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The force compels - 85%

triggerhappy, October 20th, 2014

Ellorsith’s 1959 possesses a gravitas rarely heard in a band’s first release. Inspired by the Dyatlov Pass Incident of 1959, in which nine ski hikers died mysteriously during a night on the northern Ural Mountains, the music is a fitting representation of the event’s cryptic nature.

Opener “Vvedénije” (it sounds spooky until you realise it’s simply Russian for “introduction”) sets the tone for the rest of the demo, with haunting choirs and a brief spoken word sample in Russian, before “Susurration” commences an assault of ominous tremolos and ferocious blasting. “Marasmus” is a slower number that takes its time to develop, eventually culminating in soaring guitar leads and a flurry of double bass, while “Lichryre” is a lumbering giant with a greater focus on slow but deadly chords. The drumming on this track is very fluid, with particularly excellent cymbal usage.

The nine-minute closer “Compelling Natural Force” hints at, oddly enough, Ved Buens Ende, with all its angular riffing and highly syncopated drumwork. Around the three minute mark, it launches effortlessly into a discordant arpeggio, reminiscent of Deathspell Omega, before dying down to a spiraling monolithic dirge... and just when you least expect it, the choirs from “Vvedénije” return, forming an unexpected but surprisingly effective bookend to 1959.

While Ellorsith’s sound can quite easily be summarised as death/black metal – the vocals hardly ever deviate from a caustic, earthen growl, and the drumming is mostly confined to alternating blastbeats with slower double bass sections – it’s the unorthodox riffing style that sets it apart from the rest of their contemporaries. 1959 is soaked with a constant, unshakeable aura of dread, so perhaps some might find it similar to the recent Phobocosm album, which captures a similar vibe. As I previously mentioned, it also bears some resemblance to Ved Buens Ende and Deathspell Omega, so fans of serpentine dissonance will definitely find something to enjoy here. Overall, 1959 is a highly promising release, and I’m certainly eager to hear more from Ellorsith.

(Originally written for teethofthedivine.com)

Compelling Natural Force - 87%

TheStormIRide, October 19th, 2014
Written based on this version: 2014, Digital, Independent (Bandcamp)

Ellorsith is a UK based blackened death metal quartet who released their debut EP 1959 in July 2014. Caligari Records will be releasing a pro tape version of the EP in November of 2014. According to the band, 1959 was inspired by the Dyatlov Pass Incident. The cover artwork depicts several adventurers in the midst of a wintry expedition, not unlike the story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident. To those unfamiliar with the story, the Dyatlov Pass incident occurred in, you guessed it, 1959, in the Ural Mountains in Sverdlovsk Oblast, Russia. The incident refers to the mysterious deaths of nine explorers on Kholat Syakhl, a mountain in the northern Ural’s.

To this day, there remains much speculation as to the actual cause of death, as there were no survivors in the group. According to investigators, the group’s tent was torn open from the inside and everyone fled from the tent, most without shoes and socks, in heavy snow and temperatures around -30 C. Several received severe fractures and internal injuries. Ultimately, the authorities simply closed the investigation and stated that all nine explorers died because of “compelling natural forces”. Theorists have since run wild, speculating everything from avalanche, to nuclear missile testing, to alien encounters, as radiation was detecting on certain pieces of the decedent’s clothing. Regardless, the story of nine adventurers mysteriously dying in the midst of a mountainous wintry storm makes for some excellent lyrical and emotional fodder, so Ellorsith took the concept and ran with it.

1959 features five tracks of blackened death metal; heavy handed and harrowing, much like the doomed expedition. Being that this is a concept album, one can almost feel the cold winds and mountain air at the beginning of the trek, as the introduction, “Vvedenije”, brings the elements of nature to the front. What follows is four tracks of climatic blackened death metal, focusing on pummeling rhythms alongside chaotic and swirling instrumentation. It’s a very unsettling listen at times, especially during the beginning of “Susurration”, as the deep, bellowing death metal growls mix with the frenetic instrumentation; remaining starkly devoid of melody until a minor key passage unfolds, enticing the listener to continue on the journey.

The unsettling nature of the music correlates to the unexplained demise of the explorers, with tracks like “Lichryre” focusing on driving guitar rhythms riding along a tremendously noisy drum pattern, utilizing loud cymbal crashes and blasting double bass runs. The tension ultimately mounts with the nine minute closing track, “Compelling Natural Force”, which, one would imagine, focuses on the time of death for the exploring group. Dredging, caustic rhythms drive forward, slowing for a swirling melody, constantly building towards that ultimate unknown. The battle of the elements ensues, with guitar melodies amidst a cacophony of percussion and bass building into crushing death metal riffs and back into precarious melodies. The EP trails off as the sounds of inhuman growls and screams rip through the winter air, and the last survivor details his horror at what has befallen his partners, before apparently succumbing to the horror, as well.

Ellorsith’s music is dissonant and draining. A few minor melodies are worked into the music, but they serve as stark reminders to the cold nature of the elements and the unrelenting forces of the unknown. 1959 is a crushing debut that is difficult to delve into, but is rather rewarding on a visceral level. The power of this debut involves the combining of the incident that inspired the concept and the crushing and powerful music. There is not much known about this band, so their future is uncertain. Hopefully this UK based quartet can find another unexplained, gruesome incident to base their next work off of because the band’s magic is based on the weaving of the storyline within their sound.

Written for The Metal Observer.