Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Elend--A World in Their Screams (2007)
Album-A World in Their Screams
Release Date-May 22, 2007
Review-The apocalyptic symphonies of Elend are anything but accessible and demand a specific state of mind. The oppressive, highfaluting soundtrack that slowly passes by as a dark cloud eclipsing every ray of sunlight on 'A World In Their Screams' holds the mean between classical orchestral music and serious avant-garde music of the twentieth century. Sometimes with the scorching roughness of extreme metal, a bit later unctuous as the sacred confirmation sacrament.
'A World In Their Screams' - a title saying more than one might surmise - is the third album of the five albums cycle that began in 2003 with 'Winds Devouring Men'. The previous album 'Sunwar The Dead' was already quite stodgy, but this goes one step further again. Here they evolve towards total disruption and more than once intense uneasy feelings creep upon you. The three core multi-instrumentalists of this Austrian/French outfit are assisted by many guest musicians, among others violinists and female soprano singers; but these high, serene female vocals only pop up during the opener 'Ophis Puthõn'. Then it sounds a bit like a sung mass, though Elend's music has no affinity with religion, but I can imagine that this music comes forth of respect for every large and untouchable mystery in life, like the universe and the cycle of life and death. The former album had some common male vocals, this one has only whispering male narrative lyrics in French language. French is the main language of the album, it adds a zest to the distinguished, gloomy atmosphere of the music. The instrumentation is less focused on percussion than before. Violins are seldom caressing, but mostly shrill. Percussion is not usual drum beats, but thunderous kettledrum violence.
This music is a scream. No, it is thé scream: the painting of Munch transformed into sound. Just listen to the lamented background voices in 'Je Rassemblais Tes Membres'. Now and then solemn male choirs exhort to penitence. The music evokes the atmosphere of a ghost town, years ago dramatically devoured by a not detectable disaster.
More than thirty musicians contributed to these massive soundscapes. The album was already written around the time of the 'Sunwar The Dead' album, but during its three years development it grew to radical dimensions, paling the whole Elend oeuvre by its raw violence and burdensome atmosphere. For some of you this will be a peerless masterpiece, for others a torture.