Apr 022012

(In this post, TheMadIsraeli reviews the new album by Australia’s Elysian.)

Melodic Death Metal is a style that had a mighty sad fall from grace when the metalcore explosion took off.  The metalcore bands milked the melodic aspects of MDM dry while the melodic death metal bands themselves were often left behind by metalheads who simply considered the style to have become old hat.  The problem was exacerbated by the horrific selling out by big names such as In Flames (we won’t go there) or Soilwork as well as just the stagnation of certain legends such as Dark Tranquility and Arch Enemy.  Luckily, the style was kept alive and legitimate by long-staying underdogs like Darkane or Before The Dawn.

However, significant changes in approach seem to have revitalized melodeath.  We all know and love the mighty Insomnium, with their melancholy, sorrowful melodic taste and the mood of doom metal in their sound.  It’s what has set them apart from the pack, that is until lately.  In the last 6-7 years, there has been a rather unexpected surge of mid-paced or slow-paced melodic death metal by bands who use the vocals, energy, and dual guitar antics of melodeath but mix with those elements the macabre, melancholy, and anguished melodies and tempos of doom metal, and Funeral Doom in particular.  I’m thinking of bands such as Daylight Dies, In Mourning, and now 7 Horns 7 Eyes.  These bands, for me, have breathed new life into a style that I originally loved but held on to mostly due to nostalgia.

Elysian are ANOTHER entrant into this new guard of melodic death metal.  About ten days ago we premiered a stream of their debut album Wires Of Creation, but I was so enamored with this album that I felt compelled to review it.  These guys deserve as much press as they can get. Continue reading »

Mar 232012

We’ve premiered individual songs before, but this is a red-letter day at NCS because today we’re premiering a full-album stream. The album is Wires of Creation (scheduled for release on March 26), and the band is Australia’s Elysian.

We first came across Elysian through one of our EYE-CATCHERS experiments — in which we listen to new music based solely on the appeal of the album art (the Wires cover was then, and still is, very cool). At that time, only one song from the album was available for listening (“Mans Design”), and it was a powerhouse piece of music. Now we’ve heard the whole album, and it fulfills the promise of that first song.

Elysian’s metal is both complex and primal, stylistically diverse and intricate in its composition, yet infused with atmospheric melodies and head-busting grooves. Wires of Creation is a dynamic work that both leads the mind down a labyrinthine path and packs a physical punch. It’s progressively minded melodic death metal that brings to mind an imaginary collaboration between Dark Tranquillity and pre-Harvest Opeth, but with other ingredients in the mix as well.

The band was founded by guitarists Gabriel and Nathan Hutchinson, and their interplay — part throw-down duel and part harmonious collaboration — is a large part of what makes the music so engrossing. They jab in a blur of hard punches, they bring the fiery shred, they spin webs of atmospheric melody. Gabriel is also responsible for keyboard additions that enhance the music with beats of electronica and soaring ambience. Continue reading »

Feb 142012

This is another classic EYE-CATCHERS experiment, and by “classic” I mean the original concept of this series — to find good music based solely on the album art. The subject of today’s experiment is a forthcoming debut album called Wires of Creation by a band from Melbourne, Australia, named Elysian.

I saw the album cover big as life in the body of an e-mail that greeted me in my in-box this morning. The brutal truth is that instead of moving on to other e-mails and NCS projects I had planned to mess with this morning, I stopped to check out Elysian’s music solely because I liked that album cover. It’s different. You can almost see the motion, the rising up, the colors changing with the motion against the black backdrop.

Based on the cover art and the style of the band’s logo, I made a guess that the music would be some flavor of prog. As it turns out, that wasn’t a bad guess, but not exactly dead center in the target either. My impressions of the music are based on one song from the album — “Mans Design” — which has recently become available for streaming, so that’s not exactly a great sample size. But I sure do like that song. Continue reading »