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I wonder how The Elysian Fields came up with the idea for this album. Having a penchant for experimentation, maybe they felt like this was the next logical step. I can only imagine how the person with the idea broke the concept to the other band members. "Hey dude, what if we made a black metal album and stuck techno over it?" I am a firm believer that if a band does the same thing over and over again, they will fall into the decaying hands of stagnation. The Elysian Fields do not fall victim to that horrible fate. They suffer from another awful fate. Sounding cheesy. The upbeat techno just sounds ludicrous when put on a black metal album.
Now I'm not saying a metal band adding electronic elements to their music is automatically a write off. Agalloch pulled it off on their song "Black Lake Nidstang." I think the reason it didn't sound cheesy when Agalloch did it is because it wasn't upbeat and sounded like it belonged at a rave. It was more dark and subtle. It fit the song. On this album it does not fit the songs. It sounds as if they recorded a black metal album and when they were done, they juxtaposed a techno album on top. It just doesn't work. You have one thing that sounds very cheesy and makes you want to dance. At the same time you have another thing that makes you want to rip someone limb from limb. In the end it just sounds awkward and out of place.
Just because the concept behind this album is incredibly stupid doesn't mean that it doesn't have a few worthwhile moments. The black metal vocalist is the best part of this album. His vocal performance sounds very full and menacing. It is a shame it is wasted on such a silly album. While most of the guitar is very disappointing and almost reminiscent of metalcore, there is a very beautiful melody in the song "All those Tristful Winters." It sounds like something that Swallow the Sun would do. There is also the occasional decent piano line.
While I hate the cheesy kind of techno they have on this album, I have to admit they are good at it. It would be unfair if I called them incompetent. The cheese factor is just too high for me. If black metal mixed with techno sounds like your thing, then by all means check this out. If you are like me, and aren't too thrilled about these two genres mixing, then my guess is you will only find a few minor parts on this album worthwhile.
The Elysian Fields. Well, against all odds, the band is back after 4 years of silence with what already sounds like the most innovative album of their career. Using electronic elements and combining them with their famous Melodic/Extreme Death Metal sound, the band released their 4th album entitled “Suffering G.O.D. Almighty” and Europe is in for another wave of creativity that might as well reach the shores of all continents.
The trio composing The Elysian Fields didn’t come back just for the sake of being back as this album unveils so many great aspects of their music. The melodies flow from melodic to extreme with a simplicity that can only be induced by great musicianship. The electronic elements are present all the times and really are a strong component of the songs; they aren’t simple background sounds to be able to put the label “electronic” on their music. The production even put the emphasis on the effects and keys more than on anything else, and it seems to be working perfectly in spite of the fast rhythms. The vocals are growled with few exceptions and they stick to the empowering guitar riffs. Those riffs are grandiose and head banging is mandatory at times.
My only complaint is that this album is rather short (below the 40 minute mark) but then I’ve been listening to this album at least 3 times in a row for the past 10 days and I’m still totally into it.
Some of you might think that late Dark Tranquillity albums are a reference in terms of blending Melodic Death Metal with electronic elements. Well, you’re right but I think The Elysian Fields are pushing the envelope even further on this album and it’s all working for them.
I can already tell you that some fans will be taken aback by the electronic sound of “Suffering G.O.D. Almighty”, but for all the wrong reasons. If they would take one minute to listen to the result before protesting, the truth would fly in their face. This album has class, consistency, a great production and potential hits. If you like Melodic Death Metal loaded with electronic sounds, “Suffering G.O.D. Almighty” is waiting for you. I’ll go as far as saying that this album is pioneering, establishing a trend in Death Metal that will last.
Firstly, The Elysian Fields have modernized their sound, which is absolutely well-accepted. Intro "Aeons Unlight" foretells of an experimental sequence and lingering keyboard lines following (" am Your Willing Darkness" show the new era the band has passed into. The first trademark "Elysian" blasts quickly enter the stage and are strengthened by a tremendous production. All instruments do sound where they should be and "Suffering..." bristles with power! The rhythmic riffing sequence is imaginative and has again as a significant contributor the use of intelligent keyboards that keep a space, soundtrack aesthetics.
Generally, the album has a magnificent sequence and I personally found it difficult to isolate favourite tracks. Thus, it is listened from the beginning to the end without being dull (quite rare lately, don 't you think?) The fact is that "Suffering G.O.D. Almighty" is a total multidimensional album (brings in mind somehow the latest "Dark Tranquillity's" works, not important note, only to give you a hint) and some devotees of minimalism in music will have objections and find it babbler. All the others who are fond of tons of thrash, death, black metal riffs in an epic aura, extraordinary breaks, electronic keyboard-ish short bridges, orchestral and violin arrangements, chaotic electric outbursts and relentless grunt-ology, will find another reason of spending their money, and I believe they won't be disappointed.
The important is that "The Elysian Fields" have matured amazingly (even though the songwriting talent has been always their advantage) and they really have a personal sound. Comparing with their previous works, I would say they have reduced the doom death elements and give full strength to more modern arrangements. However, the album balances from cosmic rage to gloomy mood. Listen for yourselves! The outcome is quite adventurous!!