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Enemy of Reality - Rejected Gods

Enemy of Reality - CD Review
Rejected Gods






CD Info
FYB Records
11 tracks
English lyrics
10 / 10


With the wealth of diversity we get in this genre of music, it’s becoming more and more difficult to expect that everything we hear will be received positively by everyone. Even within the writing community here at SC there are significant differences of opinion, some like one style, others prefer a completely different take on Femme Metal. Fortunately, there’s a lot to choose from and we have a lot of writers so we cover most of the alternatives out there. But, there are some styles that seem to be positively received by pretty much all of us. And I really don’t know anyone who doesn’t approve of the vocal capabilities of Iliana Tsakiraki. She’s remembered from her time with Meden Agan and that’s one of my all-time favorite bands. So, since she is the featured vocalist on this release, I went in with high expectations. And, I wasn’t disappointed. I don’t think you will be either. Its great music, it’s well developed, professionally performed and pretty much hits all the requirements for a top release in this category of music. But, it’s a little more than that. For one thing, it’s a bit of a concept album, there’s an interesting theme based on Greek mythology for parts of the release, and there’s a lot of interesting guests around; some Greek, some not, to tell the tales. And they're not just ANY guests. These are among the top performers in this musical realm. Included are: Ailyn Giménez (Sirenia), Mike LePond (Symphony X), Androniki Skoula (Chaostar), and our favorite Greek Goddess, Maxi Nil (Jaded Star, ex-Visions of Atlantis). You don’t get a line up like this every day. And I guess the powers that be at MFVF saw potential as well, Enemy of Reality is on the bill this year, and this release. . . hasn’t even been released. And it’s their first. But, Iliana has been at Octoberhallen before so she’s not exactly a newbee, she knows everyone, everyone knows her. Her talent is one of the worst kept secrets in the realm. But, I don’t think I’ve ever heard her better than on this one. Even with the wealth of talent around her, she shines as never before. It’s over the top, period.

IMO, the most interesting thing about this release is a series of tracks in the middle that address one of the more interesting Greek legends: Orpheus and Eurydice. Like many of the Greek myths, this one is somewhere on the other side of light comedy. The Greeks were doing murder and mayhem long before the English came up with the idea and this is definitely one of the most brutal. Good stuff for Symphonic Gothic, eh? Well, the first track in the story is called Her Descending Ghost. The idea here, see, is that the story is being narrated by a reasonably strange lady from an ancient Greek group called the Maenads, one of the female followers of Dionysus. The woman is a scheming, conniving bitch by all accounts and. . . . ya know, she reminds me of my ex in some respects. Anyway, we get a nice metal introduction to the track which goes a little in strange directions before Iliana appears to bring us back to the story line. And that story line goes like this. Our lady, Eurydice, gets married but, unfortunately, falls victim to a snake shortly after her wedding. I should have been so lucky, oy vey. Now the grieving widower, our man Orpheus, doesn’t take this lightly and like a fool goes after his doomed lady of desire. And, the next track, The Bargaining recounts his descent into the afterworld where he faces the ever popular Hades in an attempt to claim back the lovely recently departed. Personally, I would have taken back the keg, pocketed the gifts and moved on to Door Number Two. But not Mr. O. The dude actually strikes a bargain with the boss and on the following track Grief Divine he starts back up to Earth with his lovely and very dead bride. But, this is Greek tragedy and you know it ain’t gonna end well, ain’a. So, in spite of strong warnings not to do it from the head of the dead, the groom looks back at his soon to be ex and seals her doom. This lady is clearly not a part of the continued story and her reinvigoration comes to a sudden and permanent halt. Well, at this point Mr. O is pretty much ready to call it a day and start looking for wife number 2 somewhere in a more promising environment. But even that is not going to happen, Greek tragedy remember. So, when he pops up back on terra firma, those lovely ladies, the Maenads, the ones who remind me of my ex, are there waiting for him. And, in the 4th title of this little tragedy, Torn Apart, they do just that. To their credit, the do a sterling job, ripping him limb from limb and throwing his head and lyre into the river Evros. QED, End of Story. Done.

So that’s the story, short, deadly and a clear warning that marriage is not for everyone. But, as interesting as that little fable is, the music that presents it will probably ensure that few listeners actually recognize that it is a part of the package. Enemy of Reality is solid music; it’s not just Iliana and guest vocalists, good as they are. You get all kinds of music with this one, starting out with a classical opening called Medusa that screams dark Greek Mythology as only a woman with snakes in her hair can do. But, the second track is Iliana with guest Mike LePond. This one is more in line with the pounding Greek metal we’ve all come to love over the years. You always get a killer drum line with Iliana’s bands. There’s also some interesting background vocals, probably Iliana’s voice done up with lawyers, I don’t know but truly well developed. And this trend continues with the third track Lifeless Eyes. This one is a little more vocal in nature, at least for part of the track. But here Iliana goes into the upper registers and no one does it better. The lyrics are dark, as are most of the tracks she’s ever been associated with:

Looking at me with lifeless eyes / and hide emotions with cold lies
I turn away when shadows fall / glowing stars awake my soul
Looking at me with lifeless eyes / and hide emotions with cold lies
fading moonlight wander past / may this night forever last

One of the more interesting things about this release is how the guest vocalists are utilized. Ailyn Gimenez works with Iliana on Needle Bites and her vocals provide a significant alteration to the music. The backgrounds are similar but this is a fine vocalist and the interaction of the two vocalists provides a fine direction to the track. The same can be said for the aforementioned The Bargaining which features Androniki Skoula. Now, like I said, this is a nasty little track and it’s a little disconcerting to see a lovely lady like Androniki involved in this kind of mayhem. But, she’s not the only additional vocalist on this track, there’s a male growler, singing the part of the Jefe of the Underworld, and his warning is pretty clear on the subject of turning around:

Mortal you can take back her soul / but only on one condition
Your steps will guide her along the way / you must not gaze upon her before sunlight
Now leave this place and don’t look back

Not sure how you overlook a warning that direct.

Clearly, one of the musical highlights, and, for fans of World Wrestling, one of the lyrical highlights is that track Torn Apart. This one is a highlight from a number of perspectives. You get a little more keyboard stuff here and you get a lot more choral work. No idea who is doing it, but it sets up the rest of the material nicely. And Iliana puts the voice on full display, this one rips up the skys as only she can do. And, she puts an exclamation point on the Greek tragedy:

With your life your grief shall cease to be / your anguish laid to rest
open skies will fall before you now / your heart ripped from your chest
Let your body break and wither / as desolation creeps
Ashes of lust feed the mouth of envy / Weeping skies

We can’t complete this discourse without mentioning the track featuring Maxi. It’s called Step Into the Light and this one takes us to some beauty, no Greeks killed in this one. Maxi and Iliana take turns with the lead vocal and it’s a thing of beauty. This one is worth the price of admission alone. The only thing better is hearing them sing together. Solid.

Enemy of Reality is on the bill at Oktoberhallen this fall. Don’t know if all the guest musicians will be there but expect to hear a lot of this material at that event. And trust me, having heard Iliana live before, this will be a highlight of that event. Until then, this should satisfy all your needs in the areas of Gothic metal. . . and Greek tragedy. The Greek Gods are smiling.