Elis - Catharsis review
|Release date:||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]
07. Morning Star
08. Das Kleine Ungeheuer
09. Mother's Fire
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.
||Written on 30.01.2010 by Music and the written word are two of my passions in life, so I figured, why not combine the two?|
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