ELENIUM have been around for over a decade, with multiple demos, an EP and one full-length under their collective belts. So it should come as no surprise that on “Caught In A Wheel”, ELENIUM’s second full-length album, and first for Kampas Records, the band sounds like such pros.
But first things first, the bio that accompanied “Caught In A Wheel” describes the music as Progressive Death Metal, which isn’t really the case. There are some flourishes here and there that fall under the ‘Prog’ tag (especially on “Velocity”), but overall this is much more in line with Melodic Death Metal. However, that also borders on misleading. You see, ELENIUM has very little in common with IN FLAMES or CHILDREN OF BODOM or most of the world’s other Melodic Death bands. There are (very) small hints of DARK TRANQUILLITY, OPETH and (early) AMORPHIS, though.
While certainly never slouching in the aggression department, ELENIUM is also very astute to the art of atmosphere. There is a good chunk of keyboards used to great effect on “Caught In A Wheel”, but they never cut loose and go all Power Metal-ish like some bands. Instead, the keyboards are used for atmospheric effect, often times to add a bit of a depressive/gloomy quality to the songs. The guitars often take on a modern feel, making occasional use of the ever popular pinched harmonics, but will also dive into a great classic-style solo with zero notice. The vocals also stand out as being aggressive and guttural, but with great clarity (think of OPETH’s Mikael Åferfeldt).
ELENIUM stands out with their own unique sound, something many bands cannot claim. “Caught In A Wheel” is melodic, heavy, aggressive, atmospheric, and most importantly: memorable. If the right ears get a dose of “Caught In A Wheel” (Century Media or Nuclear Blast come to mind), ELENIUM should be headed for big things in the not too distant future.
(Online June 9, 2007)