An extremely good full-length offering.

It’s confession time! When anyone mentions the word “Folk” in conjunction with music, the muscle above my right eye twitches and a bead of sweat appears on my brow before a nightmarish gathering of images involving maypoles, weird dancing and floating ribbons fill my mind!

As you can imagine, the muscle twitching and sweat started when this release from Italian band Elysium, who ply their trade under the Symphonic Folk Gothic banner, landed in my inbox. However, my fears were well and truly dispelled when the opening song ‘Back Hole’ thundered through my headphones because Marco Sinopoli’s keys and Flavio Lovisa’s drums excellently combine with Christian Arlechino’s electric violin (which is superb throughout) to produce a very solid start to what is a very good album overall.

The tracks are well written and produced, and in vocalist Daphne Nisi the group have an artist that brings a wide variety of styles to her voice, ranging from Rock and Classical to Soul. This traversing between types is used to good effect at every opportunity, especially on songs like ‘Before The End’ and ‘Nobody Knows’. Guitarist Simone Moratto produces plenty of solid Rock riffs throughout and on ‘Fight For All Of Your Love’ he shows just how talented a musician he is with an awesome solo. Across the ten tracks, both he and Arlechino combine well to produce some memorable tunes, and with Marco Monetini’s epic bass providing a real driving force on every song, you do get the sense that this is a band trying to do something different and unique.

However, there are areas that cause concern and sometimes the scope of what Elysium are aiming to achieve threatens to run away from them, thus derailing what they have produced. Some tracks become jammed with too many changes in style and content, but fortunately (and also due to the skill of the musicians) it manages to stay just on the right side of excess – even if it does come close to occasionally stalling mid-tune.

Overall, this an extremely good full-length offering from a group that has undergone several personnel changes since they released their first EP ‘Symphony Of A Forest’ in 2016. By their own admission, they have shifted in tone and musicality, but it’s a change that serves them well and they’ll only get better as they grow; thankfully, there’s not a maypole in sight!

Pete Arnett

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