

Wish Upon a Blackstar

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    5
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AllMusic Review by

As Celldweller, Detroit-via-New York producer Klayton has molded a synthesis of several extreme musical forms, smashing the more aggressive elements of dubstep, drum'n'bass, and industrial into contemporary metal and arena rock. Wish Upon a Blackstar is Celldweller's magnum opus, a work in progress since 2004 and released in various chapters beginning in 2009 before finally culminating in a proper album release in 2012. So many years in the making and with such a grandiose array of styles, every last thing about the album screams "epic," from the blitzkrieg-loud production to the nonstop arrangements. Even the quieter songs are dense with layers of electronics, metal guitar riffs, and meshes of drum tracks, electronic and not. Songs like "Eon," "Birthright," and "Louder Than Words" are driven by Klayton's anguished vocals and extreme production aesthetic. Even huge fans of aggressive metalstep/techno metal hybrids of this sort might find the relentless scope of Wish Upon a Blackstar overwhelming or even exhausting. While the heavy production sounds by turns crisp or brutalizing, even the most exciting moments can't save the album from its cheesy lyrics and played-out musical choices, which are as abundant as its moments of legitimate excitement. The epic nature of the album also means it's about half an hour too long for most attention spans, and will wear on many before it makes a lasting impression.

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