Album Reviews

enkElination – Tears of Lust Review

endElination_cover

Released By: Self-Released

Release Date: July 21, 2014

Genre: Melodic Metal/Hard Rock

Links: http://www.enkelination.com/Home.html

 

Line Up:

Elina – Vocals

Shadow – Guitar

Alasdair – Bass

Ben – Drums

 

Tracklist:

1. Tears of Lust

2. Higher Ground

3. Never Ending

4. Lullaby

5. Insane

6. What Have You Become

7. Reborn

8. Chimeras

9. Changeling

10. Abyss

11. Last Time Together

 

Before agreeing to take on Tears of Lust, the debut from British melodic metal band enkElination, I watched the video for the title track and was instantly won over by the mix of aggressive guitars, atmospheric keyboards and outstanding vocals. It seemed to match up perfectly with my tastes, and while I was initially sceptical as to whether or not the rest of the album would hold up, I can happily say that all songs on this release maintain an equally high level of quality, and in fact the biggest highlights come much later. But before getting to that, it’s time to explain that rather strange band name. My initial reaction was to think it was some badly misspelled version of “inclination”, but in fact it is a combination of “enkeli” (the Finnish word for “angel”) and “Elina”, which in this case refers to Elina Siirala, a classically trained singer/songwriter from Finland, who later moved to London and formed the band along with guitarist Shadow Venger, formally in the bandEmpyreal Destroyer. They quietly released an EP in 2012, but now they’re looking to make a much bigger splash with Tears of Lust.

A potential misconception I can see for Tears of Lust is people considering it as symphonic metal. Just at looking the album art, track listing and hearing the vocals that term would obviously be one of the first things to come to mind, but musically that doesn’t appear to be what they’re going for. There’s a couple parts that do sound symphonic to my ears, but for the most part this is a keyboard driven album, with the keys providing some nice backdrops throughout, and setting the tone for the rest of the music. It is at times a very dark album, but as their name would apply this effect is always mixed together with much lighter elements, creating an at times heavy album that nonetheless always places a greater emphasis on melodies than anything else. Most songs are mid-paced with occasional bursts of speed, and while the heavier sections tend to be the most memorable, the softer, hard rock influenced passages are also very effective.

Another thing that helps set enkElination from other female fronted metal bands is the decidedly raw sound they go for. While I generally prefer newer albums to be more polished and “overproduced”, this is a case where the decision to go for a rawer sound seems intentional, or at least if it isn’t, they pull it off well enough that it could fool me into thinking it is. Either way, every instrument sounds crystal clear in the mix, and the guitar sounds powerful and crushing throughout. This is an album where you’re constantly hearing multiple layers to the music, so it helps that the overall sound is very strong, while at the same time having a very authentic sound that sets the band apart from others.

In case their name didn’t make it obvious enough, Elina is the star of this band, and a star she definitely is. Her classical training is very evident throughout, though on most songs she restrains herself and sings more calmly, highlighting her voice, which is indeed angelic. At times when she sings more softly, her tone reminds me of Edenbridge vocalist Sabine Edelsbacher. When she does open up she sounds pretty spectacular, especially on the closing ballad “Last Time Together”, but another thing that makes her so impressive is that even when she goes for those huge notes and throughout the entirety of the album, she always makes her words come out perfectly clear, making it easy for anyone who wishes to follow the lyrics.

None of this would matter if the songwriting was weak, but it most definitely isn’t. The title track is a nice indication of what to expect. It’s a fairly straight-forward mid-paced track with a suitably catchy chorus. While it may seem simple at first, there’s quite a bit going on musically, and that’s an accurate description of the album on the whole: Simple, catchy songs, with layers of music that sounds best at a high volume, and with a good sound system or headphones, so you can hear everything balanced properly. On “Higher Ground” they start adding in some power metal elements, which also appear on a few other songs, but they’re always made to blend in seamlessly with lighter, slower passages, so they never really dominate, aside from on “Insane”, which is pretty fast and heavy throughout, and is also one of my favorites. Softer songs like ‘Never Ending” and “Reborn” are equally impressive, though, and the two ballads “Lullaby” and “Last Time Together” both do a fantastic job of showcasing Elina’s voice, especially the latter, which is probably my favorite on the album. One final highlight is “Abyss”, which starts off with some very creepy keyboards and Elina’s darkest vocals during the verses, before picking up speed for the more upbeat chorus, and becoming a nice blend of the two styles throughout.

Tears of Lust is an excellent debut, recommended for all fans of female fronted metal, with a nice mix of light and dark, aggressive and melodic. The scary thing is, as impressive as the album already is, I do see room for enkElination to improve with future releases, but this is certainly an amazing way for them to start.

 

Written by Travis

Ratings    Travis    9/10

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