Eleine – Dancing In Hell

Eleine – Dancing In Hell
Black Lodge Records
Release Date: 27/11/2020
Running Time: 50:16
Review by Dark Juan
9/10

Good afternoon from a remarkably quiescent Dark Juan Terrace. The hated yellow ball of fire in the sky is trying to pierce the gloom of a typical winter day in Yorkshire and I find myself reclining upon the chaise longue in the darkened second receiving room, ruminating gently about my life and what delights my recalcitrant young gentlemen are going to perpetrate upon me tomorrow when I go to work and do some wrangling… As I stare introspectively out of the window to gaze upon the full magnificence of the freshly washed Mighty Gothikpanzer and the recently applied MFP Interceptor decals on it (the black on black Pursuit Special from Mad Max is my dream motor, complete with massive Weiand supercharger, thank you please. Seeing as I have champagne tastes and lemonade funds, the purchase of a large V8 supercar will have to wait and the Gothikpanzer will just have to look ridiculous) you will find me listening to the latest release by Swedish symphonic metal band Eleine. Regular readers of my nonsense will no doubt remember that I reviewed Aeternitas recently, and I didn’t like it, finding it weak, derivative and mechanical. One wonders whether this bunch of worthy Swedes will fall into the same trap of listening to Tarja era Nightwish and then copying it lock, stock and barrel and basically turning in an entire album composed of variations of ‘Dark Chest Of Wonders’, or whether they dodge the pitfalls and turn in something of quality and interest.

Let us plunge neck deep into some Scandinavian gothic splendour and see whether it meets my lofty ideals then, shall we? After you… No, I insist!

My first impression on opening track ‘Enemies’ is that it has a fucking sexy guitar sound. The guitar is masterfully produced, being meaty and thick but retaining clarity and having a filthy dirty crunch to it. The keyboards are also superb, cutting through the mix with power but not overpowering the rest of the band and adding a mightily gothic overture to the overall sound. Vocally, lead warbler Madeleine Liljestam doesn’t have the strongest vibrato, but sensibly plays to her strengths and her similarity to a lower pitched Sharon Den Adel is to her credit, never overstepping her abilities and adding that touch of feminine beauty and power that this style of symphonic metal works so well with. The rest of the band are also very good indeed. Drummer Jesper Sunnhagen is a splendid tubthumper and the production on the drums is spot on, although a minor gripe is that the snare sound is curiously lifeless, but his double bass work is absolutely SPOT ON! He’s at his absolute finest on ‘Where Your Rotting Corpse Lies’, which enjoys some rapid double bass drumming and some excellent counter-beat work from the whole band. Guitarist Rikard Ekberg, as well as being a fucking good player, also has an engaging growl which is all the more effective for being employed sparingly. The vocal interplay between sweet female mezzo and acid-spitting growl is enjoyable and again not overdone.

So far, so good! Eleine stand head and shoulders over Aeternitas and are busily stomping the German pretenders into the dirt. This is gothic symphonic metal done right and doesn’t sacrifice heaviness for pomposity, and while I can hear Nightwish (they are going to be a pervasive influence in this style of metal, considering their reputation) in the sound of Eleine, they at least take in aspects of Within Temptation and After Forever’s more radio friendly output to serve us a polished, heavy and enjoyable album. In fact, I’d say Within Temptation are the major influence of Eleine’s sound, but Eleine are much MUCH heavier than that Dutch combo. This record isn’t just symphonic, it’s cinematic. It’s easy to close your eyes and imagine a sword, sandals and sorcery epic with Eleine as the soundtrack. This has now become an issue, my fecund and twisted imagination has now given me Madeleine clad in plate armour, dancing through wicked foes and dispatching them with grace and style with her sword, Rikard by her side wielding twin battleaxes, splitting enemy skulls in wide, blood spraying arcs, Jesper as a warrior archmage spitting ethereal fire from his fingertips and bass player Anton Helgesson swinging a blood soaked warhammer in a berserker rage as they wade through piles of orc corpses towards the dark and evil castle at the end of the mountain pass they are traversing… Fucking hell, I’m easily distracted and “blessed” with a vivid imagination…

So, this album is a bit of a banger then! And just to make it harder to rid myself of the mental image I have constructed of a warrior band slaughtering their way to glory, Eleine then unleash an entirely operatic and symphonic version of the ninth song ‘Die From Within’ at the end of the record as a bonus and that’s Dark Juan lost in fantasies of joining this band of Scandinavian marauders and sharing their glory as we slaughter our way to the very top of Fantasy World’s hero list in the name of righteousness…

Having pulled myself back together and dragged myself back to reality with the help of preparing some chicken and sweetcorn soup for the ailing Mrs Dark Juan who is reclining on her sofa of pain opposite me, I can tell you that the highlights of this record, for this Hellpriest anyway, are ‘Where Your Rotting Corpse Lies’ which is one of the most bombastic pieces of music I have ever heard and is almost Wagnerian in scope, the incendiary ‘Crawl From The Ashes’ and the gothically sumptuous symphonic version of ‘Die From Within’. To sum it all up, this is a damned fine symphonic metal record, bordering on battle metal in places with only a couple of compromises. I can’t help but think that with some training, Madeleine could become a truly spectacular singer of the calibre of Floor Jansen, and that the band rely on chugging a little too much in a couple of parts. Otherwise, fucking brilliant!

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System (Det patenterade mörka Juan-blodsprutningssystemet – or words to that effect) awards Eleine 9/10 for an excellent gothic symphonic metal record that smears Aeternitas all over the nearest wall. Sumptuous, richly produced, expansively written and an essential purchase if you enjoy the beauty of female vocals offsetting metal power. Tack, Eleine, för att jag fick älska symfonisk metall igen!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Enemies
02. Dancing In Hell
03. Ava Of Death
04. Crawl From The Ashes
05. As I Breathe
06. Memoriam
Where Your Rotting Corpse Lies (It says Lie on the blurb but I’m correcting it because it hurts my grammar Nazi head can’t cope with it…)
07. All Shall Burn
08. Die From Within
09. The World We Know
10. Die From Within (Symphonic Version)

LINE-UP:
Madeleine “Eleine” Liljestam – Vocals
Rikard Ekberg – Guitar and Growls
Jesper Sunnhagen – Drums
Anton Helgesson – Bass

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of ‘Dark Juan’ and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Bombs Of Hades – Phantom Bell EP

Bombs Of Hades – Phantom Bell EP
Black Lodge Records
Release Date:17/04/2020
Running Time: 15:37
Review by Tammy Lomax
9/10

Hello everyone, I hope you all are keeping well during the on-going lockdown and hats off to our NHS. Amazing people.

I am incredibly lucky to have music to keep me occupied. Doesn’t mean I cannot share though, as sharing is caring after all. Let me introduce you to Swedish death metal band Bombs Of Hades and their four track EP “Phantom Bell” released on 17/04/2020.

Firstly, a little background.

Back in 2002 bass player Anders Ekman and Guitarist/vocalist Jonas Stålhammar would crank it up, letting off some steam in a rehearsal studio Influenced by Slayer, Autopsy, Entombed etc.

Countless beers later, some serious thoughts and discussions took place and they then approached Po Söderback and Magnus Forsburg. Now completely united, their discussions became actions and their dreams became a reality Their first E.P “Carnivores” was released by Blood Harvest Records in 2010 creating some buzz within the scene. After more successful years, three more albums, many EP’s and loads of gigs, Ekman departed and along came Roger Iderman who filled his place in 2016.

Now to new EP “Phantom Bell”. There may only be four tracks, but it is still really great! I can be greedy though! If my ears appreciate it then I always want more!

Just in my pants (it was a warm day!!), I submersed myself in my headphones, maxed out the volume and drifted off in my perfect music bubble. Throughout the EP you get some blinding guitar solos. They are rustic and original, slow, and sexy as hell and it takes me to a place of ecstasy. As I listened to the lyrics, they came alive. I found myself understanding and relating to them. Jonas Stålhammar’s vocals throughout are tight, in your face and destroy. I was really enjoying this. There was only one way forward from here …repeat play and repeat…

My favourite track here must be ‘Bridge Of Sighs’ although, if I am honest, it was quite a difficult choice as I love ‘Lungs’ too. I was lured in from the moment it started. They hit you hard, the repeated riff gets you rolling, sounding doomlike, all deep and cosmic. Then the vocals glide in with zero mess, matching and meeting the rhythm perfectly. It is juicy, weighty and your ears beg for more. POW! Then, that guitar solo…oh my days! When the final note hits, it’s a pinnacle for me! And now, I am a dribbling mess!! It is a complete release. #flushedtam!

The tracks on ‘Phantom Bell’ are so good, I just need more to satisfy me. As I said, I can be greedy. Bombs Of Hades, guys, this is excellent, and I cannot wait to see what else you deliver in the future. Do, more…lots more.

Keep safe everyone.

TRACKLISTING:
01 Phantom Bell
02 Bridge Of Sighs
03 Kamikaze
04 Lungs

LINE-UP:
Magnus Forsburg – Drums
Roger Iderman – Bass and Effects
Jonas Stålhammar – Guitars, Vocals and Mellotron
Po Söderback – Guitars

LINKS:
www.facebook.com/bombsofhades
www.instagram.com/bombsofhadesofficial/
www.bombs-of-hades.bandcamp.com/
www.open.spotify.com/artist/1VuGF7wNcFIb8xk5q3fcmc#_=_
www.youtube.com/channel/UCnwtEJxV7wL8HC4XlhluNzw


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Tammy Lomax and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.