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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.