Its ok, we know what you are thinking. Who the hell are Dead Cell? It’s a perfectly valid question, one we would have asked ourselves too if we had stumbled across the forthcoming album ‘Ghost Fields’ which is due for release on the 30th of March.
Upon first listen, It’s hard to describe Dead Cell, the Norwegian one man project by none other than bassist Bård Linga of Bokassa fame. Speaking on the project, Bård tells us "The project pretty much came about from my love for sound design and gloomy soundtrack music, and tinkering with these kinds of sounds has just been this thing I’ve done for years to relax and reset myself when I’ve had the time for it. Now with having some downtime I figured it was a good time to throw some of it out there." Lets be clear though, for those looking for something similar to our favourite boozey stoner punk trio, you wont find it here. Dead Cell is a whirlwind of darkness, sweeping soundscapes and more.
Experimental in every way, upon first listen, Dead Cell quite frankly sounds urgently evil and it only feels appropriate given the times we are living in, that this feels like the soundtrack to the apocalypse.
Speaking of feelings, Ghost Fields has a number of tracks that evoke many of them right from the moment the play button has been pressed. ‘Body Collector’ opens and immediately fills our speakers with the dark ominous sounds of hell as the deep backbone of the track is brooding. Its short and sweet but opens up for ‘Ant March’, something that feels like it’s come from one of those creepy 90’s horror video games that felt impossible to complete at the time.
There’s a sense of urgency and importance that comes from the title track with its melodic piano and shuffling drums. Urgency is a theme that is persistent throughout the playthrough. The aptly named ‘Digital Plague’ and its race to the finish crescendos wonderfully and is fitting for today’s plague filled times. Play the track over footage of people ransacking shops for toilet roll and you’d be onto a winner.
Bård describes his project as ‘dystopian electronic doom’ and as we make our way through the closing moments of our first playthrough, we couldn’t have described it better if we tried. ‘Run’ has a steady underlying heartbeat that makes for a tense experience mixed with its doomy noise. Once that heartbeat stops, we make our way into ‘The End’ which feels like anything but the happy ending one hoped for. Imagine in your head for one second, the piece of music playing where the bad guy wins, all your friends and family are dead, and you are the only one left alive to starve and inevitably die.
Ghost Fields is not for the feint hearted. It’s for those who like subtle intricacies to their music. Those who like their music to invoke feelings, good or bad and for those who enjoy when music can paint vivid pictures inside the listeners head.
This is not metal, punk or rock. You will not be headbanging. Instead You’ll be forced to stop whatever it is you are doing and listen. For this is art.
Photo: Jay Russell