UNTIL THE END
Eleine Music HB
Seductive, Stylish, and Monumental. This is the way Swedish symphonic metal band Eleine describe their music. Formed in 2011 the line-up consists of lead singer and alternative model Madeleine "Eleine" Liljestam, guitarist / growler Rickard Ekberg, drummer David Erikkson, keyboard player Sebastian Berglund and bassist Andreas Mårtensson. In this formula they released their self-titled debut album in 2015, which was very well received by both fans and critics. And now Eleine is back with their sophomore effort, “Until the End”, out on February 23rd via Eleine Music HB.
Their music is mainly labeled as heavy symphonic metal that is both stylish and magnificent, because of Madeline’s seductive vocals, Rickard’s growls, and overall gothic influences. And the listeners are met with this seductiveness and heaviness from the get-go, as album opener “Story Untold” sees Madeleine’s charming vocals contrasting with Rickard’s growls and aggressive guitars. “Echoes” is more a straight-up symphonic number, while “Sanity” and “From the Grave” have a very sharp death metal edge to it. Nonetheless “Sanity” is still maintaining a certain pop vibe mainly because of the catchiness of its chorus.
From the grave
Whisper my child
Until the end
Hell Moon (we shall never die)
Break take live
Generally, I love this ‘beauty and the beast’ approach to songs, as the blending of beautiful, clean female vocals and aggressive male growls, besides making the songs feel more dynamic and engaging, add an extra layer of harmonies and melodies to the song structure. However, on “From the Grave” they seem a bit forced as the music is not heavy enough to support the growling, and is just feels out of place. I would have preferred some clean male vocals to go along with Madeline’s sweet vocals, like the ones used on the title track, “Until the End”. On the other hand, “Whisper my Child”, “Another Rite”, “Break take live”, and first single “Hell Moon (we shall never die)” are all more up-tempo and up-beat songs where the growls are perfectly used, making these tracks definite head-bangers. The low-key atmospheric “Please” is a piano-driven ballad where Madeline’s sweet vocals get the spotlight and makes for a reprise in between the album’s heavier tracks.
“Until the End” shows Eleine’s strengths of mixing symphonic and death metal into one cohesive sound, while occasionally still displaying some pop melodies, to make the tracks catchier. Overall the album offers solid melo-death numbers, though a certain déja-vu feel is unavoidable as many symphonic metal bands use this type of cross-over, in order to give a certain death metal edge to their music, and some are better at mixing these styles together than others. Also, judging from the photos released, one would expect some Myrath-meets-Delain type of music, but instead one gets the usual dose of metal expected from a two-vocalist band (no Lacuna Coil reference here), and honestly I was a bit disappointed with everything, as I was expecting something a bit more original and well, oriental-infused. However, the real strength of the band is Madeline’s voice, which is both powerful and enchanting, and songs like “Echoes” or “Whisper my Child” show her range and versatility.
All criticism aside, this musical offering is pretty varied, yet cohesive, which makes for a very entertaining listening experience and even some head-banging moments. I rate “Until the End” with a 7.5 / 10.
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Madeleine "Eleine" Liljestam – Vocal
Rikard Ekberg – Guitar, vocal
David Eriksson – Drums
Andreas Mårtensson – Bass
Sebastian Berglund – Keyboard