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Review: Elis - God's Silence, Devil's Temptation
God's Silence, Devil's Temptation

Label: Napalm Records
Year released: 2003
Duration: 47:45
Tracks: 11
Genre: Gothic Metal

Rating: 4.5/5

Review online: March 15, 2004
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers Rating
God's Silence, Devil's Temptation

Rated 4.13/5 (82.5%) (8 Votes)

I got this on a whim, as it sounded cool, and I am very glad I went for it. This is the second full length album for this band from the postage stamp-sized country of Liechtenstein (their third release if you count their debut MCD). And such a classy and mature effort from a relatively new band is highly impressive.

Elis are essentially a gothic metal outfit with a female vocalist. Now these days that's hardly revolutionary, and a lot of you probably just rolled your eyes and moved the mouse to the 'back' button, but I would urge you not to do that. Sure, this is in the same basic school of music as Flowing Tears, Lacuna Coil and After Forever, but I want to point out that Elis are not a copycat band, and they are every bit as good as any of those bands I just mentioned. Bad gothic metal bands pile on the synth effects and rely on insufferably slow songwriting with a lot of self-pity trying to cover a lack of hooks. Elis don't do any of that. What you get are eleven mostly midpaced and very well-written songs highlighted by some excellent heavy riffing and some very fine piano work. The whole is held together and elevated by the superlative vocals of chanteuse Sabine Dunser. She has an operatic voice, but doesn't use it exclusively, instead she concentrates on composing solid and memorable vocal lines that will stick in your head after just one spin. In her lower registers she has a very smooth and soulful voice, and it shows off what a pro she obviously is that she can rein in the urge to just power it out and serve the dynamics of the songs.

This is a very solid CD, and there are no weak tracks or ones you want to skip. "For Such A Long Time" opens things up just right, and is followed by another standout "Where You Belong". There are three songs here sung in German, but even the fact that I can't understand them doesn't lessen their appeal. You get two title tracks, as the song "God's Silence" is followed by the equally enthralling "Devil's Temptation". "My Only Love" is another tune you will be humming later. And I have to single out "Come To Me" as the best song here. It starts with a delicate piano bit, then segues into the heavy riffs and all throughout are the hypnotic melodies of Sabine's lovely voice. A spellbinding song that I cannot get out of my head.

The CD package is really beautiful, with moody photography and excellent art design. All the lyrics are included, and they are worth reading. "Child" leaves me a bit cold with its socially conscious lyrics, but the rest are both poetic and rather beautiful. Ms. Dunser seems to have written almost all the lyrics, and I must say lyrics with such a female (not feminist) perspective are a refreshing change from the usual.

I can't say "This Rules!" because this is not that kind of album. This is an intelligent, thoughtful album of skillful and emotional music. Fans of extreme metal should, of course, avoid this. But any lover of melodic metal, gothic metal, or just good music in general should check this out. Elis are a great fucking band, and one I will be watching. An excellent, excellent album.

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