Rating:
8.3
Elis - Catharsis
27 November 2009


Disc I [CD]
01. Core Of Life
02. Twinkling Shadow
03. Warrior's Tale
04. Des Lebens Traum - Des Traumes Leben
05. I Come Undone [Jennifer Rush cover]
06. Firefly
07. Morning Star
08. Das Kleine Ungeheuer
09. Mother's Fire
10. Rainbow
11. The Dark Bridge
12. Ghost Of The Past [limited edition bonus]
13. No Hero [limited edition bonus]

Disc II [DVD]
01. Tales From Heaven Or Hell
02. Die Zeit
03. Show Me The Way
04. Phoenix From The Ashes
05. Der Letzte Tag
06. Lost Soul
07. A New Decade
08. Heaven And Hell


With their emotionally powerful Catharsis, Elis not only display their personal and historical pains and adversity for all the world to see, they ask you to overcome it with them. From haunting dreams that seep into reality, unexpected touches of love, to the realization that the true prison is the one that exists in the mind, Elis take us through a candid rediscovery that embraces the band's past with a renewed sense of vitality and strength for their present and future.

Catharsis marks the first album with Sandra Schleret performing the main vocals, after the small preview we heard of her singing "Show Me The Way" on the 2007 single released as a followup to Griefshire. This also is the first full release after the shocking death of Elis's original singer, Sabine Dünser, making Catharsis a heavy combination of the band's bittersweet return and a chance to explore all of the turmoil they have overcome in the past few years.

Sandra herself had recently conquered her own illness before joining Elis, and being the main lyricist for Catharsis, she takes every opportunity to explore this as well as the band's history. The solitary, very personal edge to her words bleed through the album's opener, claiming she's no hero at all but just someone trying to hold on, reaching deep into the endless nights as she turns the suffering into inspiration. Her horizontally spiraling intonation at the start of "The Dark Bridge" personifies an initial slip into infectious nightmares, while her fragile shivers and deeper tones of "Des Lebens Traum - Des Traumes Leben," mixed with bassist Tom Saxer's growls, pay tribute to Sabine's memory with a brooding depth.

There is a heartfelt dichotomy that Elis reminds us of on Catharsis, in that even a transient touch of love or innocent memory can mean everything to someone trying to move past despair, and it's in this balance that makes this release sincere and satisfying. A sweet, yet matured innocence pervades "Firefly," and, in one of the best covers I've heard in a long while, the assertively romantic "I Come Undone" not only does justice to the Jennifer Rush original but feels right at home as an Elis song. Most of all, in what made me realize just how much I'd missed Sandra's voice since her days with Dreams Of Sanity, Elis gives us a spellbinding ballad in "Rainbow." It was the discovery of this song that convinced me how much I enjoy this release.

Musically, Elis has a thicker production, courtesy Alexander Krull, with an obvious increase in heaviness throughout. However, those peculiarly addicting, yet never overly complex gothic metal riffs of composer Pete Streit are ever-present, making the transition from the previous Elis albums to this one an easier one than I expected. With the weighty subjects on Catharsis, his writing puts the listener at ease, turning each corner with another catchy riff, and leaving me with self-confidence by the album's end.

A digipak edition offers eight songs from Elis's 2007 performance at Metal Female Voices Festival, featuring songs from the band's first three albums, now sang by Sandra. The recording is excellent visually and on the audio side, and captures the pleasant enthusiasm of the festival quite well, and entirely worth it for new and old fans. In the end, it's very difficult for me to compare this latest Elis album with the previous releases with Sabine considering the circumstances. But, for certain I can say that Catharsis has not only cleansed the soul of Elis, but has reinvigorated their sound with more personal lyrics than ever. Solid and without a miss, Catharsis is an inspiring way to finish out 2009 for me.

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Production: 9


Band profile: Elis
Album: Catharsis


 


written by dismaleuphony | 30.01.2010



Comments

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annodomini - 31.01.2010 at 10:39  
Strange review for me, cause i found Eli the biggest disapointment of the year, together with leaves eyes.
Angel_Lament - 31.01.2010 at 15:20  
Very beautiful review, i liked it more than the album itself...!!
Ag Fox - 31.01.2010 at 15:59  
I wasn't very impressed by the album. got rather bored actually each time I tried it
Jon - 31.01.2010 at 18:12  
What I've heard sounds boring. The band were never good composers really, but Sabine Dunser had real talent and recorded some brilliant performances for them. I'm not just saying that because she has, sadly, passed, before the recordings for Griefshire began I considered her a star compared to all these other female singers in metal.
Ernis - 31.01.2010 at 21:44  
This is a beautiful review and interesting to read. I have given this album several spins and although so far it is not that catchy for me, I think it may not even be meant to be like that. It is entirely possible it is a very thoughtful album where you need to follow it with attention to enjoy it which you have done.
Dominus - 31.01.2010 at 21:48  
Griefshire is better
Dani5050 - 31.01.2010 at 23:46  
Written by annodomini on 31.01.2010 at 10:39

Strange review for me, cause i found Eli the biggest disapointment of the year, together with leaves eyes.


Same thing for me, didn't like them....
Fat & Sassy! - 01.02.2010 at 21:04  
Written by Angel_Lament on 31.01.2010 at 15:20

Very beautiful review, i liked it more than the album itself...!!


That's usually how it is with this reviewer. The reviews are much better than the albums. Same goes for this guy's review of Solfernus' Path. Go read it and tell me that you DON'T wanna listen too it. The album is good... Just not nearly as good as the review makes it out to be.
Angel_Lament - 02.02.2010 at 00:35  
Written by Fat & Sassy! on 01.02.2010 at 21:04

Written by Angel_Lament on 31.01.2010 at 15:20

Very beautiful review, i liked it more than the album itself...!!


That's usually how it is with this reviewer. The reviews are much better than the albums. Same goes for this guy's review of Solfernus' Path. Go read it and tell me that you DON'T wanna listen too it. The album is good... Just not nearly as good as the review makes it out to be.

lol....yeah I did, and felt the same after listening to the album!!!
ravendeath - 28.02.2010 at 03:55  
I expected much better album from Elis. I like the song Warrior's Tale, but the other tracks are boring and without ideas. Also Sandra dissappoited me on this album, she was much better with Dreams Of Sanity. Still an album worth listening if you like female fronted metal, as there is too much shit in this style out there. Hope that the next time Elis makes it better, because they have such a potential!

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