I’m probably not the best choice to review this particular album, ELIS’ “Catharsis,” but hell, I can do it. I can do anything. Well, I can do
some most things, like pull-ups and bicep curls and shit like that. You know, shit that requires a heaping bowl of testosterone and machismo.
On that note, let it be known that ELIS is a Gothic Metal band that mixes heavy riffs with heavy cheese. Death Metal this ain’t. Missing is the fist-pounding brutality; void is the ultra-growling; absent is the longing to head-bang a hole in my desk. It’s a composite of Melodic Metal and sweet singing by lead Sandra Schleret that culminates into a pretty average offering of modern-style Goth.
***Let it be known that I don’t know Gothic Metal for shit, but I know what I likes, so take it or leave it.
Anyhow, ELIS’ fourth full-length album and first since former vocalist’s Sabine Dünser tragic death, is an album that unfortunately stumbles more than it shines. Songs like “Twinkling Shadow” and “I Come Undone” probably feature the two worst and most unbearable moments of “Catharsis.” Sure, you have your standard grooving Metal sections and evil double-bass (!), but the chorus for each song, in particular “Twinkling Shadow,” I mean, wow, just really embarrassing. My testicles just don’t agree.
On the other hand, tracks like “Warrior’s Tale,” featuring Schleret’s most beautiful singing on the album, and “Morning Star” and “Des Lebens Traum, Des Traumes Leben,” sung in German (?) and dedicated to Dünser, add life to an album that almost sinks in its own tawdry formula.
The truth is that this album harbors some striking moments, all fashioned by Schleret’s voice, but it also trips and falls on its face when bassist Tom Saxer decides to growl like an idiot, completely disrupting any consistent melody and union Schleret and the band were, up to that point, forming. Keep the beauty, ditch the annoying fucking beast.
Instrumentally mediocre, Schleret’s stellar voice is the absolute main reason I would recommend “Catharsis.”
(Online February 8, 2011)