Now what I see, is what I get,
It's too late to look back,
I've got no way to switchback,
It's too late to look back ain't OK I've got no way to switchback!
Celldweller is an award-winning American Heavy Metal/Electronic Music project, formed in 1999 in New York City, but now based in Detroit, Michigan. The project was formed by multi-instrumentalist, DJ and Record Producer Klayton (formerly Scott) Albert, who was once involved in several electronic music and Industrial Metal projects, most notably Angeldust, a collaboration with renowned illusionist Criss Angel. To date, the project has spawned six studio albums, nine EPs and several successful singles.
Celldweller's music is incredibly diverse and multifaceted, and is commonly described as a fusion of Heavy Metal, trance, drum and bass, dubstep, and industrial, with elements taken from many other heavy music genres. The project has also been classified as Nu Metal and gains its pride as one of the Ensemble Darkhorses of the genre. Celldweller's music has frequently appeared in television shows, movies, and video games, more prominently appearing in Dead Rising 2, Need for Speed, and the 3rd season of Killer Instinct (2013).
Covered on this page are also Klayton's other current music personas: Circle Of Dust (His predecessor to Celldweller which tends to focus more on pure Industrial Metal. Was abandoned when he had a falling out with his label and revived in 2016 after he got the rights back, Scandroid (a Synthwave project), Freq-Gen and simply Klayton (described as "musical playgrounds", basically used for stuff that are somehow even more experimental than Celldweller.
- Scott "Klayton" Albert, vocals, guitar, bass, programming, synthesizers, percussion (1999-present)
Former Members (live performances only)
- Bret "Blue Stahli" Autrey - backing vocals, synthesizers, guitar, bass, percussion (2010-2011)
- Dale Van Norman - electric guitar, keyboards, percussion, backing vocals (2003-2005)
- Kemikal - bass guitar, keyboards, percussion, backing vocals (2003-2005)
- Cais - acoustic and electronic drums, percussion (2003-2005)
- Kenny James - acoustic and electronic drums, percussion (2003-2005)
- Del Cheetah - guitar, keyboards, percussion (2003-2005)
- Chris "Tweety" Cross - guitar, keyboards, percussion (2003-2005)
- Celldweller (EP, 2000)
- Celldweller (2003)
- The Beta Cessions (Collection of B-sides, 2003)
- Soundtrack for the Voices in My Head, Vol. 1 (2008)
- Cellout EP 01 (2011)
- Groupees Unreleased (EP, 2011)
- The Complete Cellout (Remix album, 2011)
- Live Upon a Blackstar (Live album, 2012)
- Wish Upon a Blackstar (2009 through 2012, full album released in 2012)
- Soundtrack for the Voices in My Head, Vol. 2 (2012)
- Space & Time (EP, 2013)
- Blackstar (soundtrack album, 2013 through 2015)
- End of an Empire (2014 through 2015, full album released in 2015)
- Soundtrack for the Voices in My Head, Vol. 3 (2016)
- Offworld (2017)
- Satellites (2022)
Circle of Dust
- Circle of Dust (1992)
- Brainchild (1994)
- Misguided (as Argyle Park, 1995)
- Disengage (1998)
- Machines of Our Disgrace (2016)
- alt_Machines (Remix album, 2018)
- Scandroid (2016)
- Dreams of Neo-Tokyo (Remix album, 2017)
- Monochrome (2017)
- The Darkness and The Light (Double EP, 2018 and 2020)
- Transmissions: Vol. 01 (2014)
- Transmissions: Vol. 02 (2015)
- Transmissions: Vol. 03 (2016)
- Transmissions: Vol. 04 (2017)
- Terraform Drums Vol.01 (2017)
- Weapons of War (2018)
- Red Zone (2018)
- Weapons of War: The Monster Within (2018)
Celldweller provides examples of the following tropes:
- Capcom Sequel Stagnation: Not especially bad, but Klayton tends to remix and re-release his old songs often, and also includes fan-made remixes on albums.
- Exaggerated when the full version of End of an Empire includes a remix of one of its songs, Jericho, by... Circle of Dust. His other project whose last album was in 1998. Excusable since he bought back the rights to all of its albums. Yes. Circle of Dust is back.
- End of an Empire contains Breakout, featuring Scandroid, another one of Klayton's projects.
- There's also Pro-bots & Robophobes, by Scandroid feat. Circle of Dust.
- And, more recently, Embracing Entropy by Circle of Dust... feat. Celldweller.
- Careful with That Axe:
- Many of his songs have screams that seemingly pop out of nowhere, which can be very jarring for first-time listeners.
- Happens less on Wish Upon A Blackstar, due to the Lighter and Softer musical direction.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The Chapters of End of an Empire work this way: Time, the first chapter, is blue. The second one, Love, is red. Dreams, the third one, is green while the fourth and final one, Death, is heavy on purple.
- Cyber Punk Is Techno: As per Industrial Metal tradition. There are plenty of exceptions, however.
- Darker and Edgier:
- End of an Empire not only swings back more to his original style after Wish Upon a Blackstar, but also incorporates elements of Djent and Metalcore.
- Among the three projects, Circle of Dust is easily the darkest, since it's based around Industrial Metal in the vein of bands like Ministry and Fear Factory. The project's comeback album, Machines of Our Disgrace, is by far Klayton's darkest work to date, both sonically and lyrically.
- For Scandroid, the upcoming The Darkness and The Light album seems to be this is so far as well, with many songs embracing full-on Dark Wave rather than the project's standard Synthwave.
- Everything Is an Instrument: Weapons of War, a short album released under the Klayton name, consists of Stock Sound Effects of stomping feet, firearm cocking and gunfire, and other militaristic and mechanical effects, all backed by Klayton's signature electronic riffs. One song, "Against the Clock", was used in the trailer for the Dreaming City raid of Destiny 2's Forsaken expansion.
- Fading into the Next Song: Every song in the deluxe edition of Wish Upon A Blackstar.
- Four Is Death: The fourth chapter of End of an Empire is named "Death".
- Genre Mashup: Frequently described as a metal artist who draws inspiration from the most abrasive electronic music genres (Drum and Bass, Dubstep, industrial, EBM, hard trance, Harsh Noise, IDM, and similar genres), though from song to song, Celldweller can vary between any combination of these genres. Fans usually classify him under Alternative Metal and Nu Metal, though his music sounds very little like the established stereotypes.
- Genre Roulette: Switches regularly between vocal electronic/metal (Celldweller, Wish Upon A Blackstar, End of an Empire) and instrumental, epic-sounding tracks (Soundtrack for the Voices In My Head, Transmissions). Offworld adds electro-acoustic rock to the mix.
- Hypocritical Humor: One episode of Ask Klayton has him talk about not wanting to drop the f-bomb too much in his music. He then drops a literal f-bomb, which leads him to dropping a verbal f-bomb.
- I Am the Band:
- Celldweller is Klayton's solo project, but guest musicians are brought in for live performances.
- Exaggerated whenever he does a crossover between his different projects.
- Jack of All Stats: Klayton describes Celldweller's distinct style as this."I never cared about being the best double bass drummer, or the fastest lead guitar player. Couldn't care less. My only desire was to learn different instruments well enough so I could get what I hear in my head onto tape."
- Lighter and Softer:
- Wish Upon a Blackstar was nowhere near as aggressive as Celldweller, consisting more of just straight Dubstep and Electronic Music than Klayton's typical Industrial Metal style. End of an Empire could be best described as a mixture of both albums, instead.
- Scandroid definitely counts as this, being a Synthwave project instead of Circle of Dust's aggressive Industrial Metal or Celldweller's unpredictable musical maelstrom.
- Offworld is even lighter than that, and possibly even lighter than the Scandroid material.
- Long-Runner Line-up: It's been the same...one guy since 1999.
- Loudness War: His music lacks dynamic range (save for some works from the Soundtrack for the Voices in My Head series), and his later works are significantly louder than his earlier ones and certain tracks have horrendous clipping.
- Nu Metal: Arguably one of the more well-respected bands of the genre, albeit much more electronic than most.
- Out-of-Genre Experience: "Shapeshifter," composed as a single with Styles of Beyond for Need for Speed: Most Wanted, is far more of a Boastful Rap than the thematic lyrics of Klayton's previous works. He then returns to his normal style afterwards.
- Reimagining the Artifact: Resurrecting Circle of Dust and doing re-released versions of the old Circle of Dust, Brainchild and Argyle Park albums.
- Running Gag: Each albums copyright notice says Unauthorized reproduction of this recording is strictly prohibited by Federal Law but that probably wont stop you anyway.
- Signature Style: Chattering Electronic Music sounds influenced by Trance, Dubstep and noise fused with harsh, crunchy computer-manipulated guitar riffs and fast, aggressive Drum and Bass rhythms.
Tropes demonstrated by the Songs, Lyrics, and Music Videos
- A God Am I:
- The narrator for "Own Little World," though it's more of the god of "his own little world" than all of existence.Welcome to a world where the air I breathe is mineThere's nothing to overwhelm me and nothing to cloud my mindBe anyone, do anything I'd ever want to try!Time doesn't exist here, I will never die!
- The Emperor from End of an Empire, after his Sanity Slippage.
- The narrator for "Own Little World," though it's more of the god of "his own little world" than all of existence.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Much of Machines of Our Disgrace explores this trope, particularly in songs like the title track and "Contagion".
- The Alcatraz: The XR-87 Prison System located on Helion, mentioned in "Faction 13" and "Breakout."
- Arc Words: Some lines repeated across the Blackstar album include:
- "It makes no difference who we are / for when you wish upon a Blackstar."
- "You're reaping what you sow."
- Variations on the narrator's "birthright."
- The phrase "lost in time" shows up a lot throughout End of an Empire.
- The Atoner: "Frozen""I want to forget mistakes they've helped me make/it's better to be broken than to break"
- Author Appeal: Schizophrenia apparently, given how many songs include lyrics about "voices in my head." In addition, Klayton has dedicated entire albums to those voices.
- Space, Klayton really, really, really likes space.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: The titular Blackstars grant wishes. However, the lyrics constantly warn the dangers of doing so.
- Concept Album:
- Klayton's Wish Upon a Blackstar epic is an attempt at a story with the lyrics and album covers, but it's ultimately too vague to tell a clear story. Thankfully, his blackstar epic has been turned into a book.
- End of an Empire is a little more well-developed.
- Cosmic Horror Story: Ultimately, both Wish Upon a Blackstar and End of an Empire have shades of this, but Wish Upon a Blackstar, adaptation notwithstanding, is a better example.
- Cover Version:
- He made an electro-metal version of "Tragedy".
- And now an alternative/shoegaze version of The Call's "Too Many Tears".
- As Scandroid, Klayton has covered Shout and Michael Jacksons Thriller.
- Despair Event Horizon:
- "So Long Sentiment" describes someone trapped in his own depression, recalling old memories and begging for release.
- "Just Like You".
- Donut Mess with a Cop: Included as taunt in Shapeshifter.The boiler's grinding, keep the cuffs, enjoy your doughnuts sir / you ain't gonna find me!
- Fantastic Racism: This is the cause of the downfall of Atiria in End of an Empire. To clarify, an android gave other androids sapience, resulting in mankind splitting into two groups - the "Pro-bots" and the "Robophobes" - and warring with each other. This is mentioned in "Faction 13" & was expanded upon in the Scandroid song "Pro-bots & Robophobes".
- Genius Loci: Scardonia, the red planet and the source of the blackstars that appears on many album covers and in the Unshakeable music video. To complete the "living planet" look, it even possesses gargantuan eyes and mouth.
- Good Colors, Evil Colors: For the Unshakeable music video, the energy that Klayton's music spreads colors the city a vibrant blue, while the aura of Scardonia is an angry red. At the end, Klayton (and his Humongous Mecha) appear to face off.
- Great Escape: "Breakout" involves a group of "Plugins" conducting one from the infamous XR-87 Prison System.
- Humongous Mecha: One piloted by a mysterious woman appears in the Unshakeable music video. Unfortunately, the video ends just before its presumed fight with Scardonia.
- Ironic Echo: From End of an Empire:The Dreamcatcher: Give yourself to me... I... am... life!
The Gatekeeper: Give yourself to me... I... am... death.
- Lotus-Eater Machine: "Frozen" is a recurring fantasy about a beautiful seductress, and the narrator never wants to leave.
- Lyrical Dissonance:
- Madness Mantra: Present in many of the more introspective songs, such as "So Long Sentiment," "Stay With Me (Unlikely)," "Kill the Sound," "Goodbye."
- Mega City: The setting for the Unshakeable music video. At first, it's gray and lifeless, but Klayton's music adds Tron Lines to every building as it spreads.
- Non-Appearing Title: "The Last Firstborn" the lyrics, "Firstborn, last one" appears, but The Last Firstborn never gets sung or said.
- Please, Don't Leave Me: A mentally unstable narrator pleads this in "Stay With Me (Unlikely)."
- Precision F-Strike: Klayton doesn't curse often, but when he does, he really goes for it.
- The Resenter:
My nights alone were worth is all / Just to see your face on the way down!
- "Uncrowned" is written from the perspective of one.
- Down To Earth is another example.
- Shout-Out: "Neurachem" features a double whammy: the song takes its title and subject matter from the Takeshi Kovacs trilogy, and all the voice samples are taken from The Brain That Wouldn't Die.
- Silly Love Songs: Heart On would be an Anti-Love Song for its sheer over-the-top vulgarity, except for the fact that the lyrics seem absolutely sincere.
- The Social Darwinist: "Humanarchy" is sang from the point of view of one.
- Split-Personality Takeover: The subject of "Kill the Sound."Two voices in my head / and I want one of them dead / so I can focus on remembering
- Time Abyss:
- "Eon" is about someone trapped in one and trying to escape.
- The Vamp: "I Can't Wait" is from the perspective of someone who falls under her seductions.Her skin is laced with poison / Her words are laced with lies / Affliction is waiting in her eyesI can't control this compulsion / like a moth into the flame / her fiery embrace completes my shame.
- Badass Baritone: Surprisingly enough, he has a pretty solid low range, though it's mostly reserved for backing vocals, but sometimes they come through clearer than the vocals they're supposed to be backing.
"Leave me if you want
- "Afraid This Time" is the best example:
You can't hurt me now"
- "Into the Fall" uses a lot of the deeper backing vocals from "Embracing Entropy".
- Do Not Call Me "Paul": He's long stopped responding to his birth name Scott Albert, instead making Klayton his legal name.
- Evil Sounds Raspy: Whenever he wants to be creepy, he generally goes for this through both his natural voice and the effects he layers onto it.
- Good Is Boring: Humorously enough, holds this mentality.
- Goth: In his Circle of Dust days. His hairstyle is very probably an artifact from his goth days.
- Metal Scream: Very, very frequent in Celldweller and Circle of Dust, of the Type 4 and Type 3 kinds. Doesn't use any in Scandroid.
- Older than They Look: His DOB is Nov 13th, 1963 according to Encyclopedia Metallum, but you wouldn't know it just by looking at him.
- Reclusive Artist: Invoked: Klayton describes himself as one. He doesn't keep up with the news or own a television set, although he still maintains good relations with his fans, so he really isn't. He hates the traditional method of touring, which combined with his reclusive nature is part of the reason why he didn't tour for a very long period of time and has rarely performed shows since 2011.
- Self-Deprecation: According to a few behind-the-scenes videos, he doesn't think he's especially talented for his instruments.
- Soprano and Gravel: He frequently uses Harsh Vocals along with clean passages in many of his songs. Averted with Scandroid, where he uses no harsh vocals at all.
- Start My Own:
- He had a falling out with his label during his time known as "Circle of Dust" for not being Christian enough for the Christian Metal scene, so started his own music project free from them.
- When Klayton again had a falling out with his new label over distribution in 2006, he started his own label, FiXT.
- Klayton's extremely fond of doing this. He was never satisfied how other bands combined guitar, vocals, drums, and/or electronica, so he decided to just learn how to play them all himself to make his own sound.
- Starving Artist: In his early days, where he slept in his two-room studio Reese's Puffs were his only food all day. He's since become more successful and less poor, but he still holds the mentality.I would rather starve and create what I want than be told from someone who doesn't understand me or my art that something isn't up to their specs."
- Trademark Favorite Food: Reese's Puffs.
- The Unreveal: In the first Ask Celldweller video, he decides to finally set the record straight about his Vague Age by revealing that he's *INCREDIBLY LOUD DRILL NOISES*. Fortunately, although he turns his head away, lip-readers can see he begins with "thirty-", so he's somewhere in his late thirties at least.
- Xtreme Kool Letterz: His name's not Clayton, it's Klayton.