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Elvellon - Spellbound

Elvellon - CD Review

Elvellon Spellbound



CD Info
Self Released
5 tracks
English lyrics


It’s always interesting how you get introduced to new sounds. Personally, I listen to a variety of people who follow the music closely, mainly outside the US. One of them is Sasa Alex Decadence who works a Facebook site called Metal Angel. You want to learn about this musical style, Friend him. It’ll be worth your while. Anyway, I heard about Elvellon from Sasa. I checked out the video he posted and got his reaction to it and decided it was worth looking into. Most of his stuff is. When I posted it internally at Sonic Cathedral, I found that one of our writer / photographers, Ton Dekkers from the Netherlands, had heard of them too. In fact, he had been advised by another of his contacts in Europe to consider working with them on a tour. And, it seems, that will be happening this summer. Now Ton knows his stuff, he’s putting on one of the biggest Femme Metal concerts in Europe this fall, so, catching his attention is no small matter. And, even though Elvellon has only this limited EP on their resume, it’s more than enough to establish their credentials in the genre.

It’s difficult to get a full reading of a band from a 5 track EP. You can figure out a few things; they have a killer vox on the front end, they have some fine musicians backing up said vox, they seem to have some ability in the creation of solid music and they know someone who can produce it. Well, that’s a start. Lyrics? Well, we’ll get into those, they don’t detract from the package. But the big thing here is these Germans could well become a biggie, and not that far into the future. If what they’ve demonstrated here is any indication of what’s to come, they could well be doing more than a summer tour with Ton before long. I mean, this is the classic interpretation of the term Symphonic, Operatic Gothic for the most part, and bands who are good at that quite often end up at Oktoberhallen, if you know what I mean. And listening to this release, I can almost taste the Belgian beer from the backstage area, they’re that good.

I asked the band for some background information regarding the singer, possible label and where they’re from; they provided the following, “Her Name is ‘Nele Messerschmidt’. We don't have a label and did all by ourselves. We come from a little town called ‘Moers’ (english pronunciation would be ‘mers’). The Area is called Niederrhein (lower Rhein, thats a big river here) A more agrestic and flat part of Germany. But just a few miles lies the Ruhrgebiet, the most industrialized part.”

Gotcha, and I bet the beer is good too. But, I’ve been in the area, drinking beer, and never heard music like this. Maybe I should come back. Now, before getting to the specifics of the 5 tracks, I have a few general impressions that need to be addressed. First, Nele is a find. And, if I have a complaint it’s that the girl isn’t used to her fullest. This girl has pipes, and we don’t get to hear them unleashed often enough here. When they are, this is Tarja on steroids. Turn the poor girl loose. “FREE NELE.” And, although I can understand that we need to provide a variety of sounds in able to cover the requisite dimensions of sound, this girl needs to spend a substantial amount of time going hard. There is more than enough solid background metal here, the symphonics are more than adequate, this is a band that needs to go hard, and needs to let Nele rip. The writing is good, the lyrics adequate, the production generally solid. But, do what you do best, crank that Goth.

Of the 5 tracks here I generally prefer those where Nele rips the fabric of reality with a voice to kill. Oraculum, which is their first single, leads off the parade and this is where the band, and Nele, shine. This is Symphonic Operatic Goth at its finest. The girl has tone, she has emotion, she has range, she has it all. The symphonic is solid and right where it needs to be to back up the vocal. Guitars do what they need to do and the drums are solid, which is a consistent component with the release. But this tune cranks. Nele sounds like a banshee from hell at some points, like a voice from heaven on others. In this genre, this is one of the tracks of the year, everything you want with an over the top vocalist. The lyrics don’t disappoint:

Responsible for life and time
the clock ticks calm but straight
it's winded up by fate itself
to lead all things as set

Dreams sprout tall so beautiful
to wither and fall off
Old and dusty, creaky and rough
This clockwork will not rest

The second track is Born from Hope. It begins quietly enough. But then they turn the keyboard symphonics loose and life returns to a more comfortable interpretation. Nele starts out relatively quiet here but, as the symphonic begin to grow, the desperation in the vocal grows accordingly. The girl has a voice, as I may have mentioned before. And, when she climbs the register, we get what we paid to hear. At one point, she whispers

Rapture turned to loneliness,
joy changed to hatred
to avoid all my fears,
I have chosen the path of exile

Then the symphonic returns and, in time, so does the soaring soprano that is the signature sound of this release.

You get the same style with the following track My Wings. The symphonic is over the top, as is the guitar work. And Nele, well, Nele is Nele here. This may be where the band puts it together as well as anything. And those drums, dead killer, driving that soprano like the Charge of the Light Brigade only with better tone. Again, we get the correct message:

So many things I have seen / Only cold reality
Wishing for an angel on my shoulder / Will there be hope for me?

For my dream's veracity / Grant me my wish to fly away

Since you've left this world of mine / to a place, where I can't follow
Thoughts are circling constantly / around our reckless time

The final two two tracks are good as well, just not as good. Dead End Alley uses Nele’s voice in some different ways, interesting but, well, with a voice like this, do you need to do that electronic thing? It’s not a negative, just not enough of a positive. Shore to Aeon is the obligatory ballad. Now, I like ballads as well as the next guy, and these guys do a fine ballad. But, it’s not the strong point of the band. The lyrics are more than OK, Nele does work that would be considered outstanding by any other singer. And, I guess you have to do some of this to complete the resume. But, please, don’t go overboard with this on the full release. Let the girl do what the girl does best. And that’s rip up the landscape like a banshee from hell.

When we get the full release, this is going to be Oktoberhallen material, trust me. You don’t get stuff like this all that often, especially the vox. Keep working, we’ll share a Belgian ale in that little town outside Brussels, I’m looking forward to it.