It was just over a year ago when the Swiss folk metallers Eluveitie announced the departure of three of its core members – namely Anna Murphy, Merlin Sutter and Ivo Henzi – all of whom had served in the band for over a decade. As fans tried to make sense of the split, the three explained in statements that they would continue to make music together. Staying true to their word, they have returned with their new band, Cellar Darling, and a debut album entitled This Is The Sound. We tracked down frontwoman Anna to discuss this interesting new venture, first of all inquiring about their curious choice of moniker, which was originally used for Anna’s 2014 solo album.
“‘Cellar Darling’ for me describes what we sound like,” she begins. “It’s a combination of darkness and light, which is what our music is about. ‘Cellar’ is the darkness and ‘Darling’ is the light – we work with symbolism in our music and want to paint pictures with our sound, so it’s a good fit.” She pauses then adds with a laugh: “It’s an unusual name, but then we are unusual!”
It might seem like lazy journalism, but Eluveitie is inevitably a point of comparison to at least some of the band’s material, the emotive and stirring songs led by soaring female vocals and featuring ‘traditional’ folk instruments such as violins and hurdy-gurdy, alongside tight guitars and driving percussion. At the same time, the band have attempted to distance themselves from their past and any ‘folk metal’ or ‘symphonic metal’ tags, and indeed have opted for a more open-ended approach to their songwriting, with folk, rock, metal and even pop sensibilities combining within the album.
“It’s definitely not folk metal,” opines Anna. “There are some ‘homeopathic’ folk influences, I would say, but it’s hard to put us in a genre; we had one reviewer call it ‘symphonic metal’ – not sure where he got that from – and another call it ‘progressive rock’. Personally I don’t give a rat’s ass about genres – it’s a mix of metal and rock and a lot of classical influences, plus some progressive elements here and there. We’re not pretentiously saying, ‘Oh, we’re different’, but we just wrote songs without saying, ‘We’re going to form a band that sounds like this’.
A sense of freedom seems to be a key point for the band, and the trio have enjoyed having a broader musical palette to paint from, not to mention being able to write together and create songs as a band.
“It’s the most organic process I witnessed in the bands I worked in,” Anna admits. “Eluveite wasn’t really that type of band – most of the songwriting happened in people’s homes – so it’s a very different process. I like that we can just get drunk with each other and come up with weird ideas!”
SOUNDS LIKE: A charismatic combination of rock, pop, metal and folk
FOR FANS OF: Eluveitie, Delain, The Gathering
LISTEN TO: Black Moon
This Is The Sound is out now via Nuclear Blast