Celldweller Returns from the Dungeon with Knockout Fifth Album


Celldweller can only be described as one of the more creative in a long line of genre-blending artists. Emerging with the change of the millennium and in the dying embers of leader Scott David “Klayton” Albert’s previous band Circle of Dust, the group continued to push the boundaries of what industrial metal could be. This came very refreshingly during the peak of the nu-metal era. Forming in the early 2000s and releasing their debut album in 2003, Celldweller seemingly gently nudged their way into the then-emerging online revolution of music. Torrent sites and websites like MP3.com became common places to find their music, and their ideas and aesthetic fit into what we now would refer to as “cybergoth.” This image was strengthened by Klayton visualizing himself as the poster-boy for energy drinks and very weird looking pants. With a name that is just a shortened version of the term “cellar dweller,” it easily emulates that feeling in the music. Klayton eventually shifted his writing towards space and the future, with all albums but the self-titled debut focusing on some aspect of space. This form of writing became their bread and butter, and they continue this pattern with their fifth studio album, “Satellites,” released on Oct. 14, 2022.

First teased back in 2017, the album’s five-year production cycle came with its ups and downs. Every so often a new song would be released, and then Klayton would disappear into the cellar that took credit for half of the band’s name. This continued on and off until Aug. 23, 2022, when he finally announced “Satellites” to the world. An eight track, 42 minute epic that beautifully takes the listener on a trip through space and even calls back to the previous album “Offworld,” “Satellites” stands as another in a long line of easy hits from Klayton’s creative mind. The album features knockout hits like the angry and vicious ripper-of-a-track “Soul Parasites,” and the seemingly poignant and relatable “Blind Lead the Blind,” which contains lyrics that perfectly fit either side of the political spectrum. The album comes as yet another solo effort, with Klayton doing everything, from playing the instruments to mixing the album himself.

Easily the best track on this album stands to be a tie between “My Disintegration” and the previously mentioned “Soul Parasites.” “My Disintegration” is the most complex-sounding song on the whole album and is also its longest at six minutes, 20 seconds. The lyrics center on a lover who seems to recognize just how bad their partner is for them and chooses to ignore it. 

This is juxtaposed with the vicious and seemingly venom-filled “Soul Parasites.” This track feels like the opposite side of the love coin, a lover who now sees the anger and pain their partner put them through. The opening line says: “Have I bowed to complacency? Hopelessly I face a fake deity.” The song then continues with lines like “I want to lash out, but I won’t try to deny that this could make me or break me, victims of soul parasite.”

Both songs capture the ways one can feel when dumped. Initially your feelings can be blissful ignorance of the anger they feel before that resentment bubbles over and comes out in a blind fury. This also ties into the final song on the album, the somber and acceptance-filled “The End of the World.” The whole song feels like a bittersweet ending, especially when it ends, sending the album off with the line “Let’s get away from these soul parasites, we’ll go offworld tonight.” It beautifully calls back to how the previous album, “Offworld,” began and ended.

Celldweller often has a way of making their albums feel timeless and yet like a perfect snapshot of when they came out. Whether it’s the glitchy and matrix-inspired sound and look of their first album, or the admittedly hilariously dated cover art for “Wish Upon a Blackstar” standard edition. This is also shown in the video-game inspired interludes of “End of an Empire” standard edition. This album, however, breaks that mold by calling back to all of that, every album of years past. Featuring the rap vocals of “Celldweller,” the sci-fi of “Wish Upon a Blackstar,” the futuristic feel of “End of an Empire,” and the direct callback to “Offworld,” “Satellites” feels like the right album for anyone interested in Celldweller. Whether credit is due to Klayton’s cool hair or the interesting sound, Celldweller deserves way more attention than they’re given. As an artist and as a solo-project, Celldweller and this album should easily not be ones to overlook this autumn season.