Cesium_137 – Rise To Conquer

Rating: 3/5
Distributor/label: Metropolis Records
Distributor/label URL: https://www.metropolis-records.com
Released: 2018
Buy Album [URL]: https://cesium137.bandcamp.com/album/rise-to-conquer
Band Website: https://www.facebook.com/Cesium137/

Band line-up:

Vince Guzzardo & Isaac Glendening


1 – Tempest
2 – Fields
3 – Shiver
4 – No Contact
5 – Killing Time
6 – Mask
7 – Confession
8 – The Past Remains
9 – Diver
10 – Consequence
11 – Take Care


Cesium_137 have always combined a range of dance music genres into a sound that is their own. With their latest work ‘Rise To Conquer’, you can expect a mix of pop music, EBM and trance with deep, intimate lyrics about losses and love. The release shows the band’s personal and musical development and self-examination, but let’s go more in depth.

Right from the off in ‘Tempest’, the listener gets pulled in with some very smooth, soothing and well written harmony that is classically inspired and yet somehow still ‘cool’. Then in a complete change of tone, bright and poppy keyboards and electric drums kick in, keeping the audience on their toes. The contrast is so effective, it doesn’t come across as weird and overblown as one might expect, but instead may make one wonder why the fusion of genres isn’t utilised more often. It’s like the composers have come across a secret and hidden gem. Everything was going great until the vocalist came in, however. The melodies he sings in the track are borderline boring, with very safe and predictable notes.

When it comes to the instrumental backing, it is quickly realised that there is plenty of variety in ‘RTC’, but the singer has a habit of spoiling things in later tracks, too. Pretty much whenever he enters, all of that creativity gets ignored as the listener just gets transported back to the first song and effectively relives it over and over. It may even be a better experience if the singer wasn’t there at all, and the release was an instrumental one. Later on in the album in ‘Diver’, the mostly but far from tiresome upbeat mood changes into a very welcome darkness. It’s a song that could have been released by Nine Inch Nails even, but again, the singer hurts it or at least adds very little. (Depending on taste, of course).

In conclusion, this album could have been so much better than it is. The composers have the ability to write great chord progressions and perfectly reasonable keyboard melodies, so why they didn’t seem to bother as much with what is perhaps most important is a bit strange. As this form of contemporary music is supposed to have catchy words, arguably the musicians have screwed up a bit. Even so, at least there are no bum notes, illogical chords or any kinds of musical wrongness. This is a reasonable release.

Review by Simon Wiedemann