Cell15
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Cell15

Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Rock Progressive

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"Cell15 Chapter One"

4 stars Robert Scott Richardson is one of those people who, in the studio, can do it all. Guitars, keyboards, bass, drums, vocals, the works! And the result of Robert's studio venture is Cell15 "Chapter One", a concept album based on life experiences.

Now I'll say as I have been saying recently, there are so many talented musicians out there and so many albums of excellent quality. How is one to make his music project or band stand apart. Just being adept at playing symphonic prog or neo-prog isn't going to set you apart from the pack. And the first few minutes of this album aren't going to make you sit up and feel an epiphany or anything, even though the music sounds great. But listen on. Because Robert has his angle.

At about 6:40 into"Chapter One", Robert gives us the first hint. He totally bellows out the vocals with a rough, hard rock edge. Well, that was all interesting and if you were just enjoying the music as background so far you might want to pay attention. The classic hard rock sound returns at 8:00 to wrap up the song, and then "Man with a Gun" begins setting an almost Wall-like atmosphere with tension and suspense. A chorus of soft vocals sing while someone shouts "I don't wanna go. You can't make me go!" What's this all about? We step into a neo-prog format but with some hint of something older. An early eighties influence is starting to creep into the music. Enjoy a proggy interlude with bass, piano, organ, and drums, then a guitar solo, and by 6:30 we get, what? Is this late seventies / early eighties Blue Oyster Cult? Something like it for sure. Okay, so this I haven't heard since "Fire of Unknown Origin", I think.

And now for something rather unexpected. A rhythm of drums and bass that sound like "Another Brick in the Wall Part 2" and keyboards that might have come of a Pendragon album. Bring in the vocals and we are back to 1980 Blue Oyster Cult. Amazingly, the steady rhythm is maintained throughout the whole song. But wow, how interesting. And this is where I am reminded once again that in the last decade or so it seems that bands are no longer content to try to reply the classic prog days of the seventies; they want to bring in some of that eighties sound, at least where it sounded good. This is working for me.

"Manny's Gone Home" is one of those blues-based ballads that again you probably would hear on an album from the mid to late seventies. The song turns heavy after the halfway mark and winds up with a big classic rock finish.

"Long Way Down" sounds like the late seventies sound is going to continue but then breaks into a modern prog keyboard solo and shifts into classic rock gear again. Robert sure knows how to switch gears from modern neo- prog to classic rock to classic prog. His voice has this rough edge to it at times too which really suits the hard rock side of his repertoire of styles. Get into that fusion of classic rock and neo-prog!

That positive and dramatic beginning to "Faith without Words" sounds like a big Pendragon style opening but abruptly drops a crushing heavy guitar riff with sandpaper vocals. Again I am hearing this Blue Oyster Cult sound in between the heavier riffs. As with all the songs though, we have to veer away from the main theme and find a slower section with an dash of Pink Floyd guitar.

At last we have "The Messenger" with some pretty funky bass. I'll tell you that it was bass player Dan McDonald, who recently left Elephants of Scotland and who has joined up with Richardson to be a part of the Cell15 band, who turned me on to this album. When I heard this track I sent him a message saying, "You must be having fun with the bass on this song!" There's a cool bass break at 3:40 that I can just see him enjoying. The song slows down later before building to its climax in a big neo-prog fashion.

The album might have been somewhere between three and four stars for me, but the mix of hard rock and Blue Oyster Cult sounds into a neo-prog / modern prog rock album has turned my ears. What makes this album stand apart from dozens of others? Robert Scott Richardson has concocted his own blend of music and I think I like it! Now be on standby as the second album is in the writing stages here at the end of 2016. - Fragile Kings Prog Reviewer


"Cell15 Chapter One"

4.5 out of 5 Stars!

When I recently learned that Cell15 recruited several new members in preparation for its upcoming sophomore release, I surrendered to the temptation to listen to this band’s debut release yet again—for what must be the 100th time, it seems. But despite my numerous replays of Chapter One (which might have led to boredom long ago were this an album of shallower depth released by a band of lesser talent), I always manage to discover new bits and pieces of instrumentation I had previously missed, while sections of tracks or lyrics suddenly move me in unexpected ways. Therefore, no matter how many times I hear it, the music on this album still has the power to place a wide smile on my face, and with each fresh replay, heretofore undisclosed treasures are frequently revealed, which stirs up all the euphoria I typically experience when listening to only the most professional, stirring, and creative Progressive Rock for the first time.

Needless to say, since Chapter One contains such an engaging collection of songs (especially the catchy “Shadow Over Me,” which I contend sounds like a Bob Welch-era Fleetwood Mac ditty that got tossed into a musical blender with a Prog-Rock band such as Unitopia or Flower Kings), this is one album that quickly found a permanent place on my Smartphone. To me, Cell15 is similar to groups such as Barock Project, Magic Pie, Druckfarben, Seven Steps to the Green Door, and a host of other newer bands not only when it comes to the modern feel of the instrumentation and the energetic song arrangements, but also because one never quite knows what will pop up next in any given track, and this high unpredictability factor adds to the group’s level of excitement.

And now with bassist Dan MacDonald (Elephants of Scotland) and guitarist Shane Jones joining keyboardist/vocalist Robert Richardson (Hybrid Ice) and drummer Kevin Thomas, I can’t even imagine what magic Cell15 will create next. This is one exciting and skillful band, definitely worthy of attention in the Prog-Rock community, and this debut album is one amazing treasure chest of hidden gems. - Zap Niles


"Cell15 Chapter One"

CELL15 – CHAPTER ONE
Review by Rob Rutz

From the first recoil of the complex kit's snare drum, followed by locomotive-strength symphonic keys, listeners are propelled like shot in a sling into Cell15's powerful breakthrough debut album, "Chapter One." This is a driving progressive rock concept album that's befitting of the most-capable, well-powered sound system. Cell15's Chapter One album goes beyond masterful poly-rhythmic drums, full-bodied keyboards and driving bass, though. It's one hell of a story that portrays a dark life, capture and prison time, followed by twists of realization, understanding and an epic light show conclusion that begs for cathedral acoustics. Listeners are strapped into this soulfully sung script that was penned over a 20-year timeframe. Arranged and performed by veteran music artist Robert Richardson, Cell15 will remind listeners of Transatlantic, Genesis and IQ, but its classic rock influences and meaningful vocals would also entice any Kansas or Queen fan. - Rob Rutz


Discography

Hybrid Ice - Hybrid Ice
Hybrid Ice - No Rules
Hybrid Ice - Mind's Eye

Single Releases:
Magdelene
Scars On My Heart
Fight Another Day
Shining Star
Sadder Day Morn
all received radio airplay

www.hybridice.net

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Bio

Cell15 is the brainchild of Robert Scott Richardson. In 2011, Robert had decided he wanted to write the progressive rock style that he loved. Raised on the great prog of the past, his love for “King Crimson”, “Gentle Giant”, “Yes”, “Genesis” and “Pink Floyd” influenced this musical decision. Twenty years of recovery had given him the subject matter, the advantage of owning his own recording studio gave him the place to work, and Cell15 was born.

The idea of a concept album to tell the story of what happened twenty years ago to present served as the guide for where the music would go. “This is the first time I had the lyrics in mind before the music was written. I had to keep the focus on the story being told”, Robert said. The CD titled “Chapter One” had been released September 2014.


The debut release was well received internationally. Prog Rock radio stations were adding tracks to their playlists and an award was given as “Debut Album of the Year” on Prog Rock.com. In a review from House of Prog.com affiliate Rob Rutz, Rob writes: “From the first recoil of the complex kit's snare drum, followed by locomotive-strength symphonic keys, listeners are propelled like shot in a sling into Cell15's powerful breakthrough debut album, "Chapter One." This is a driving progressive rock concept album that's befitting of the most-capable, well-powered sound system. Cell15's Chapter One album goes beyond masterful poly-rhythmic drums, full-bodied keyboards and driving bass, though. It's one hell of a story that portrays a dark life, capture and prison time, followed by twists of realization, understanding and an epic light show conclusion that begs for cathedral acoustics. Listeners are strapped into this soulfully sung script that was penned over a 20-year timeframe. Arranged and performed by veteran music artist Robert Richardson, Cell15 will remind listeners of Transatlantic, Genesis and IQ, but its classic rock influences and meaningful vocals would also entice any Kansas or Queen fan.”

2015 was the year of forming the full time band to promote Cell15. After many auditions, a lineup of accomplished musicians was established. Introducing Shane Jones on guitar, Dan MacDonald on bass and Kevin Thomas on drums, a musical bond was formed to pursue recording more progressive rock music with a killer show sure to excite any audience.


Prog Rock fans may be few but they are the most loyal and appreciative group of people who love the complexities of composition. Prog is the “Classical” music of today and will still be loved long after “Pop” music is forgotten.


Band Members