Elend
The Umbersun


4.0
excellent

Review

by fireaboveicebelow USER (108 Reviews)
May 19th, 2008 | 18 replies | 7,800 views


Release Date: 1998 | Tracklist


6 of 6 thought this review was well written

If there was ever such a thing as violent music, this band has mastered it. This is the third and final chapter in Elend's first trilogy, the Officium Tenebrarum. On the band's site, you can read liner notes for the concepts, which state that this trilogy tells the story of Paradise Lost; more specifically the fall and descent of Lucifer into Hell, however this shouldn't be viewed as something satanic. The storyline of the album is very interesting, especially when the band themselves have provided english translations and explanations on their official site. This album plays like a soundtrack to “Dante's Inferno”, only less humble.

First of all, this is a classical album. It alternates between two primary styles: the haunting, yet graceful piano, strings, and vocal driven areas, and the atonal, blaringly loud, chaotic hurricanes of hell areas. Elend’s past albums sound almost giddy in comparison. Rather than bathe the listener in a warm Romantic texture, The Umbersun attacks the listener with alienation, terror, and a dark undercurrent of Surrealism. The music consistently retains much of its ambience, but it's intensely dark and despondent here.

As far as the vocals go, they can be characterized by angelic soprano lines, male whispers, and terrifying shrieks. These shrieks are more frequent now than on previous albums, and blast the listen with furious intensity throughout this pallette de peur mortelle. The Umbersun also features an expansive choir, and Elend makes good use of it. The choir is best used in creating dissonance, such as in parts where the choir sings in contradictory vocal harmonies or just screams in derangement.

An example of the powerful pieces can be shown through the first song, Du Trefonds Des Tenebres. It starts before you're even ready, pounding your skull with lightning crashes, a flailing choir, and tortured yells. As the song progresses, the immense orchestra sound builds upon itself, each instrument providing it's own attack. You'd think this gets tired after 10 minutes, but in all honesty it somehow stays interesting, due to sudden breaks with subtle tremolo lines that burst into soaring synths lines mimicked by ghostly voices and whispers.

The softer pieces on the album make you question whether you should feel safe with the beautiful string parts, or whether you should keep from swallowing your tongue from the building of tension. This is most demonstrated by The Wake Of An Angel. It starts off with a quiet string section accompanied by a male and female speaking in despair. Suddenly 3 minutes have passed, and a piano runs through lush progressions with the man singing softly. Nearing the song's end you hear diminished, harsh whispers that silence the strings.

To put it simply, this album is dark…really dark. If you think "kvlt" black metal is evil then this too much for you and it will force (yes I said force) you to piss your pants. This is the kind of music HP Lovecraft would fall asleep to. It's aggressive, chaotic and generates a suffocating atmosphere of insanity and horror, and certainly won't be easy listening for most people. You may find yourself totally immersed in an aura of discord and dementia after the first song. This album is disturbingly convincing, and there is never a moment when you don't feel the total impact of the music. I kinda want to pop this sucker in at my prom…



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user ratings (19)
Chart.
4.1
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
fireaboveicebelow
May 19th 2008



6837 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Veeeeery strong 4. I tried writing the short, but informative kinda review, so let me know how you like it

Why can't I edit the review? 8(This Message Edited On 05.19.08

BallsToTheWall
May 19th 2008



44164 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Pretty good review. I've been meaning to get an album from this abnd but from what i've heard of their myspace it's nothing like this. This however sounds awesome, I plan on getting this in the future. Unfortuantely most people here won't give this a chance, like my All My Faith Lost review.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
May 19th 2008



16302 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Very nice review, but judging from their myspace tracks this is the farthest thing from violent. It does have that evil tone about it, so I will be giving this one a download. Nice work.

Digging: Ulver - Bergtatt

Epilogue
May 19th 2008



1590 Comments


:wave: Mmk searching for this now...
Great review, gets a pos from me.


fireaboveicebelow
May 19th 2008



6837 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The myspace songs are from the winds trilogy and are not as immense as this, but are great none the less, maybe better. Thanks for the comments

Balls, whats all my faith lost?

Hi Justus
This Message Edited On 05.19.08

BallsToTheWall
May 19th 2008



44164 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Some dark folk/ classical I reviewed. And oh shit, Epilogue has the same name as the strongest (or one of) metal album in 08 so far. I reccomend you read my Ikuinen Kaamos- Epilogue review and listen to their myspace tracks immediately.

fireaboveicebelow
May 19th 2008



6837 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I cant find that damn album anywhere 8(

Epilogue
May 19th 2008



1590 Comments


Some dark folk/ classical I reviewed. And oh ****, Epilogue has the same name as the strongest (or one of) metal album in 08 so far. I reccomend you read my Ikuinen Kaamos- Epilogue review and listen to their myspace tracks immediately.

Been meaning to check that out too, only because of their myspace tracks. Shits amazing

Poet
May 19th 2008



5922 Comments


Good review. The songs I have listened to so far are pretty haunting but beautiful.

itachi1452
May 19th 2008



366 Comments


sounds like a fairly haunting album. i might check them out, that was a great review

Shattered_Future
May 19th 2008



1540 Comments


Fantastic group. I have everything they've put out, and I have to say that it's some of the creepiest music I've heard. I don't think I've heard a song more fucked up than Boree off of A World In Their Screams.

Great review as well.

jrowa001
May 19th 2008



8750 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is a cool album. i have most of Elend's stuff, they can make some creepy music. really fun to listen to during late night drives alone (actually its scary)

BallsToTheWall
May 19th 2008



44164 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

With all the excitement from the community, i'm quite anxious to hear this. However i'm not dropping 31 to 59 dollars on this, in the process of torrenting now.

fireaboveicebelow
May 19th 2008



6837 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thats the problem, it's all imported from france.

thanks for all the comments!

username345
May 20th 2008



594 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This album is totally insane.

I like it.

BallsToTheWall
June 21st 2009



44164 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Decided to raise up. Truly an epic album.

fireaboveicebelow
June 22nd 2009



6837 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

check out Les Tenebres du Dehors, it's like this but more tragic

OpenDoorLeia
January 12th 2010



72 Comments


I think I'll go download this.



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