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enkElination - Tears of Lust

enkElination - CD Review
Tears of Lust






CD Info
11 tracks
English lyrics
self released


I first heard of this band a little before I left for MFVF last year. Later, during the festival, Robin Stryker told me vocalist Ilina Siirala was at the festival and wanted to get together, but, with the mayhem going on at that time it didn’t happen. Too bad, it would have been interesting to meet her and, listening to this release, I truly regret it. If nothing else, this release suggests that Ilina is nothing if not a truly talented lady. The voice, well, that doesn’t take a lot to realize we have something special here. But, there’s more here than just a voice, good as it is. What we have here is some interesting material from a solid band and a GREAT voice. The band was formed in 2011, about the time classically trained opera singer Elina Siirala moved from Finland to England and became aware that rock and metal might be at least as interesting as the classical material she had been doing up to that point. About that time she met guitar player Shadow Venger who had done some significant work with a band called Empyreal Destroyer. They brought a couple other heavy hitters on board and began doing shows around London. There was an EP in 2012, I heard it and liked it but suggested to Elina that we should wait for a full release before covering it on the Zine. Turns out it was a good idea as the present release is at least as good as we could have expected, probably more so.

Well, that’s the short story. But, you have to wonder about the journey from Finland to London, the even greater journey from classical opera to Femme Metal. Kinda like me going from academia to Special Ops military, but without the pleasing sounds. I asked Ilina about that journey, her response was interesting: “Well, I have been writing songs since I was like nine years old But anyway, all the songs later on were more contemporary style and I always wanted to be able to sing them properly. After finishing my degree it felt like I didn't see my future in the classical world so I decided to move to London and try other styles. However I didn't feel comfortable singing ‘pop-style’ vocals even though I loved performing rock! So finally I started writing music for myself and that's how it all came together, it wasn't really a decision. I'm still singing classical music all the time, especially lately. So even though I won't be doing operas anymore it definitely will be a part of my life always.” It’s always nice to have options in your career path and, with a voice like Iliana’s she clearly has lots of doors to explore.

The themes presented in this release are divergent. Some were a little hard for me to get a handle on while going over the lyrics. There were those that seemed to speak to personal daemons, to the dark side of a lovely lady’s experience. Others seemed to capture a hint of the Gothic, not something you typically get from a lot of the music in England OR Finland. Reborn and Never Ending especially brought that direction to mind. However, Elina didn’t agree: “Hmmm, well I'm not quite sure what you mean by Gothic but it hasn't been intentional. Never Ending is about someone who is very egocentric and needs to see the real meaningful things in life. And Reborn was inspired by two different films / TV shows..that's where the epic lyrics come from.” OK, but I’ll present some lyrics from those two, you can judge.

Unlike many contemporary releases in this genre, this one doesn’t start out with the short classical introduction. Strange given the lady’s background, I was expecting Mozart at least and I figured she could do it about as good as anyone. But with this release, we begin straight away with the biggie, the title cut, Tears of Lust. And, it’s a good one and, I’m guessing, that’s probably Finland in the video, it sure doesn’t look much like London to me. The second track, Higher Ground is more of a rocker. I guess Shadow Venger was demanding his pound of flesh on this one. . . and he got it. But even with this harder direction, that classical vocal shines, and the interplay with the screeching guitar is something to treasure.

We get to that darker material, the more Gothic in my mind, with the track Never Ending. Nice guitar work here as well, but the sound begins slowly with a haunting vocal over a soothing guitar. It progresses to a harder direction but the haunting characteristic continues. And, the message is intuitively dark:

A Thousand ways, but one only fills the heart with sound
Racing through the life its beauty’s never found.

Fount of truth before his eyes / Like a crystal and burning skies
Reveal, unveil the lies / Mesmerize him drown the cries of
Pretending, never ending, pretending / Never ending, pretending, never ending

It sure doesn’t qualify as Beiber material and there’s no talk about a lost cow so Country Western is out. I’m calling it Gothic and I’m sticking to my story.

Another track that caught my eye, and my ear, was Insane. Being an ex shrink, tales of insanity and madness always appeal to the inner therapist, especially when the sound amplifies that feeling of crazy. This was another I asked our lovely blond about and her response talked to symptoms I’m not altogether unfamiliar with: “Insane is pretty much exactly what it says...for me the lyrics came when I had a period of insomnia. And the feeling of laying on your bed and seeing the shadows on the wall and just not being able to sleep.” Nothing a little Thorazine won’t take care of my dear, I’ve solved problems like that with a little “Relaxation in a bottle” a million times. Wish I still had some on certain occasions. But the lyrics bring back fond memories of the rubber room:

Silent walls, ceiling grows, / Closer to the floor.
Evil sights, twist my mind / So violently

Darkness creeping / Making me

Insane / Insane / Locked in this cage / Insane
My mind’s erased

Insanity, such a dear and trusting friend. I do miss it at times.

Chimeras is another one that makes sure our guitar players get a bit of the action. And the subject is a lovely one, another to take with us to dark places in dark moments. Elina explains: “Haha, oh yeah, well Chimeras was inspired by my fear of spiders.” Arachnophobia never sounded better, trust me.

Well, this is a new sound but with a vocal like this one, if nothing else, it should be around for a while. A little more Gothic sure wouldn’t hurt, seems the girl has a predisposition for that direction anyway so why not use it. Everyone loves insanity and spiders, right?