Written by: PK on 20/01/2010 15:22:43

Elis is a band tinged with tragedy. Back in 2006, prior to the release of their third album “Griefshire”, vocalist Sabine Duenser sadly died of a brain haemorrhage. After searching for a new vocalist, the band released an EP featuring vocals from the late Duenser and her replacement, Sandra Schleret, back in 2007. “Catharsis” is the first Elis album that has been released with Schleret solely at the helm, and according to the band it features “heavy guitar riffs and catchy yet unexpected compositions”. Sounds good to me.

However, it is not long before one discovers that this just is not the case. I sat for a while and pondered, trying to find a word that would sum up this album. Mundane is about as close as I could get, which is not a great indictment. But it is true. Every time I listened to "Catharsis", I found myself willing songs to end simply because they had no invention or excitement at all. Many songs on the album are just dull, "paint by numbers" gothic metal offerings that just run one into the next. After listening to the first 3 songs on the album I was beginning to wonder where these heavy riffs and catchy compositions were hiding.

Vocalist Schleret has a decent enough voice, but there's nothing here that we haven't heard before. The same can really be said for all departments of the band. I am sure that Elis are capable of making some decent music, but it is fairly absent from this album. The band hails from Switzerland and Lichtenstein, and a couple of the songs on the album are in their native German. I have no problem with bands singing in their native tongue, but if you are going to engage with an audience of mainly English speaking people, you need a strong melody or chorus in the song that can compensate for the lack of vocal understanding, and this is very much missing here.

The word "Catharsis" means "healing through suffering", and unfortunately there is certainly suffering to be had for the listener with this album. It is a shame that the lyric which lingers most in the mind from this album is the promo-watermark "you are listening to the new Elis album, Catharsis". There are one or two decent riffs on the album, but if you are looking for your gothic metal fix, it is probably advisable to go find it somewhere else.


Download: Core of Life, Warrior's Tale
For The Fans Of: Within Temptation, Imperia
Listen: Myspace

Release Date 27.11.2009
Napalm Records

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