THE ELEMENTS [EP]
Release: June 14, 2019
With Helenium, Jelena Dobric set to create a different type of music than what she usually does with her main band, Tunisian symphonic metal band Persona, music that is inspired by the natural elements of our world, music that is breezy and ambiental, but also a bit cinematic and playful. Personally I love side-projects, because they give the artist freedom to express themselves in a different manner and let their creativity run wild, and give us, the fans, a chance to see them in a different light and discover other facets of their personality.
If with Persona we got to see Jelena’s fiercer side (especially with “Metamorphosis”), with Helenium’s EP “The Elements” we get to see her softer, gentler side.
Beyond the stars (Aether)
In Flames (Fire)
From the Ashes (Earth)
I have to say, this EP is very colorful and bouncy as each of the five tracks has its own style and atmosphere, its own personality in a way, making it rather hard to categorize. Overall the music is acoustic, though not in the traditional sense of the word (i.e. acoustic guitar and vocals), as it’s mainly piano and vocals, spiced up with various arrangements (electric piano, synths, percussion), giving them a certain ambiental, even cinematic, feel. The lyrical substrate of Helenium comes from Jelena’s interest in the inner workings of the mind and soul, the EP being, in her own words, “a place where I can share with you moments of my personal journey and insights I reached through self-reflection and observation of people and circumstances around me”.
Opening the EP on an ominous tone is “Beyond the stars (Aether)”, a very ethereal and darkly sounding piece of music, with somber piano melodies and brooding vocals. It’s a song that almost feels gothic, it has that gloomy atmosphere to it, coming from both the operatic vocals in the intro as well as from the backing orchestration. On the other hand, “Fly (Air)” is as light and atmospheric as it breezy and ethereal, with a preeminent smooth jazz feel to it, coming from the playful piano melodies and percussions, which line up perfectly with Jelena’s rich and melodic vocal melodies, making it one of my favorites on this EP. I just love that backing piano melody so much. Picking up where “Fly (Air)” left of, “Innocence (Water)” is quite a cinematic track, with some synth works, cello lines and uplifting melodies in the chorus that may get you dancing (or at least moving to the beat). The synths and the piano contrast and complement each other beautifully, while Jelena’s delivery is soulful but yet powerful. “In Flames (Fire)” is a twisted number that ebbs and flows between upbeat melodies and breezy moments, between emotionally charged deliveries and beautiful melodic singing, between a somewhat gloomy atmosphere brought by the cello and uplifting piano lines that keep the darkness at bay. Definitely another favorite of mine. Closing the EP on a rather somber note is “From the ashes (Earth)”, an intense song with melancholy yet gentle piano melodies and dramatic vocal delivery, making it a very intense piece of music.
All in all, a very fluid and coherent EP based on the simplest things in music – piano and vocals, plus some flourishes here and there. It is this simplicity that gives the music that Jelena has created this sense of charm and beauty that I really love. You can do so much with so little if you are creative enough, and Jelena is definitely a very gifted songwriter to have created such beautiful songs. Personal highlights: “Fly (Air)” and “In Flames (Fire)”.
Rating: 5 / 5
Jelena Dobric – vocals, piano