Review Summary: Fear.”What we are trying to achieve in music, among several things, is extreme violence and oppressive darkness, and in particular, the most adequate expression of disruption. The end must be a music that becomes inhuman through its degree of abstraction, the tension between its contrasting elements, and its blows of intensity. The listener needs to be gently but continuously forced to push back the barriers of what he believes to be bearable.”
~Renaud Tschirner (Elend, Various Instrumentals)
Throughout my experience of listening to music I have always enjoyed how certain songs could invoke emotions within me that generally encompassed the realms of sadness, happiness, anger, and even in some cases, hate. Typically it didn’t matter if the song was extremely technical or not, especially farther back in my past it seems, as I could still feel the artist’s intent within the melody that almost seemed to transcend the boundaries between studio and the audio playback that came back to my ears. Throughout all of my musical adventures up to this point, fear is an emotion that I have never felt from any music, no matter how hard the artist tried to “scare” the listener. However, that all changed when I came across Elend’s A World In Their Screams
A World In Their Screams
marks the seventh album for the French neoclassical band and also completes their Wind Cycles
trilogy of albums as it is the third and final release respectively. The general sound of this album can best be summarized as “orchestral” and “haunting” given the plethora of symphonic instruments incorporated throughout and the truly frightening tale that the vocalists of the band tell over the instruments in the French language. Throughout the recording listeners will have the pleasure of taking in the French narrative through the grim and whispered tone of Esteri Remond accompanied with the high-pitched scream effects of female vocalist, Laura Angelmayer. A choir is added for an emotional and cinematic element as well, particularly coming into play for the surges of the symphonic instruments dotted throughout the album.
As it turns out, Elend has brought a team of thirty-one instrumentalists and vocalists for this particular album. Listeners will hear anything from cellos, violins, trombones, basses, trumpets, and many such instruments, to even some digital effects for an added ambient atmosphere. All the tracks on the album act as one throughout, seamlessly flowing from one tortured and eerie composition to the next. Moments of silence and tranquility are often immediately followed by times of terror that are marked by tortured screams and howls that sound as if they could have easily come from the very center of hell. Such instances are actually quite a thrill in truth, as the first time I listened to this album I literally felt terrified and my heart began to race at the sudden switch in atmosphere. I could divulge in where such instances of mood changes lie within the album, but I would rather have the listener discover the terror and excitement for themselves. Suffice it to say, be prepared if you decide to listen to the title track, “Boree”, “La Carrière d'Ombre”, and sections of the eight-minute composition, “Je rassemblais tes membres”. The band also incorporates various unconventional sounds during these compositions such as the sound of a snake slithering, bats, or even children playing in the background.
The two previous installments of the Wind Cycles
trilogy saw the band offer English interludes during the tracks to give those listeners who didn’t know French a general idea of what was happening in the album’s story. Here that is done away with, however, and while translating the text may turn out to be a hassle, it actually proves to be beneficial to the listener’s experience of the album. The French sections from Esteri are quite haunting and atmospheric and go a long way into adsorbing the listener for the transcendent emotional effects of the album, if not the general story per se.
Therein lies the biggest draw for A World In Their Screams
as the album is an emotional rollercoaster that includes wonderful examples from the broad spectrums of fear, excitement, beauty, mystery, and symphonic atmospheres. Any readers interested in this album, and happen to be looking for a good scare, are really encouraged to give this album a listen with earphones in the dark. In doing so, you may be surprised at just how transcendent the emotions of Elend’s music really turn out to be…