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Elysian Blaze > The Virtue of Suffering > Reviews > NausikaDalazBlindaz
Elysian Blaze - The Virtue of Suffering

A grand, tragic journey with hope and renewed purpose at the end - 85%

NausikaDalazBlindaz, May 21st, 2021
Written based on this version: 2018, Digital, Independent (Bandcamp)

I haven't kept pace with Elysian Blaze's activities since this Melbourne-based solo project released "Blood Geometry" way back in 2012 so it was with much surprise that recently when I checked EB's MA page, I found that only one release came out after that massive album and this is the single "The Virtue of Suffering" which was put out in 2018. It seems that after the grandeur that is "Blood Geometry", expectations have been high of the anticipated follow-up album and I hazard that such expectations have put enormous pressure on EB man Mutatis to deliver a work that at least is on par with "Blood Geometry", let alone exceed what that album has achieved. By releasing "The Virtue of Suffering", Mutatis has relieved some of that burden on himself and given EB fans something to savour while waiting for the new album.

And though it is only one song, albeit a long song at almost 19 minutes in length, "The Virtue ..." delivers much of what EB fans might expect: darkly atmospheric and majestic funereal blackened doom that sounds much deeper and complex than music made by one person has any right to be, with lyrics initially dwelling on the trials of existence, the darkness of the suffering that such experiences create, and the transformation that results when all these trials have been overcome, not necessarily through sheer endurance but perhaps by a change in attitude or in how obstacles are perceived. At the same time the music is different from what I remember (or think I remember) of EB's style: it's brighter, it seems more straightforward and less convoluted, and the singing is clear and confident. There's a lightness, a radiance present through the song in spite of its slow and powerful main riff that holds the song together.

Initially bathed in a sparkling and lush dream-like ambience, the song quickly expands into a grand if almost tragic journey powered by that slow riff (catchy in its own gloomy way) around which the orchestral music is organised and flows in a stately manner. The singing is filled with torment and agony, and though the music presents considerable challenge, the tortured vocals and the lyrics are dominant. The atmosphere has a decadent quality, appearing too rich and lush with a hint of decay as the multi-layered music of grinding guitars, hysterical orchestral synth and choirs of demented demonic voices drives a deep and solid path. Whatever detours the song takes end up detailing a highly immersive if alien and hellish world of spiritual suffering and purgatory.

Even with all its changes from slow doom to passages of floating ambience the song remains focused and consistent with its strange atmospheric sheen that makes it sound as if it had existed millennia ago and had only recently been dug up; and with its steady pace even as different instruments and elements in the song follow their own lead. While I feel the music does not quite match the power of the lyrics at the moment of enlightenment and transformation, the song does go out gracefully in a way that inspires hope and gives an impression of renewed purpose. EB fans will be all the more hungry for the new album, whenever that comes, and in Mutatis's own good time.