Elis - Griefshire review


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Band: Elis
Album: Griefshire
Release date: 2006

01. Tales From Heaven Or Hell
02. Die Stadt
03. Show Me The Way
04. Brothers
05. Seit Dem Anbeginn Der Zeit
06. Remember The Promise
07. Phoenix From The Ashes
08. How Long
09. Innocent Hearts
10. Forgotten Love
11. The Burning
12. A New Decade
13. Heaven And Hell[Digipack bonus]

Elis hail from Liechtenstein and have managed to become a strong gothic metal act despite the fact that they're around for not so many years. During 2006 they managed to release their third album, "Griefshire", yet fate had kept for them a leathal strike, taking away their female vocalist, Sabine Dunser, at the peak of their creativity. The good part of the story is that the vocals had been recorded before the tragedy, letting Sabine leave her mark on her final work, her swansong. And thus the band completed the album in memory of her.

The interesting duality of intensity/power and fragileness is always present through the whole duration of the album with the band members pouring themselves in the compositions, doing their best, offering quality and emotion. "Griefshire" is a seductive album, surrounding you with its fabulous melodies, making you adore it in a unique way and cherish special moments while listening to everything it has to offer, 12 heart-felt compositions that will overrun the pathways of your heart. Sabine's interpretation is haunting in its very own melodic and emotional way, stigmatizing the compositions forever with her enchanting aura, unfolding soundscapes where descriptions like "intense", "tranquil" and "heart-rending" find new meanings and levels. Her charismatic voice is always present to give life to the interesting lyrical concept, talking about two brothers and their relation to religious fanatism, quest for salvation and longing for everlasting truth and love, in the most appropriate way. Something highly interesting has to be the appearance of powerful male grunting vocals at some very few passages of the album, escalating the emotional charge of the songs. And then comes the instrumentation to dress the vocal lines with the ideal musical "background", leading "Griefshire" to expressive completion. The guitar work is just fabulous, consisting of heavy and powerful guitar riffing that bursts to not so lengthy but utterly inspired solos which make the overall feeling more affected or more acoustic passages that evoke a more fragile aesthetic whenever it is needed. As for the rhythm section, it's just unerring, being an excellent duet with the guitars, lending power and groove to the compositions, holding tight the overall sound. The atmosphere-evoking part of the album, in absolute co-operation with the vocals, the keyboard/piano and the orchestral arrangements, consisting of strings and harps, along with the choir create a variety of atmospheres, ranging from tranquil and romantic to more intense and threatening, showing all aspects of the album concept.

The album flows as one, it's not so lengthy after all and this is something that strengthens its already fabulous nature, leaving no back doors open for someone to say that it tends to become repetitive or tiring, on the contrary, it grows creatively on the listener the more he cherishes all the beauty it hides inside. I'd like though to point out some songs that raised my interest to the highest levels. Some of these songs have to be, with the hand on the heart, the intense "Innocent Hearts", the fragile ballads "How Long" and "Forgotten Love", the atmospheric and beautiful "Die Stadt", the melodic and captivating "Show Me The Way", the powerful and ominous "The Burning" and the darkly devout "Brothers".

Concluding, all i have to say is that "Griefshire" is one of the most mature gothic metal works of 2006, a soulful testimony by Elis, an album every fan of the scene should own, if you want to find out why just purchase the album and you won't regret it, as simple as that!

Rating breakdown
Performance: 10
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Production: 9


Written on 28.12.2006 by "It is myself I have never met, whose face is pasted on the underside of my mind."


Comments: 4   Visited by: 78 users
28.12.2006 - 20:55
Great review Rozz. I have been hesitant to buy this album but now I think I'll give it a try. I've heard their previous work, Dark Clouds in a Perfect Sky, and I felt it was quite juvenile. Lovely at times, but overall pretty generic and immature. It sounds like the 4th time was a charm for them? I'll definitely check this one out and see how far they've come!
"A life all mine
Is what I choose
At the end of my days"
--The Gathering "A Life All Mine" from Souvenirs
28.12.2006 - 22:58
Retired Staff
heh, i wanted to review this one too, but i think i rather wont, i cant beat your review anyway
absolutely agree with it too
BAS - Beautifully Accented Sexiness
31.12.2006 - 05:56
Bitch Boy
Shame that Sabine died
01.01.2007 - 20:09
Dark Phoenix
I've heard of Elis before but never actually even tried to give them a try since almost every new ('')gothic('') band I try out seems to disappoint me. However this remarkable review has convinced me to listen to this album as soon as possible.

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