The full photo gallery of the evening is available here: Cellar Darling + Kassogtha – Paris – 17.04.22

I was looking forward to this date, and without spoiling the rest of the report, I can already tell you that it was worth it. First announced in September 2021, then postponed in March 2022 due to sanitary restrictions, then postponed again in April 2022 due to works in the original venue, it’s finally on April 17, 2022 on the stage of the O’Sullivans Backstage that Cellar Darling will perform in Paris.

For those who don’t know the band yet, Cellar Darling is a Swiss folk metal trio formed by three former members of Eluveitie: Anna Murphy on vocals, flute, keyboards, hurdy-gurdy, Ivo Henzi on guitar, and Merlin Sutter on drums. On stage they are accompanied by Nicolas Winter on bass.

When I arrived at the venue a few minutes before the beginning of the show, I was surprised to see that the musicians were already at the merch stand. Everyone takes the time to talk with the fans who have come in great numbers for the occasion. The last time the band played in Paris was in 2019. The reunion seems to be eagerly awaited. For me, it will be the very first time “in real life”. I discovered Cellar Darling quite late and got really interested in them during the “Lockdown Content Campaign” launched just before their first live stream, in May 2020. It was the subject of one of my first articles in the webzine (you can find it right here: Cellar Darling on the campaign, then in live !)

Cellar Darling

Kassogtha, a first part without concessions

But before the pizza, there is the appetizer. By way of Mojito, it’s Kassogtha who opens the evening. The Swiss quintet is no stranger to me as we shared the bill on a Belgian date of their tour in 2018. Deus Ex Machina (that’s what the band was called at the time) has come a long way in the last four years, and I’m delighted to see how the band has evolved. In addition to the name change, Stephany now puts much more emphasis on clean vocals and it’s the guitarist, Mortimer, who takes the growls.

Kassogtha
Kassogtha

With a melodic death metal style, Kassogtha‘s musical style is quite different from the headliner of the evening. However, the band is well received for their first Parisian date with a receptive and enthusiastic audience. In June 2020, they had already played on the same stage as Cellar Darling during the Tohuwabohu Festival live streaming alongside Illumishade and Samael. Kassogtha delivers a heavy set and takes it to heart to heat up the room. During the show, we discover the track “Before I Vanish” which was released with a music video a few days later (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2X4zFyjwcY8). It’s the second single from the album « rEvolve », which will be released in autumn 2022 by Klang Machine Records, a label that includes Merlin Sutter, the drummer of … Cellar Darling. After about forty minutes of set in a more than subdued lighting atmosphere (light engineer on strike?), Kassogtha leaves the stage under the applause. A quick photo with the audience and then off to the backstage and the merch stand. A quality first part that delighted the audience.

Kassogtha

Change of stage, a quick refreshment and a return to the “pit” to get some shots. I pray that the stage is more lit and less smoky than during Kassogtha‘s performance.

Cellar Darling, the big folk slap

A little before 9pm, Cellar Darling takes the stage, everyone settles in and then the first notes of « Pain » pierce the silence. A tremendous energy is quickly released and, in the first rows, we feel the blast of the bass drum hammered by Merlin Sutter. The sound is really great and it’s a pleasure to finally hear live the songs that have been looped for almost two years. Cellar Darling‘s studio albums are very good, but live you get all the emotion of the musicians, it’s just wonderful. Overall the tracks are very nuanced, like “Death” which takes you from a big distortion guitar to a perfectly played flute solo that seems suspended in time. The mix of classical instruments with the metal riffs is amazing and brings lightness and subtlety.

Cellar Darling
Cellar Darling

The tracks follow one another quickly, no time to be distracted. We hear « The Spell » and « Insomnia » with an epic hurdy-gurdy solo from Anna Murphy, cheered by the audience. I take a break from the photos to fully enjoy « Freeze », a fairly short track with a very powerful chorus which remains my favourite since my first listen. A magical moment, I remain under the spell.

The singer speaks a little timidly in the middle of the set to thank the audience and explain that they are very happy to be on stage when the world is going badly. Despite a certain notoriety acquired in recent years, the four musicians seem simple and accessible. There is no superfluousness here, on stage there is the band in black jeans and trainers and their instruments. There is little movement on stage either, apart from the singer’s movements towards her various instruments. Everyone stays in his place and the interactions between the members are rather through complicit looks. In short, an efficient configuration that leaves all the room to the music and the emotion they give off together. Cellar Darling is one of those bands that doesn’t need artifice to captivate.

Cellar Darling
Cellar Darling

Then comes « Dance », a ten-minute masterpiece that doesn’t appear on either album but was discovered with a music video last year. Anna Murphy subtly juggles vocals, flute, hurdy-gurdy and keyboard, it’s impressive. Back to the first album with « Black Moon » and « The Hermit » which complete the setlist and unfortunately the show is already over. Of course we ask for an encore, it’s impossible to leave each other like that. After a few words of thanks, Cellar Darling starts a final song. The first notes of the long-awaited “Avalanche“, the band’s first single released in 2017 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NWMiBj0yDJg), resound under the applause of the audience who sing each chorus with fervour and enthusiasm.

As you can see, I had a great time with Kassogtha and Cellar Darling. Considering the crowd at the merch stand, I think there were a lot of us in that case. Logically, we ended the evening at the O’Sullivans Backstage bar where, a little later, we were surprised to see the Anna Murphy, Merlin Sutter and Ivo Henzi trio, with their instruments, pass through the crowd in a totally incognito manner to load their van in front of the venue.

The next dates for Kassogtha will be exclusively local: 14 May 2022 in Frauenfeld, 18 June 2022 in Prattel and 27 August 2022 in Lausanne, cities in Switzerland. We hope to see them in France or Belgium soon.

As for Cellar Darling, they will be back in France for the Rock Your Brain Fest which will take place on July 24th in Sélestat in Alsace.

More info on the bands:

Kassogtha : https://kassogtha.com/

Cellar Darling : https://www.cellardarling.com/

 

Watch the full photo gallery here: Cellar Darling + Kassogtha – Paris – 17.04.22