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Elenium - Caught in a wheel - 80%

Phuling, October 3rd, 2009

According to the promosheet Elenium are said to have been accused of committing commercial suicide with their particular brand of metal, but I guess that’s because most people fear progression. I have to admit that progressive, technical, melodic death metal does feel a bit weird, but that’s how I’d label it. However they don’t stop there, but we’ll get to that later on. "Caught in a wheel" was released back in 2007, but I just received it from Kampas Records with the first promo pack they’ve sent me. I’m quite unfamiliar with the label other than knowing of Wulfgar, but the remainder of their roster is just a black hole. So I hadn’t heard of Elenium before, and didn’t know what to expect. I had some initial animosity towards it; the first couple of times I listened through the album I didn’t care for it.

But from out of the blue it hit me. One night I put it on and I suddenly realized the brilliance of "Caught in a wheel". Damn, this is not your everyday death metal. While it might be quite easy just to brush it off as another melodic death metal act (just like I did in the beginning), there’s so much more to it. It’s such a mishmash of influences that seems to be crammed into their sound. I come to think of Strapping Young Lad, Pantera and Bal Sagoth; yet there’s no doubt about the fact that Elenium is a death metal band. They use a lot of keyboard effects, more than I’d normally stand for. But they do so in such a cool way that I just can’t resist its powerful energy. The riffing can display a lot of progression as well as technicality, and damn if it’s not appealing in ways I’m not used to.

"Challenger of gravity" is probably my favourite track on here, it’s just so freaking wicked in all sorts of manners. It starts off with a really cool bass line, only to be accompanied by the guitars, building up to the wicked keyboard doing the same line. Bass, guitars and keys are doing pretty much the same thing, but it’s so incredibly unorthodox and mesmerizing I can’t help but to get engulfed by the weird and spastic tune. Moving on to the next track, "The escalator", it starts off pretty much like your everyday modern melodic death metal track, pretty akin to some In Flames crap. But again the keys add some unorthodoxity to the mix, and when it’s time for the chorus I just wanna shout along. Despite the fact that I hate the latter mentioned act Elenium pulls it off in such an incredibly powerful and energetic way I just can’t help myself; I have to love every minute of it. And as we move on to "Of the man who died" the band shows off an entirely different style, more akin to some early Amorphis material, and it sounds great. The melancholic, yet melodic, doom/death is done to perfection, albeit not unique it’s great.

Southern, doom, death, black, whatever. They take it all in and produce something entirely own; something progressive, sometimes technical, sometimes spastic, sometimes raging. Sure, I don’t care for the most melodic guitar solos and shit, but nonetheless this is simply an awesome album.

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